The pepino is related to the solanaceae family, that includes potato, eggplant and other products. Pepino is native to Andean regions of Colombia, Peru and Chile. The fruit is round or oval shaped. The color of the thin skin is yellow or greenish with reddish brown spots or stripes. The flesh is yellow, juicy and soft. Pepino has a sweet flavor and tastes like melon and pear. The centre of the fruit contains many flat, round, edible seeds.
Cut the fruit vertically into two halves. From here, either cut the halves into watermelon-like slices, or scoop out the two white fleshy halves with a spoon. The skin is commonly not eaten.
In South Africa the fruit is mainly eaten as dessert. However pepino tastes delicious at every hour of the day and can be easily eaten out-of-hand. Pepino is often used in fruit salads, sauces or eaten with meat, fish or ice-cream.
When to eat
A ripe pepino is creamy yellow and feels soft. Keep ripe pepinos refrigerated and consume within a few days.
Did you know?
The name pepino was given by a Spanish explorer who saw the fruit in Peru. The word "pepino" is Spanish for cucumber. Pepino is also called Apple-melon or Melon-pear, due to its taste
The pepino is a fairly hardy plant that grows at altitudes ranging from near sea level to 3048 meter high in its native regions. However it does best in a warm, relatively frost-free climate.