The pepino melon isn’t a melon but an edible fruit of an evergreen shrub native to South America. What does pepino melon taste like?
Is it a cucumber? Is it a melon? There are many curiosities when it comes to this summer fruit. If we’ve got you intrigued, you’ll find the answers right here!
Today’s feature will have you cutting and prepping pepino melon like a pro. We’ll also share the best ways to eat and enjoy it.
Pepino melon, also known as pepino dulce or sweet cucumber, is a unique fruit native to the Andean regions of South America but is now grown in various parts of the world.
In Spanish, the fruit’s name is “pepino dulce,” which means “sweet cucumber.”
Pepino melons have other names, including “melon pear” and “tree melon.”
It’s tricky to spot a pepino bush in the wild. These plants are small and discreet and hide their fruits under their leaves.
Compared to other melons, pepino melon is on the smaller side.
They grow up to four inches in length, similar to a medium-sized avocado.
The pepino fruit is egg-shaped with yellow skin and purple stripes.
It’s easy to detect the stage of ripeness through its colors.
An unripe pepino melon has a pale green peel and light stripes. As they ripen, the peels turn deep yellow with brownish streaks.
Pepino melon is soft to the touch, but the peels harden after they mature.
This melon also have fragrant aromas, which add to the delectable experience.
The pepino melon tastes fresh; it is a cross between a cucumber and honeydew melon.
The flavor varies depending on the melon’s ripeness.
An unripe pepino melon’s flavor resembles a cucumber. It has an identical pale green color and a watery yet firm crunch. The taste is mellow with a slight sweetness and tartness.
A ripe pepino melon has a sweeter honeyed flavor, just like honeydew. At this point of maturity, the melon’s flesh has a light yellow color. It also has a creamier texture, making the flesh easier to scoop.
Pepino melon is easy to eat. You can even pick one directly from its bush and eat it straight.
But if you want to serve these fruits, here’s a simple prep guide.
Preparation goes beyond cutting and peeling and starts with picking the right fruit.
Look for evenly-shaped and unbruised melon.
Ripe pepino melon should be heavy on the palm and have a dull thud when lightly tapped.
If you want to buy pepino melon for later, we recommend purchasing a young melon and letting it ripen at home.
Use a clean, sharp knife when cutting this melon.
Cut the fruit into lengthwise quarters.
A pepino melon has no pit, so it should be easy to cut through.
You can also slice the quarters into smaller bite-sized pieces.
Scoop the pepino melon seeds using a spoon or knife.
The seeds are edible, but we don’t recommend eating them raw.
Save them for later recipes instead.
You can also throw them away if you don’t want to eat them.
The pepino melon’s skin is also edible but doesn’t have a tasty texture.
Peel the melon using a knife as you would with an apple.
Another way is to pinch the edge of the skin and peel it off with your hand.
You can also keep the skin and scoop out the flesh when eating.
It will act as a natural bowl and hold the juicy fruit together.
What sets a pepino melon apart is that the entire fruit is edible – from peel to seeds.
It’s a versatile fruit, from appetizers to desserts.
So, what can you do with pepino melon? We have nine tasty suggestions for you to try.
The best way to eat pepino melon is to enjoy them fresh. Cut the melon into small slices for a quick snack. It’s an instant reward without thorough preparations.
We recommend adding a drizzle of honey to tone down the fruit’s slightly tart flavor.
You can also place the melon in the fridge for an hour so that the flesh becomes cold and refreshing.
Pepino melon is perfect for mouth-watering appetizers. You can slice them into small pieces and serve them alongside melon varieties.
They also pair well with prosciutto and salty cheese.
Add a squeeze of lemon or lime juice on pepino melon when paired with cold cuts. The acidity helps balance the sweet and savory flavors.
Poaching a fruit helps intensify its naturally sweet taste. You can also apply this method to pepino melon.
Blanch a whole melon in boiling water for three minutes before dipping it into ice-cold water.
Afterward, cut the melon into preferred sizes and coat it with sugar and cinnamon.
The pepino melon’s sharp taste also blends in fruit salads.
We recommend pairing it with cherry tomatoes, chili peppers, and feta cheese. Tomato and melon have similar textures and form the salad’s structure.
The chili peppers add a spicy kick, while the cheese contrasts the sweet and acidic flavors.
You can top it all off with a dash of black pepper and a drizzle of olive oil.
If you need help with what to do with melon peels, try making chips! The same recipe works for apple peels.
Season the leftover peels with sugar and cinnamon and bake in the oven for 30 minutes. It’s a quick, foolproof recipe for crispy melon snacks.
Remember the melon seeds you saved for later? Sprinkle them with salt and roast on a skillet for ten minutes. They should turn crunchy and slightly browned. Roasted seeds will hit the spot each time you need a light snack.
Gazpacho is a cold soup usually made with pureed tomatoes. But did you know that you can substitute with pepino melon? The recipe already uses cucumbers, making these melons an excellent alternative.
Add soaked chia seeds, spring onions, and mint into a blender. Mix the ingredients until it forms a thick consistency, and serve cold.
Enjoy this dish with a dash of lemon to combat the sweet flavors.
Pepino melon is an excellent sweetener for cocktails.
After preparing the fruit, use a melon baller to scoop out the ripe flesh. Coat the melon balls with caster sugar, mint, and black pepper.
To balance the flavor, add halved strawberries into a tall glass. Fill the drink with orange juice and white wine.
The alcohol is dry on the palate, but you’ll get a fruity tang from the pepino melon.
Don’t know what else to do with pepino melon? Cut the melon and serve in a yogurt parfait with other fruits.
Due to its mellow taste, pepino melon effortlessly combines with different flavors. The melon balances the sweet and tart tastes of apples and strawberries. It also doesn’t shy away from sharp-tasting fruits like pineapples and limes.
Crush a granola bar and add it to your parfait for an extra crunch.
Here are some of the most significant health benefits of pepino melon:
Ripe pepino melons have yellow peels and purple stripes. They are soft yet feel heavy on the palm. These melons also have a strong sweet aroma.
Pepino melons are incredibly nutritious. They are rich in Vitamins A, B, C, and K, including protein and iron. Their high water content makes them refreshing snacks.
Let an unripe pepino melon mature at room temperature. After ripening, store the melon in the fridge for three to four weeks. We recommend eating ripe pepino melons soon after purchase to enjoy their flavor best.
Despite its name, the pepino melon isn’t a melon but an edible fruit from an evergreen shrub. It’s small to medium in size with vibrant yellow and purple colors. Regarding flavor, the pepino melon taste switches between cucumber and honeydew.
Pepino melons add a refreshing layer to any recipe by combining sweet and sharp flavors. The entire fruit is edible and leaves no room for waste. Try baking melon peel crisps or roasting the seeds for snacks. Many people prefer eating them fresh, but you can also roast them or toss them into salads.