Pepino melons are becoming more popular as a home-grown fruit. A pepino melon is a combination of a cantaloupe and a honeydew with a little cucumber in the mix. Growing and harvesting the perfect pepino requires some planning. Pepinos grow well in warmer climates, but the fruit can handle temps down to 27-degrees F. It is commonly grown in New Zealand, Chile and Australia, but could be grown in northern California as well. Pepinos grow in a fashion similar to tomatoes. In fact, the plant may need to be staked like a tomato plant. While the fruit matures 30-80 days after pollination, the plant will not produce fruit until nighttime temperatures are above 65-degrees F. A ripe pepino fruit will be about 2-4 inches long with a skin color of yellow with purple striping and will begin to soften. You don’t want to squeeze the fruit too hard when harvesting to avoid bruising the fruit – it should come off the plant easily. Upon harvesting, pepinos can be stored for 3-4 weeks in a refrigerator.
- These fruits, originally native to the Andes mountains, are becoming increasingly popular on the home front.
- The window for picking your Pepinos is precise, as too early picking leads to a lack of flavor, while too late leads to soft, or rotting fruit.
- Though a temperate zone native, this melon can make it in areas that go as low as 27 degrees.
“Pepino melons are grown commercially in New Zealand, Chile and Western Australia where they grow as annuals but they can be grown in the milder areas of northern California as well.”