© Denzil Green
Babáco Melons are melons from Ecuador.
They grow on the branches of a small tree that reaches up to 6 feet (1.8 metres) tall. The tree will survive down to 28 F / -2 C, though the leaves will fall off and the tree might be susceptible to root rot.
The tree propogates by shoots. It takes about 15 months from a shoot being planted to the first fruits.
There are not many branches on the tree. Its flowers grow right on the trunk.
The five-sided melons are all female. They are rounded at the stem end, and pointed at the other end.
The fruit are 8 to 12 inches (20 to 30 cm) long, and 4 inches (10 cm) wide with smooth, thin skin that ripens from green to yellow.
They are seedless and quite white inside, and juicy with a slightly tart flavour that is a cross between honeydew and strawberries.
The fruit will continue ripening after picking. Commercially, it is picked at the first sign of yellow.
Babáco Melons are being grown in Guernsey, Israel, New Zealand and California.
No need to peel. When sliced, they will stay white for quite a while without the aid of lemon juice, etc.
Some think best eaten raw, but in Ecuador it is cooked up in syrup.
Babáco Melons have a shelf life of up to 4 weeks, even without refrigeration.
Babáco Melons were introduced into California in the 1970s by a Steve Spangler.
They are probably a naturally occurring hybrid of papaya.