The pepo is a new low-sugar, flavorful fruit developed by Israeli scientists that diabetics can eat without fear of its sugar content. The story was placed in The Boston Globe on May 27, 2003.


By Globe Staff

Israeli scientists have created a new low-sugar fruit called the pepo that diabetics can eat without fear of either its sugar content or its wretched flavor. Diabetics in Israel, where the fruit is already available, say the yellow pepo has plenty of juice and a mild cantaloupe flavor, an improvement over the unpleasant aftertaste of the fruit from which it was created.

Researchers at the Volcani Institute of the Agricultural Research Organization in Israel took cuttings of a fruit called pepino dulce, a native of Peru that contains almost no sugar. Although safe for diabetics to eat, people complained about its flavor and lingering aftertaste. So the researchers bred a new version of the pepino that tastes better, at least according to early reviewers.

Pepos “have a very exotic, tropical taste. I think they would be a big hit in the United States,” said Elisheva Rifkin, spokeswoman for the Israel Diabetic Association, according to ISRAEL21c, a website devoted to news from Israel.

David Levy, the lead researcher on the project, said the institute is now looking for a distributor to bring the fruit to the United States.