Pepino Dulce (Solanum Muricatum) also known as Melon Pear, Mellow fruit or Tree Melon, is a tear-drop shaped sweet fruit that has a smooth skin with purple streaks. It looks like melon with a slight flavor of cucumber. The golden yellow flesh of this fruit has an aroma that is a blend of honeydew, vanilla and pear. Sometimes, these fruits also have cream colored skin with green or purple streaks. It is is used in many dishes of South American cuisine and is now popular in America and New Zealand as well. Pepinos A L’Orange and Pepino Melon & Tomato Salad are a couple of well-known preparations of this melon.
History of Melon Pear
As per records chronicled by the Spanish settlers, Pepino Dulce was cultivated in Moche Valley in Peru. In fact, these fruits were part of the Moche Art, as a popular decorative. It has been cultivated since years in various South American countries such as Colombia, Ecuador, Chile and Bolivia. It became known in United States in San Diego, around 1889 and in the next decade it spread to other parts of the west coast. The fruit is now popular in New Zealand, European, Japanese and Turkish cuisines.
Pepino Dulce or Melon Pear has many culinary uses, which includes the using in salads, sauces, in appetizers and also desserts. It tastes best when peeled and cubed. It can also be eaten raw.
Popular Pepino Dulce Recipe
Pepino Dulce is popular with many cuisines and is used in varied preparations. Listed here is an easy recipe of this ingredient –
Pepinos A L’Orange – This is a delicious summer dessert, which can be served with different combinations. Pepinos are peeled and cut into quarters. The seeds are removed by carving out the center part of the fruit. The melon is then cut into small bite-size pieces and placed in a bowl (non-metal). Triple sec and crystallized ginger are sprinkled and stirred into the melon. The contents are refrigerated for the flavors to blend and when chilled, the melon is served topped with almonds that have been slivered. This dish is served with either ice cream or pound cake.
This is a low calorie fruit with very high dietary fiber (about 5g).
Buying & Storing Tips
- The main consideration while buying Pepino is to ensure that the skin is smooth, pale yellow colored with purple streaks and the fruit has a nice sweet aroma to it. The stem side of the fruit should be firm, while the fruit is ripe.
- Blemished, soft and light weight fruits are best avoided.
- Pepino Dulce ripens at room temperature, which can then be refrigerated for at least 3 days.