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Pepino

 

Synonym: mellowfruit

botanical name: Solanum muricatum


Pepino / Mellowfrucht

 

 

Pepinos originated in the elevated mountain valleys of Peru and Colombia. This plant was already cultivated by the Indians. Outside of South America the fruit is also grown in the USA, Australia, New Zealand, Kenya, and in some Mediterranean countries. Even in Germany it is possible to grow it in greenhouses or during the summer months.

 

Availability

Pepinos are sold in Germany all year round, but only in small amounts. In the spring and summer months they usually come from Spain, while in the autumn and winter months they are imported from South America, mostly from Chile.

 

Appearance, taste, characteristics

The round shape of the fruit resembles that of an egg or an acorn.
The cultivated form of the pepino is 10-20 cm long. The skin is light-beige to lemon yellow and has irregular dark-red to purple stripes. The juicy pulp inside is yellow to peach-coloured.
The fruit tastes like a mixture of pear and melon. It is sweet, but it has little aroma and is therefore often described as bland. Like in a melon, in the middle of the pepino is a cavity with many small seeds.

 

Quality criteria, optimal storage conditions

Ripe pepinos have a yellow skin. You can also test them by pressing lightly, and if the fruit yields to pressure it is ripe.
The fruit keeps well. Even at room temperature, ripe pepinos can be stored for up to 3 weeks without loss of quality. If they are stored at temperatures below 3°C they may be damaged by the cold.

 

Form of consumption, use, processing, practical tips for preparation

To eat it fresh, cut the fruit in half, remove the seeds and spoon out the pulp.
Of course, you can also peel pepinos, remove the seeds and cut the pulp into pieces, but you should not do this until just before they are to be eaten, as the pulp quickly turns brown when it is exposed to air.
With lemon juice, ginger or liqueur added, pepinos make a delicious dessert. The pepino is also recommended as a starter, e.g. filled with shrimp salad. Compote or jam can also be made from it.

 

 

 

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