Shopping SLOcal.

a blog about what's happening with farmer's markets in SLO county

Funky Fruit October 29, 2010

Inspired by sub-tropical fruit farmer Tom Swift’s (who you can hear from directly in my next post!) passion for his products, I decided to try to tackle a couple of his fruits after my trip to the Los Osos Farmer’s Market. First up: the horned melon.

The horned melon is revered for its aloe like qualities, although its appearance takes getting used to

The horned melon is a strange fruit, revered for its health benefits. The center tastes sour–almost like a kiwi–but the inner of the fruit is divided into individual cells like a pomegranate would be. With its aloe vera like qualities, Swift claims that it “will be the new health craze of 2011”, although research on what about it makes it so beneficial to the human body is still in the process of being discovered.

No matter the benefits, the horned melon is a fruit worth checking out, as long as you watch out for the spikes on the outside–I carelessly picked one up and have the slice on my right thumb to prove it.

So after de-spining the melon, I sliced it open, revealing the inner, bright green pulp. My roommates were looking at it skeptically, and tentatively took a piece when I offered it to them.

“It tastes kind of like a cross between a kiwi and a watermelon” Tori DiCiccio finally decided after chewing for a minute, “but its really good!” she said while reaching for another piece. “I would buy it.”






The other piece of strange fruit I purchased at the Los Osos Farmer’s Market was called the Pepino Dulce Melon, or as Swift calls it, the “Heart of Gold” melon. An oval shaped yellow fruit with almost tiger-like purple stripes, the melon resembles more of an apple.

“It tastes like if you crossed a papaya, a mango and a honeydew,” Ben Arthur said, chewing slowly.

The Heart of Gold melon was a bit strange to get used too, most likely because it tasted so similar to a few signature fruits without allowing the taster to get the satisfaction that comes with eating something you are completely used to the taste of.

“I don’t think I would buy this” Arthur said, “it was good, but I didn’t love it enough to buy it myself.”

Now with a lot of the fruit left I decided to attempt to make something with them, and my brainstorming session turned into a thumbprint butter cookie with a horned melon jelly in the middle. Sounds strange? I decided to make it a little stranger by adding some cumin and cinnamon to the batter. Surprisingly it turned out delicious–although I refused to tell my friends what was in it until after they had taken a bite (they saw the cumin on the counter).

First I boiled down the pulp with a little water and a few tablespoons of sugar until it began to take on a jelly-like texture (about 10 mins)

Next, I strained the seeds out from the jelly, using a spoon and a cheese grater (although next time I would just leave the seeds--they ended up tasting delicious!)

Next, I filled the middle of thumbprint butter cookies with a dollop of the jelly.

And after about 25 minutes in the oven, the finished product was ready.

While the combination might sound strange, give this strange fruit a chance with this different and interesting recipe!