How to eat a Kiwano Melon

So, previously, we have explore an ugli fruit as well as a dragon fruit, now, we have moved on to a kiwano melon, something that I had not even heard of before.  Of course, these all come off of the imported/exotic fruits display at the store, and interestingly, there are quite a few other fruits that we have yet to try.  As always, I let Elizabeth pick what she wished to explore, and though quite pricy for a single fruit, this time she chose the orange, spiky thing that I didn’t recognize and had absolutely no idea how to eat.

010The day that we decided to cut it up, I turned again to the trusty internet to show me the way, and found instructions on wikihow.com – fancy that, didn’t know that there was a wiki- how-to site, I learned two new things that day!

The wiki-site advised that the fruit could just be sliced in half and the pulp and seeds scooped out and eaten…or slurped up with a straw.  Well, for a 5-year-old, one must eat from the fruit shell – and with a straw if at all possible!

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So I let her go to it, giving half of the fruit to Paul, but he was more concerned with the birds out the window than with the fruit, which was ok.  Elizabeth experimented with the straw, but having a little difficulty sucking them up, decided to scoop them out, then suck them up.  She may have also been planning on removing the seeds from the pulp, which the site suggested too if you aren’t terribly impressed with them, but I don’t think she got that far…

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Elizabeth was very excited about this one, and as she scooped and played in the goo, she asked all sorts of questions about where it came from and why it had spikes on it and if it grows on a tree or on the ground.  Deciding that then was better than any other time to look into it, I did another search on the ipad to find out.  Wikipedia came up as the most informational and first source, so that’s where I turned, follow this link to read on yourself more about this interesting fruit.

I found out that being a member of the cucumber and melon family, it grows on a vine.  This spiky melon originates from Africa, including being one of the few sources of water during the dry season in the Kalahari Desert.  It has a number of other names, including horned melon, and our favorite, the blowfish fruit.  Then, wanting to show her where the Kalahari Desert is, I did a search for images for that, and finding one that showed enough of the world for her to get a good idea, I clicked to open it – and ended up with some page with no maps but adds with nudy women in them, yikes!  Good thing I do the searching, because you  just never know what you are going to get!  It disturbed me all the rest of the day…

So, while a Kiwano Melon has nothing to do with naked women, it is lots of fun to explore new foods with my child and helps us explore the world right here in our own kitchen.

Share your thoughts:  Have you ever eaten a Kiwano Melon?

How to eat a Dragon Fruit

So, I brought you How to eat an Ugli Fruit, now we have had a chance to try a dragon fruit!

My sister recently took a trip to Disney World, and the gift that she brought back for Elizabeth was a tiny dragon fruit plant, which came in a sterile enclosed jar and living off of some kind of clear gel.  Elizabeth’s plant has since been planted into potting soil and now resides in a plastic bag to resemble a humid hot house.  This week, we will poke holes in the bag so that fresh oxygen can move into it, and then over the course of two weeks, we will gradually make them bigger and bigger until it is opened up to the environment.  At that point, our little dragon fruit plant will live just like any other plant here in the house, the whole method just makes it’s transition into living outside of the “womb” a little less stressful.  I think of it kind of like acclimating a new fish into your fish tank, where you have to leave it in the plastic bag for a while so the water temperatures become equal, then move it into the water but in a holding tank, etc.

Anyhow, our little plant seems to be doing ok, and while out grocery shopping at my favorite store (Wegman’s) the other day, I happened to find fresh dragon fruit for sale and decided that I had to get one!  At $7.99/lb, this baby wasn’t cheap, but to try something new, I’d pay almost anything!

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Fresh dragon fruit.

I think my dragon fruit was at it’s peak in freshness the day I bought it, but we didn’t eat it for a day or two, and by then the tips became brown as you can see in the picture.  Even so, the inside was still juicy.

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The dragon fruit cut.

I had to turn to trusty YouTube again to learn how to eat a dragon fruit.  Would you believe there are lots and lots of videos on how to eat foods, and for fresh foods like this, it’s usually some guy just showing you how to cut it and then eating in front of the camera!  That’s not very appealing to me, but hey, whatever.  The link I followed was How to…Eat Dragon Fruit by livelife365.

So, the video I found said to just cut and eat raw.  The gentleman on it also suggested scooping out the flesh with a spoon and then using the rind as a bowl, which Elizabeth was ecstatic about.  With our instructions learned, I sliced the fruit and prepared one half.  Elizabeth wanted to try, so she scooped her own fruit out of the rind – I sometimes can’t believe how grown up she’s getting!  I then sliced it right in the ‘bowl.’

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Scooped and sliced.

As far as the flavor of the dragon fruit, well, here again, it is an exotic fruit, and so would be picked pre-peak ripeness, and thus, had little flavor.  As I said, it was juicy, but it didn’t really taste like anything to me.  The texture is similar to a kiwi, which, with no flavor, kind of turned me off, so I chose not to eat it.  Both Elizabeth and Paul ate quite a bit of their ‘bowls-full’ and what was left over, I turned into a mega-fruit smoothie with left over star fruit, grapes, kiwi, and frozen strawberries and blueberries in an apple juice base.  Yum, didn’t need any sugar for that, though it was kind of thick because of the grape skins and all the seeds.

It’s really an important “anchor,” as Jill Frankel Hauser calls them, for Elizabeth to make the connection between her humble little plant and what the beautiful grown fruit will be if she takes proper care of her gift, just like any other anchor between educational subjects and real life, which is how a person – not only a child – learns how things are applied and gives the learning meaning.

Share your thoughts:  What are some fun “anchors” you have explored with your child?