• Friday July 10,2020


The horn cucumber belongs to the family of annual cucurbits and has its origin in southern Africa, but is now cultivated almost throughout the world in semi-arid, warm regions. The annual plant produces spiked, ellipsoid, approximately 10 to 15 centimeters long, golden yellow fruits. The taste of the greenish pulp is reminiscent of bananas, lemons and passion fruit.

You should know that about the pickled cucumber

The taste of the greenish pulp of the cucumber reminds a little of bananas, lemons and passion fruit.

The horn cucumber (Cucumis metuliferus) is known in Europe under the trademark Kiwano. The climbing plant with a length of up to 5 meters, which belongs to the cucurbits (Cucurbitaceae), is annual and homozygous. This means that each plant carries male and female flowers.

Stems and leaves are densely armed with spines, and the shell of the up to 15 cm long and up to 700 gram heavy, ellipsoid, golden yellow fruits is covered with spiny thickenings. The green pulp, reminiscent of the inside of a cucumber, has an exotic taste that is hard to describe and reminiscent of banana, lemon and passion fruit. North of the equator, the harvest season begins in August. Ripe fruits, which are suitable for direct consumption, can be recognized by the orange-yellow peel. Not yet mature fruits, which are recognizable by their still green shell, can ripen easily at room temperature.

In the trade, the fruits are offered from about January to June. Country of origin of the cucumber is Namibia. It has probably been known there for more than 3, 000 years. Surprisingly, the fruit is only in the trade since the 1980s. Probably the cucumber came by chance to New Zealand, where it was cultivated since the 1920s and gradually became known and popular. The fruit is now grown in many semi-arid areas - also north of the equator. The most important export countries for Europe and the USA are Israel and New Zealand.

In Queensland, Australia, the plant has re-released and is considered invasive. The cucumber can also be grown in the home garden. Best suited here is a location on a south wall with a warm microclimate. Instead of sowing outdoors, however, it is recommended to grow in the house. The plantlets can then be planted out in mid-May in the garden, where they soon need a climbing aid from about 40 cm in height.

Importance for the health

The ripening times of the cucumbers or kiwanos, which are cultivated south or north of the equator, differ by 6 months. As a result, the fruits, along with their good shelf life, are freshly marketed throughout the year throughout the year.

This means that the fruit with its exotic, but not very intense, flavor can refresh the winter meal plan in the sense of the word. Similar to cucumbers and melons, the water content of the pickled cucumbers is very high with a low carbohydrate content and low calorie content. At 22 kcal per 100 g of Kiwano pulp, the fruit is also good for calorie-conscious people. The value of Kiwano, however, is not just ingredients it does not contain, but ingredients it has. These are mainly minerals such as potassium, magnesium, calcium and iron as well as valuable vitamins from the B complex.

The high potassium content is particularly noteworthy because it has a mildly diuretic effect and contributes to drainage. The pulp of the pickled cucumber contains virtually no fiber and fiber, making it very light and easy to digest. The thick, with horn-like projections occupied shell is not suitable for consumption. It can, however, have a very decorative effect in order to spoon out, for example, prepared starters or desserts in conjunction with the pulp of the Kiwanos directly from the skin.

Ingredients & Nutrition Facts

nutritional informationQuantity per 100 grams
Calories 44Fat content 1.3 g
Cholesterol 0 mgSodium 2 mg
Potassium 123 mgCarbohydrates 8 g
Dietary fiber 48.2 gMagnesium 40 mg

The ingredients of the cucumber are in some areas - similar to the related cucumbers - rather unremarkable. Above all, the low content of primary ingredients is noticeable. The protein content is 1.78 g per 100 g of pulp and the fat content is 1.3 g. The value for carbohydrates is about 8 g per 100g.

The low content of primary ingredients explains the low energy content of 44 kcal per 100 g of pulp. In the field of phytochemicals, the picture looks different. Cucumbers can score especially with their content of minerals and some B-vitamins. Striking is especially the high potassium content with 124 mg per 100 g of pulp. Other minerals such as magnesium (40 mg), iron (1.13 mg) and others also reach health-promoting levels.

The content of vitamins from the B-complex also reaches health-promoting concentrations. Particularly noteworthy is niacin (vitamin B3), which is present in a concentration of 0.565 mg per 100 g. Other important substances are folic acid, pantothenic acid, beta-carotene, vitamin A and thiamine.

Incompatibilities & allergies

Direct incompatibilities or allergies to the consumption of cucumbers are hardly known. In principle, it should be noted that known allergies or intolerances to other fruits or vegetables of the cucurbitaceae family (Cucurbitaceae) are likely to occur after consumption of cucumber pulp.

The most common symptoms in the rare cases of intolerance or allergy to kiwi fruit flesh are facial redness, facial swelling or asthma attacks after eating the fruits. Also lighter symptoms such as sneezing and slight skin changes. In extremely rare cases, a dangerous anaphylactic shock can occur.

Shopping & Kitchen Tips

August to December is the best time to buy fresh pickles harvested in southern Europe or Israel. Kiwanos, which were cultivated in the southern hemisphere, are mostly offered from January to June. A ripe fruit can be recognized by its golden yellow shell, although the pulp retains the green color even in the ripe fruit.

The thick shell should be unhurt and have no dents. If the shell of the offered fruit is still completely or partially green and no immediate consumption is planned, the cucumbers can ripen well at room temperature. In no case should the fruits be stored in the fridge, because they lose their aromas very quickly and assume a mushy consistency. At a temperature of 9 to 11 degrees, the Kiwano remains fresh for several months and is well storable.

preparation tips

A very simple and popular way of preparation is to halve the Kiwano with the knife and to simply spoon out the pulp. The abundant whitish seeds can be eaten with. Alternatively, the pulp can also be passed through a sieve to separate the kernels.

The half-shells can later z. B. as decorative containers for starters or desserts use. The pureed pulp is also used with the addition of sugar and lime juice as a basis for the preparation of refreshing drinks. As an ingredient for salads and for decorating cold plates, the cucumber is also suitable.

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