Flying through Harvey Nichols’ food halls a few weeks before Christmas, desperately trying to stock stockings, I saw this unusual fruit.

 

Naturally, I had to investigate. I looked up ‘granadilla’ in all the obvious places, but none of the images resembled this less delicate looking version of a sour sop (see December guru).

 

So what is it?

 

My best guess is that it is a kiwano – also known as, and better described as, the African horned cucumber – it certainly looks horned, and it does taste a bit of cucumber (with a bit of courgette and a slightly sharp lemony taste thrown in). It looks a bit cucumbery, and it tastes a bit cucumbery, so no surprises that it is, in fact, a member of the cucumber family.

 

According to Wikipedia it has the distinction of being, along with one other type of cucumber, the only source of water in the Kalahari desert in the dry season. But that is pretty much its only distinction. And as I luckily don’t live in the Kalahari desert I think next time I find one nestling exotically I’ll be able to give it a miss.

 

On the other hand an ordinary, common or garden cucumber has much to be said for it – whether simply fresh, or even pickled.