Hybrid fruits are nothing new. For example, the “nectaplum” is a cross between a nectarine and a plum. What you end up with is a fruit with “unparalleled flavor” that tastes like a nectarine, peach and plum all mixed into one delicious package. Hybrid fruits are also hard to create, which is what’s so amazing about today’s announcement.
For the past four years, botanical scientists in Georgia have been working on something that, until now, has been a closely guarded secret. But now that product is bearing fruit…literally. It’s called the “applemelon,” and it’s a cross between an apple and a watermelon.
The applemelon (or waterapple, as some have dubbed it) was created by merging the popular Crimson Sweet watermelon with a Honeycrisp apple. How they accomplished the feat is pretty technical and would require its own blog entry, but the result is a watermelon that grows on a tree with an interior that’s crisp and sweet (like an apple), and tastes like a watermelon.
“The most challenging part of the process was developing a hybrid that created a tree strong enough to sustain the weight of full-grown watermelons without breaking,” said one botanist close to the project. “We were also careful when it came to the taste of fruit, creating a finished product that brought out the best characteristics of both the apple and the watermelon.”
The applemelon tree – of which there are reportedly at least a dozen growing in an undisclosed orchard in Georgia – is capable of producing as many as 30 fruits at a time. The benefit, of course, is that more applemelon can be grown per square acre than standard watermelon. The fact that the fruit is grown in a tree also means that the fruit is protected from animals, certain insects and other risks associated with ground-level, vine-grown produce.
“This is a real breakthrough, no doubt about it,” said the National Watermelon Promotion Board’s resident watermelon farmer and shipping expert, Josh Bailey. “It won’t replace the watermelon or the apple, but it’ll definitely provide a fun and interesting option for fans of both fruits.”
Bailey, of course, is one of the lucky few who have tasted the applemelon. For now, fans like yours truly will have to wait until the applemelon is grown on a larger scale and shipped to stores nationwide. No word on when that will happen, but hopefully very soon!
(In case you didn’t figure it out from the date of this post, this is an April Fool’s joke. Unfortunately, that means the applemelon isn’t real … at least for now!)