Pronunciation: [puh-PEE-noh]

1. A fragrant fruit that originated in Peru, though it's now grown in New Zealand, California and other subtropical and temperate climates. Though sometimes referred to as a pepino melon, the pepino isn't a melon at all, but rather a member of the nightshade family, as are eggplants and tomatoes. The exotic-looking pepino has a smooth, glossy, golden skin streaked with violet. It can range in size anywhere from that of a plum to that of a large papaya. The skin, seeds and flesh are all edible. The perfumy yellow-gold flesh is juicy and lightly sweet, with a mild cantaloupe flavor. Pepinos are available from late fall to midspring in specialty produce markets and some supermarkets that carry exotic produce. Choose those that are fragrant and give slightly to palm pressure. They can be ripened at room temperature, if necessary. Judge the ripeness by the deep-golden background color. Pepinos should be peeled before using for out-of-hand eating, in fruit salads or as an accompaniment or garnish to meats or vegetables. They're also called and treemelon. 2. Spanish and Portuguese for "cucumber."

From The Food Lover's Companion, Fourth edition by Sharon Tyler Herbst and Ron Herbst. Copyright © 2007, 2001, 1995, 1990 by Barron's Educational Series, Inc.

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