Pepino Melon, also called melon-pear, is native to the Anden regions of South America and is an ancient crop.
Otherwise known as Pepino Dulce, or sweet cucumber in the Spanish language, the Pepino flips from green to yellow when it ripens and develops striking purple stripes when mature.
Pepino Melons have a pear-like texture and a mellow cantaloupe-cucumber flavor.
In its native area, Pepino is cultivated at heights between 800 and 3000 m above sea level in environments with a moderate temperature regime all year-round.
What Is A Pepino Melon
Pepino melon is a fruit from Peru, and although it looks like a melon, it is not a real melon, because it grows as an evergreen shrub rather than a vine.
However, some of the current species are similar to other nightshade plants grown for their fruits, including those that are very similar to the pecan plant, such as pecans and Cucumis melo.
Common yields under commercial production vary from 30 to 40 t/ha with a fruit weight of 170 to 300 g.
The plant (Solanum muricatum Ait.) grows shrub or bush form and requires cool night and mild day temperatures (12-24°C).
The plant has hermaphrodite flowers and usually develops fruits with 10 to 200 seeds. Pepino fruit is round, oval, or elongates in shape; the skin color is light yellow to orange.
Pepino melon how to eat
The fruit flesh (pericarp) is the edible part of the plant; it can be consumed as a dessert fruit, an ingredient of fruit salads, in juices, ice creams, preserves, or in elaborated dishes.
Pepino is being grown commercially in the tropical highlands of South America (especially Peru, Colombia, and Chile), New Zealand, Spain, and Israel, mainly for export to North America and West Europe.
Since pepinos are new to consumers outside of the Andes and some Mediterranean areas, markets are unstable.
There is a lack of basic marketing knowledge, consumer acceptability is unknown, and ultimate market demand is uncertain.
In Germany, Pepino fruits are imported from Peru, Columbia, Chile, New Zealand, Israel, and Spain.
Pepino Melon Taste
Pepino Dulce fruit is similar in color to melon (Cucumis melo) and its taste is reminiscent of a juicy mixture of honeydew and cucumber.
There are four Pepino varieties (37-A, El Camino, Puzol, and Valencia) and one accession (E-7) of its close wild relative S. caripense were characterized by HPLC-DAD-Msn/ESI.