You can harvest kiwano seeds from mature, adult kiwano melons by scooping out the seeds and pulp, letting it rot, then rinsing and drying the seeds.
If you want to save the seeds so that you can grow them later, you need to dry them out and store them in a cool, dry environment.
Or, if you want to harvest the seeds for consumption, you should eat them soon after opening the fruit.
The kiwano melon – also referred to as the African horned cucumber, horned melon, or jelly melon – produces a lot of seeds.
And you can harvest these seeds for growing, or you can even eat them straight from the melon.
In this article, we’ll break down the process of harvesting, saving, and storing kiwano melon seeds, step by step.
Below, we’ll give you the specifics of saving seeds, drying them, and the best storage temperature and humidity conditions.
Keep reading to learn how to get the most out of this seedy and unique fruit.
Harvesting Kiwano Seeds
First, make sure that you’ve chosen a mature, adult kiwano melon from which to harvest your seeds.
If you harvest the fruit before it’s reached full maturity, you’ll be left with many immature seeds when you cut it open.
You should also check to see that the melon you’re harvesting seeds from is a quality pick that doesn’t have bruises, rot, bugs, or other issues.
Then, once you’ve found a good melon, you should cut it in half vertically.
At this point, you can remove the seeds and save them long-term for germinating, or you can eat them fresh.
Saving Kiwano Seeds
You may choose to harvest these seeds for future gardening use or simply for eating while they’re fresh.
If you choose to save the seeds for gardening, though, you need to follow a specific process of rotting them, cleaning them, sorting them, and drying them.
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Drying and Storing Kiwano Seeds for Gardening Use
Start by scraping out the pulp/flesh from your chosen melon into a jar using a spoon or similar utensil.
You will find the thin white kiwano seeds inside a green-colored jelly-like substance that fills the interior of the melon.
Let it “rot” for approximately 7 to 10 days but not much longer, or the seeds will lose their viability for planting and germinating in the future.
Then, each day that the seeds remain in the jar of pulp give the mix a swirl or stir.
Also, remember to take the lid off at least once a day to let in some fresh air.
You will begin to notice the seeds in the pulp grow moldy and begin to rot.
But don’t panic.
You need the seeds to rot a bit before you can store them.
After waiting 7 to 10 days, you should place the seeds in a container where you can rinse them thoroughly.
You want to get all of the liquid and jelly substances off the seeds, as well as the mold and rot.
And to fully clean off the seeds, you’ll have to repeatedly drain off the dirty water and pour in fresh water, swishing the mixture around.
Eventually, the ripe, mature seeds should sink to the bottom of the container.
You should then pour away the floating seeds, which are not viable.
Next, drain the container of water and your remaining seeds into a sifter or colander that has holes small enough to keep the seeds from falling through.
This process allows you to sift out everything but the seeds, which you should dry off by placing on an absorbent paper towel.
Or, you can pat them dry to get off any remaining moisture.
This drying step is crucial because it will prevent accidental germination.
Finally, put your harvested seeds in a sealed jar or container that will protect them from moisture and extreme temperatures.
You want to store dried kiwano seeds in the temperature range of 35-40°F (1-4˚ C) and keep the humidity lower than 50% so that the seeds remain usable.
Overall, gathering seeds for gardening is an excellent method to get new kiwano plants because each melon can have over one hundred seeds.
Keeping Kiwano Seeds to Eat
You can eat fresh kiwano seeds, just as you might eat the seeds from a pomegranate.
You will find that kiwano seeds come inside of a green jelly-like substance that fills the insides of the fruit.
But unlike pomegranate seeds, you can eat the whole Kiwano seed instead of just sucking off the juice.
Yet, you do need to eat kiwano seeds quickly because they don’t store well in the fridge.
Thus, you should eat the seeds within a few days of harvest.
The same goes for the kiwano melon, which you should eat soon after cutting it open.
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Tips for Proper Harvesting
When saving kiwano seeds for future gardening use, it may be helpful to dry them outside in the sun after harvesting and cleaning them.
As long as it’s not too hot outside, this will naturally speed up the drying process.
You also need to ensure that kiwano seeds are completely dry before putting them in a storage container, as they could go moldy otherwise.
And lastly, if you aren’t harvesting the seeds immediately after obtaining the fruit, make sure you properly store your kiwano melon before cutting it open.
Overall, kiwano melons will stay freshest if you store them at or near 64˚ F (18˚ C) and with lots of open air around them, rather than in the fridge.
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Whether you want to harvest kiwano seeds to eat or to harvest for next year, the process is simple.
If using the seeds for growing, you just need to cut open the fruit, let it mold, and thoroughly wash the seeds.
If eating the seeds, just cut open the fruit and enjoy.