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African Cucumber Health Benefits

The African cucumber is a fruit, horned melon or melano, that can be greatest described as melon with horns. It originated in the Kalahari Desert but now it is present in California and New Zealand.

 

The dark green squash reminds one of bananas, limes, passion fruit or cucumber.

 

This horned cucumber plant is an annual vine, with starts its height from 1.5 to 3m long of African origin.

 

The stem is raw-boned, ridged and hairy with internodes are in 5-8cm long.

 

At each node having a 2.5 to 5cm long curling stem forms, along with two to four pale yellow male flowers, and occasionally a fruiting branch.

 

The small, deeply cut, five-lobed leaves are similar to all of the watermelon.

 

In addition to the many health benefits the utilization of cucumber has, it also has many benefits when it is used externally.

 

When a paste of raw cucumber is applied to the skin as a face mask, it rejuvenates the skin and helps to reduce swelling and heat from the face.

 

It is said that the juice can be used for removing stains from linen.

 

The fruit needs the gentle handling because of the thin skin and once picked cannot be kept for more than a few days.

 

Though the peel of the African cucumber is covered in spikes (though they aren’t pointy), the peel is edible, and provides many great nutrients. 

 

The peel, in fact, is a great source of both vitamin C and fiber.  The gelatin-like-covered seeds are not commonly eaten, but are also edible.

 

The fibrous structure and protein composition of the peel provides for a taste and texture similar to the plantain family.

 

One variety does not have horns, but looks and tastes similar. The seeds are covered in a gel-like substance.

 

A small amount of salt or sugar can increase the flavour. The fruit can be used in cooking, but when eaten raw, most suck out the pulp and spit out the seeds.

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