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More and more exotics native to Austria

The African horned cucumber, or kiwano, is now available in Austria as well, according to the Kurier. Recently, the yellow, spiky fruit has been cultivated in Seewinkel. The desert fruit also grows here thanks to hours of sunshine, says farmer Heinrich Unger.

"As a relative of pumpkin and cucumber, it is a vegetable, but it tastes like fruit. When I first grew it 12 years ago, I harvested it still green because I didn't know any better. Unripe, it tastes like sour cucumbers."

The fruit is grown alongside tomatoes and peppers and harvested in September/October. "It can be harvested until the first frost, and what makes it special is its long storage life. At our house, some specimens have even been edible after a year!"

Unger likes to experiment with exotics. "As early as 25 years ago, I asked friends to bring back seeds from vacations. I don't yet know what will happen with the kiwano. Such decisions depend on project funding, but I can imagine growing it on double the area in 2022."

These exotics have gone native in Austria: Ginger, rice, sweet potatoes, turmeric.


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