Kiwano, Banana, and Pineapple Sorbet

by on December 1, 2006
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It's a kiwano!

Let me start off by saying this: Do not feel that you have to run out and buy a kiwano to make this recipe.

Okay, let me back up and re-start by saying, do not buy a kiwano unless you just like its spiny shape and swirly orange color scheme.

Hmmm…let me try one more time: Do not under any circumstances buy a kiwano if you are hungry and think you might try to eat it. Trust me. This baby’s for decorative purposes only!

So why did I buy a kiwano? Sheer ignorance–and a daughter who gets excited about new fruit. E. and I were in the store, she saw the kiwanos, and I didn’t want to discourage her interest in anything from the plant kingdom, so I bought it, protesting that I didn’t know what to do with it or even how to pick out a good one.

Turns out, there’s no such thing as a good one. I got home and Googled it, naturally, and found people saying what I’m saying to you now: This one’s a dud. Seriously, if it didn’t have such a distinctive appearance, these things would have been allowed to die out a long time ago. Still, I didn’t quite believe that they weren’t any good; after all, we’re importing them from New Zealand–how bad can they be?

Inside the elusive kiwano

Bad, but not all bad. When you cut open a kiwano, you find that it’s attractive even on the inside, a bright green color with lots of nicely formed seeds. But when you try to remove the “fruit” from the shell you discover that it’s just a gelatinous mass and that those seeds are too tough to eat. Taste it and you find that it tastes decidedly “green”–not bad, really, but the one I bought wasn’t sweet at all.

But I was determined to use it anyway. I’d spent $2.59 plus tax on the blasted thing, and I just don’t believe in paying that much for a fruit that’s purely decorative. So I decided to juice it and then mix the juice with other ingredients that would hide the taste. And I’d get one last decorative use out of its horny little shell.

Kiwano guts

Getting it out of the shell proved difficult, and juicing it proved time consuming. I once again got out my trusty grapefruit spoon (by now I must have set some kind of blogging record for the use of the phrase “grapefruit spoon”) and scraped it out into a bowl. What you see in the photo above is what I got out, but the photo doesn’t convey the sliminess of the stuff. It looks pretty liquidy, but when I poured it into a fine mesh strainer, practically nothing dripped out. I had to push on it and scrape the strainer repeatedly to get anything to go through. Finally I resorted to pushing on it with the flat bottom of a plastic glass. After working on it for a good 15 minutes (which is more than it deserved), I got about 1/3 cup of slimy juice.

So I took the juice and made the following sorbet. It contributed a light kiwano flavor that wasn’t bad at all, mixed with the banana and pineapple. Mostly I was hoping that it would lend the sorbet an attractive shade of green, but it only looks green if you’re expecting it to. The shells made interesting bowls, but they’re hard to get to stand upright without doing a hornectomy. Next time, I’ll use some of those Meyer lemons I picked instead!

Transformed into sorbet

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{ 11 comments… read them below or add one }

1 Anonymous October 21, 2009 at 9:40 pm

kiwano's are good! you cant go around life hating on a fruit because it has seeds!

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2 Hikari December 16, 2009 at 5:02 pm

Hi there! Call me Hikari :) I am a hospitality (or culinary) student from New York. A year or two ago I discovered this spiny orange thing, bought one and brought it home to show my family. They all were intrigued… except for my dad, who had apparently seen one before. Anyway I cut it open (terrible mess, sweet pumpkin/melon smell, beautiful fruit) and my two sisters, mom, dad and I all tasted it. All five of us had different reactions. And the four of them gave me their bowls of green slime… and I ate the whole fruit, minus the seeds of course. I actually loved its almost-cucumber-like, with a hint of lemon or under-ripe melon, taste. And yes, it turned my tongue green! I don't buy them regularly, because it's too hard to eat on the run (I'm a college girl after all). But once in a while I throw one in the freezer and eat it like ice cream. Or, more like Italian Ice. I am probably one of the few who enjoyed this fruit as-is. Thank you for the interesting recipe, I'll have to try it! Have a wonderfully fruity day :)

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3 Barbara May 4, 2010 at 6:49 am

We tried this last night and we really enjoyed it. You can read about my experience at http://www.rawfullytempting.com. They’re expensive, so I doubt I’ll be buying too many of them, but it was a unique and pleasant experience, sans the thorny horns!

I actually ate it seeds and all. I didn’t enjoy chewing the gel and trying to spit out the seeds. I let the gorgeous lime green gel like fruit melt on my tongue..savored the flavor and, swallowed. LOL! I found it more pleasing that way..sort of like what ya do with oysters ??

I think they have gotten a bad rap. The flavor was like a kiwi/cucumber/lime. Light and refreshing.

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4 Kiwano May 21, 2010 at 12:54 pm

My sister contributed (and I realized shortly after) that the inside of this fruit tastes very much like a green banana (not quite ripe yet)

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5 Nancy July 11, 2010 at 3:49 pm

I just bought one of these because I have convinced myself that I will try new, unusual fruits every week. I cut into it and did not know what the heck to do with it, so on to Google. Well, I have to agree totally with your post. Expensive and not something I care if I ever have again. But, a new experience in fruit nonetheless! Thanks!

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6 Evanna Jennifer December 25, 2010 at 3:46 pm

Delicious Fruit

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7 Caity @ Moi Contre La Vie November 30, 2012 at 10:34 am

YUM! This looks pretty amazing, can’t wait to give it a go!

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8 Diane November 30, 2012 at 3:45 pm

Several years a plant showed up in my mom’s backyard that produced 3 of these odd, yellow, spiny fruits. We had to go to the grocery store to identify them. We were glad we got to try them without having to pay for them. Since they were freshly picked they probably tasted a little better than yours did.

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9 Illia June 12, 2013 at 12:43 am

I know this is really old, but I feel like saying it anyway – Don’t be completely discouraged because of storebought fruit. Kiwanos aren’t all bad, – Just storebought ones. Have you ever had a Dragonfruit and liked it? Chances are no, but sadly the truth is because they just don’t ship well, so like the Kiwano, they are ALWAYS shipped underripe and do not ripen off the plant. Kiwanos are related to melons which are the same story – They don’t ripen off the plant and are too fragile to ship ripe. Kiwanos grown in your backyard actually taste quite good!

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10 Susan Voisin June 12, 2013 at 6:47 am

That’s good to know. I wish I were able to get them fresh–or grow them in my backyard!

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11 Barbara manuel November 18, 2013 at 8:40 pm

Thanks for kiwano recipe. It grew all by itself at my place. I started to eat it green as I did not know any better asa salad (cucumber). When i found the orange one i thought it was frost burnt. Then googled as I didn’t even know the name. Am now trying to deliberately grow it.

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