21-06-2020 di redazione
Perhaps that cucumber aftertaste may leave you bewildered for a moment, but in its bittersweet bouquet you can also taste lime, passion and banana. We're talking about Kiwano, also known as horned melon.
Belonging to the Cucurbitaceae family, the Cucumis metuliferus is the fruit of a climbing plant native to this part of Africa, although its popularity dates back to when it was imported to Australia and New Zealand in the 1930s. There it was baptized like this because once cut it resembled kiwi fruit.
The shape is that of an elongated egg, similar to a prickly pear, but larger.
The skin is hard, smooth and sprinkled with small thorns that look like horns (and make this fruit particularly decorative.
The colour is bright green when it is still unripe, orange-yellow when the fruit is ripe.
Kiwano contains a bright green gelatinous pulp sprinkled with small edible seeds.
The taste is original, pleasant and refreshing, in fact Kiwano is considered a natural thirst quencher.
It is very rich in water and for this rehydrating and remineralizing, in fact it is used as a source of water by the people of the Kalahari desert.
In fact, the fruit can retain large quantities of water during the dry season and grows even in difficult conditions.
It has good amounts of vitamin C and vitamin B6 and is an excellent source of trace elements, especially magnesium, calcium, potassium and iron.
In traditional South African medicine all parts of the plant are used.
The fresh leaves are used against fatigue.
The skin is consumed dried or cooked, it is used for dietary purposes and, thanks to its antioxidant properties, is used to combat free radicals. Even many African tribes use it to treat gonorrhea.
The high content of dietary fiber promotes the intestinal transit of food.
This prevents constipation and the formation of intestinal gas with consequent benefits for the digestive process.
Recent studies have shown that the intake of kiwano has properties useful for the regulation of hormones.
Especially adrenaline and stress hormones.
If you suffer from stress and anxiety, consuming kiwano can help to calm your mind and spirit. It has a good zinc content, an essential mineral in our diet as it plays a role in protein production. It also plays a role in the repair of wounds and the formation of blood cells.
Although in many African countries it is cooked whole (roasted or boiled with vegetables), kiwano is ideal to be eaten fresh.
For opening the skin halfway, it is indispensable to be careful and to equip oneself with the suitable instruments, especially for not pricking with the thorns.
The pulp of the kiwano can be used as an alternative to vinegar for dressing salads, or added to creams, yoghurt, fruit salads.
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