Thursday, October 22, 2009

Good Trivia: Strange Fruit

I can be walking down the street and stop dead in my tracks when a a certain smell wafts by, struck by a long-lost memory from childhood or the image of a particular person or place.

My friend Kathryn planted this unique fruit in her garden because her mother grew it and would set bowls of the small, lime-sized fruit around the house, their light, flowery aroma perfuming the air. She also remembers taking one to school so she would smell it every time she opened the hinged lid of her desk. And I can only imagine how much her teacher would love getting Kathryn's papers, the pages infused with their perfume.

Any guesses on what this fruit is? Leave a comment below; names of correct answerers will be posted here (with links if you like) one week from today! (I'll hold comments until that time so no hints will be given away…)

And the winner is…insert drum roll of choice here…Peter! His guess, stated assertively in all caps, was "Melon - Queen Anne's Pocket," aka "Vine Pomegranate," "Perfume Melon" or, as Kathryn's family called it, the "Plum Granny." It is, indeed, a melon, albeit a very small one and, as the Victory Seed catalog describes it, "a very fragrant heirloom. According to Amy Goldman in her book, 'Melons for the Passionate Grower,'this variety has been known for at least 1000 years. Used in the Victorian-era as a perfume to mask body odor by carrying in pockets and purses. The skin [sic] of the apple-sized fruit are yellow with deep orange-red stripes and white flesh. They are edible and some folks like the flavor. They are kind of like a cucumber without the crunch. One or two melons fill a room with their perfume."

You can read the other guesses in the comments below. Thanks for your responses, and thanks to Kathryn for sharing her strange but wonderful fruit!


peterpdx said...


Lisa Belt said...

They're pepino melons!

Michael J said...

I believe that it is an heirloom melon from Armenian, sold in this country as the Tigger Melon.