It took a couple minutes to ring up at the register because the cashier didn't know what to ring it up as. (Kiwano could not be found in the produce code lookup program.) The bagger suggested "horny melon" which resulted in a round of giggles. The produce manager identified it as a Horned Melon. After a few unsuccessful tries of looking up "Horned Melon" in the Melon, Fruits, Squash, and Specialty sections of the produce code lookup program, the cashier found it in the Exotic Foods listing. By the way, the PLU code for a Horned Melon or Kiwano is 4302. It turned out to be $4 each.
First, I did some reading on this strange fruit. Apparently, the fruit originated from southern and central Africa and were only grown in Australia and New Zealand in the early 1900's. Recently, this fruit (whose proper name is the "African Horned Melon") has been marketed around the world and some horned melon farms have started production in California. The name "Kiwano" is trademarked by New Zealanders John Kenneth Morris and Sharyn Ernesta Morris (according to the U.S. Patent and Trademarks Office).
It seems that horned melons are often purchased for their novelty and distinctive look. According to a few websites, like this interesting review, they are bitter in taste. These sites generally recommend the fruit be used for decorative purposes (especially since they last for a couple months without noticeable degradation).
Tina disliked the look of the horned melon immediately because it reminded her of a particularly gross caterpillar variety she encountered as a young child.
I cut my horned melons in two different directions to show the cross-sections from two different views. The first was cut from pole to pole. You can see that the seeds are interspersed among green juice vesicles.
Sliced across the equator, you can see the vesicles are connected to three main positions on the mesocarp. It seems that at each of the three positions two closely set short stalks spread out to all the vesicles, so maybe it's actually six connection points. In any case, I think it's pretty.
I then cut off a slice to taste.
The texture of the flesh of the horned melon is best described as jelly like. It did not have the citrus texture (watery and refreshing) that I expected when I saw the vesicles. Instead, it was gooey and gelatinous (but not to the point of gumminess).
It tasted to me like a strong cucumber laced with lemon juice. I did not taste any bitterness. However, I didn't particularly like the flavor, and, in combination with the texture, I don't think I'd try this fruit again.
I did some more research online about this fruit and found a couple recommendations to serve this in a salad or as a garnish with roast meats (see Melissa's World Variety Produce). A really cool recommendation from Melissa's is to use the scooped out shell as a service for ice cream. Unfortunately, I didn't like the taste and Tina didn't like how they looked, so we did not pursue these uses. I'll leave it to my readers to comment on how they use horned melons and what their experiences have been.