bitter melon 034A few weeks ago I mentioned that there wouldn’t be any more melon on our 52-week Challenge. Yet I bring you this.

But it’s not really a melon, more like the most bitter cucumber you could possibly imagine. One of those foods where you taste it and wonder “did the first people who ate this food think they might die?” Because we weren’t completely sure if we were dealing with a vegetable or poison.

I did do my research, and know that most people cook bitter melon into heavily-seasoned dishes like stews, but there were some people eating it raw. So we gave it a chance…and paid the price. I was tempted to drink a Clorox chaser after eating it. Anything to wash the taste out of my mouth. 

ME: This one is called a….sour melon? A bitter melon.

ME: What does it smell like?


ME: Let me smell it….it smells a little bit like  cucumber to me.

LAUREN: Definitely.

ME: What does it look like?

LAUREN: A curly corn. A really curly piece of corn. And it looks like a roly poly but it’s a little bit green. One more thing….it looks like spinach.

ME: Emma what does it look like?

EMMA: It looks like meat.

ME: That’s actually a good description, it looks like squirrely raw meat.

ME: Sam, what does it look like?

SAM: Um, old beef.

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guineps 035

I don’t know how to describe this fruit other than it tastes sweet and slightly lycheeish, but has the strangest texture. It’s like a hard nut, covered in the softest, cashmere-like fur. We discovered that there isn’t much to eat in the way of fruit, but it’s lots of fun to let it roll around in your mouth. The kids LOVED these things.

ME: These are called Guineps

LAUREN: Ha, ginneps! They look like a big olive. But they kind of look like a tiny avocado too.

ME: That’s kind of true.

SAM: This looks like a grape.

ME: Yeah, it does look like a grape!

LAUREN: Just a little.

EMMA: I don’t want this!

LAUREN: A little bit bigger. And a little rounder. And it’s like a Bay Blade!

ME: Does anyone want to open theirs up?

ME: What does it look like on the inside?

SAM: A lychee.

ME: It does look a bit like a lychee on the inside.

LAUREN: Can you open mine?

ME: Does it look an eyeball?

EMMA: Let me see it. It looks like a bode-E.

ME: A bode-E? Like a body? Like a body part?

EMMA: Yeah.

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starkrimson 037

According to a site called Melissa’s, the organic Starkrimson pear is known for its “deep red exterior” and “high juice content”. Both descriptions were on the mark. I initially bought the pears for their bright red color, but once I took a bite, it was easy to see that they’re a step above your average pear. Like an in-season peach from the farmers’ market, the pear was so juicy, it dribbled down our chins. The kids loved them, so we’ll definitely pick up a few more of these sometime soon. I hope you’ll try them too.

ME: Guys, what is this one called?

LAUREN: A red pear.

ME: Yeah, but it has a funny name…it’s called a “Starkrimson” pear.

LAUREN: AND, it could be called a red pear too.

ME: What do you think it’s going to taste like, a regular pear or different?

LAUREN: I think kind of different. Maybe in the middle of the both of them. Kind of different and kind of the same.

SAM: Is THIS an orange?

ME: That’s an orange, that’s not mystery food right now.

ME: What does a pear taste like?

LAUREN: I forgot.

ME: Sam, do you know?

SAM: It tastes like that! (Pointing at the pear)

LAUREN: Well, we don’t know what it tastes like yet Sam.

SAM: Can I try?

ME: Yeah, let me cut them into little chunks for you guys.

LAUREN: But first we have to say what it smells like, looks like…

ME: Oh yeah, sorry guys, I forgot!

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summerkissmelon 007Whoever is in charge of the branding decisions behind the Summer Kiss melon has done a fantastic job. They’ve psychologically primed us to anticipate a perfectly sweet and juicy melon. I don’t know of many other names that do such a good job of promoting their fruit. But with a big name comes the chance of a big letdown because there’s nothing worse than an overpromise. Fortunately the Summer Kiss doesn’t disappoint, it’s as beautiful on the inside as it is on the outside, and perfectly sweet.  So perfect that Emma was convinced that it was factory made. 

ME: First of all, tell me what it looks like.

LAUREN: It kind of looks like a real melon but it’s green.

ME: Yeah, it’s kind of green and white.

ME: What else do you notice about it, I notice something really cool.

ME: Don’t start tasting it Lauren.

ME: Do the seeds make a star pattern?

LAUREN: Yeah, a flower.

ME: What about the outside?

EMMA: Outside. This is OUTSIDE!

LAUREN: Looks like a real melon.

ME: OK, you want to smell it?

EMMA: Yeah!

ME: What does it smell like?

EMMA: He got peanut butter on mine!

LAUREN: It smells like a daisy flower.

EMMA: It smells like scientist food.

ME: What? It’s real food. Is that scientist food Lauren?


ME: Did you guys touch it?

LAUREN: Yeah. Slimy.

ME: Did you taste it?


EMMA: Good.

LAUREN: It tastes like a real melon.

ME: Does it taste any different?

LAUREN: A little sweeter.

ME: What about you Sam?

SAM: So, do I lift it up by this? (the rind)

LAUREN: Can you get me a paper towel?

ME: What do you think?

EMMA: This is scientist food.

ME: That’s not scientist food.

EMMA: This is scientist food.

ME: But do you like it?

EMMA: Yeah.


dragon_fruit 001

I made a big mistake this week. I bought a Dragon fruit and I didn’t take a picture of the inside. I should have learned by now that the interesting part of these new fruits and vegetables is often the inside. Although the vivid pink and green skin of the Dragon fruit is clearly beautiful, it was the speckled black and white interior that stole the show. I have to be honest – it wasn’t the most interesting flavor, but the looks alone made up for it.

ME: The mystery food this week is Dragon fruit! Why do you think it’s called a Dragon fruit?

LAUREN: Because it has red all over it.

SAM: It looks like there’s fire on it.

ME: What color is it going to look like on the inside?

SAM: Pink.

LAUREN: I think it’s going to be black and white.

ME: OH MY GOSH! It’s polka dot! It looks like cookies and cream, seriously.

ME: Who wants to smell it?

LAUREN: Apples.

ME: Sam?

LAUREN: Really sweet apples!

ME: I don’t know if you’re supposed to eat the pink side on the outside. (Not the skin, but there is a pink layer inside the skin).

ME: (cutting)

ME: I think the pink part is edible.

ME: What does it taste like?

LAUREN: I want to feel it. It feels kind of prickly.

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