Pepino (aka melon pear, melon shrub, pear melon)
Origin: wet and cool highlands of Colombia, Peru and Chile
Plant: Sept – March
Harvest: Oct – March
Propagate: by stem cuttings.
The Pepino is a small bush closely related to the tomato. This shrub grows in a sprawling habit and makes an excellent ground cover plant. It tends to fruit better when grown over a trellis. The foliage is susceptible to damage by light to moderate frosts, however, will quickly recover with warmer weather.
To determine if Pepino are fully ripe, press with the fingers into the flesh and you will find a bit of “give”. Colour should also be a pale yellow to gold with purple flecks. Eat only when fully ripe for a taste between a cantaloupe and a melon. Great garden snack and for fruit salads and sweet curries. Once the fruit has started to grow, cover with a white paper bag for insect protection.