Pepino melon is a tropical fruit that is native to South America. The plant grows as an evergreen shrub, which performs best in a frost-free climate. Pepino melon goes by many names including melon pear, sweet cucumber, mellow fruit, Pepino dulce, and even tree melon.
Its scientific name is Solanum Muricatum. Although this fruit is similar to tomatoes and eggplants, it tastes quite sweet and fruity.
What Does Pepino Melon Look Like?
Pepino melon is an oval-shaped fruit that has a smooth texture. You may come across Pepino melons that are either green or yellow in color. The unripe ones are usually dark green in color; you will need to wait for them to ripen in order to enjoy their sweet taste.
When the fruit ripens, the outer skin turns yellow and has thin purple or green stripes all over its body. Once you slice the fruit into two, you’ll notice that the inner flesh is orange or yellow in color with seeds in the middle - similar to papayas.
Where Are Pepino Melons Grown?
As stated before, Pepino melons originally come from South America. This fruit is quite popular and widely available in Peru, Columbia, Ecuador, and Chile. Pepino melons are said to thrive in tropical climates, meaning they grow well in hot and humid regions.
You might also be able to grow Pepino melons in areas that have subtropical climates. With that being said, it is not uncommon to see Pepino melons being cultivated in California or even New Zealand.
Can You Grow Pepino Melons At Home?
You can grow Pepino melons at home from seeds and cuttings. If you plan on growing Pepino melons at home, make sure to plant them in an area where they will get access to lots of sunshine. Pepino Melons would not survive in regions where the climate is less than -2.5°C or where it frosts.
If you want to grow Pepino melons from cuttings, the first step is to snip off a small branch from the Pepino bush. Then, cut off the leaves and put the cutting in a jar of water. Once the cutting shows a significant amount of roots, feel free to transfer them into the soil.
You may water the plant once a day in order to keep the soil damp and moist. If you follow this method, the plant may take around three weeks to germinate.
On the other hand, if you want to grow Pepino melons from seeds, there are two methods you can follow. The first method is to plant the seeds directly in the soil.
The second method is to wrap the seeds in a damp paper towel and then put it in a ziplock or plastic bag. This method allows the plant to germinate at a faster rate - it usually takes around a week.
These plants grow quite quickly and may be able to bear fruits within just four to six months after planting. One thing to keep in mind is that this plant will require lots of sunlight and warmth. It is also advisable to keep the soil damp during the growth stage.
Check out this video to learn more about growing Pepino Melons in your garden:
What Makes Pepino Melon Special?
Pepino melon is quite an interesting fruit since it looks like a melon, and smells like cucumber but tastes like a mix between cantaloupe and honeydew. Some may even say that Pepino melon tastes like sweet cucumber.
You can eat both the skin and the inner flesh of the Pepino melon fruit. The inner flesh contains soft seeds that can be eaten as well. You can slice the fruit in half and eat it raw or you can bake it or serve it with salad.
What Does Pepino Melon Taste Like?
Pepino melon is a sweet fruit. Although it is not as sweet as melons and honeydew, it still gives off a sweet, mild flavor.
There are many people who say that Pepino melon tastes similar to cantaloupe or honeydew but I personally think that the flavor is quite similar to cucumbers.
The texture inside is exactly like a pear - crisp and firm. I found the fruit to be very delicious and quite refreshing. It is definitely a delight to have in the summer.
Is Pepino Melon Healthy?
Pepino melon has lots of health benefits. It is full of nutrients and antioxidants. It is a rich source of protein, iron, copper, calcium, and even potassium.
This makes Pepino melons great for your immune system. It is effective in flushing out salt and excess water.
It also helps to strengthen your bones and to keep your blood pressure in control. On the other hand, Pepino melon is also a great source of vitamins A, C, K, and B. It contains soluble fiber, which aids in digestion and also lowers cholesterol levels.
How Do You Eat Pepino Melon?
There are many different ways you can eat Pepino melons. You can serve it raw, poach it, or even make it into a smoothie.
Most people like to cut the fruit into tiny cubes and mix it in their salad. A great combination is to put freshly sliced or cubed Pepino melons in apple salads or in a salad made with spinach, lettuce, walnuts, and even blue cheese.
You can also put Pepino melons in pies and fruit tarts. Some people like to put Pepino melons in their smoothies. You can quickly make a smoothie using one Pepino melon fruit, one orange, and a glass of skimmed milk. You can also add mint leaves for a more refreshing flavor.
Since Pepino melons have a sweet flavor, you can also use them to make cocktails. They go really well with white wine
Pepino melons are a great fruit. They not only taste good but also boosts immunity and aids in digestion. If you’re someone who does not have a sweet tooth, this fruit is perfect for you since the sweet flavor is not too overpowering.
I personally really liked this fruit. The thing I liked the most was that the entire fruit was edible. I also liked how versatile it is. You can make lots of recipes using this Pepino melon fruit.