PEPINO MELON

pepino melonRefreshing, dense, slightly sweet; a pepino melon is just the thing if you’re trying cleanse your palate.

pepino cutPepino melons are actually not a melon at all, being more closely related to a tomato or other members of the nightshade family. That being said, their flavor and texture very much resembles a cantaloupe or even a papaya. The pepino is indigenous to Peru and Chile but, as with so many other growing things, has made its way to appropriate climates around the world. Pepino is the Spanish word for cucumber, as such they are sometimes referred to as tree cucumbers or tree or bush melon. Pepino season runs from fall to spring and the bushes they grow on are, even though nightshades, also evergreens.

From a culinary perspective, the pepino is used in much the same way melons or pears. They can be baked, broiled, sautéed, or better even just eaten raw. Pepinos are not really as sweet as melons but this is what makes them so versatile, in my opinion.

pepino

From a health perspective, pepino melon is in the nightshade family and as such very closely related to the tomato. Pepinos are rich in vitamins and minerals, especially Vitamin C. Even better, though, they are an amazing source of phytonutrients and antioxidants; rutin, lycopene, zeaxanthine, quercetin, kaempferol, beta-carotene, the list goes on. All that nutrient density makes them have a significant beneficial impact for your health. Research shows that consuming tomatoes can help decrease cardiovascular issues, including heart disease, increase bone density, boost immune function, decrease oxidative stress, and decrease the risk of various cancers...namely prostate and lung (as far as studies are concerned).