PEPITADA (“peh-pi-TAH-dtha”) is a Ladino word indicating a beverage ‘made from fruit pip (seeds)’.  The “-ada” suffix is the equivalant of “-ade” in English, as in lemonade.  Pepitada is a milky-looking drink made by steeping crushed melon seeds in cold water, straining them and adding a little sugar and perhaps a few drops of orange flower essence, rosewater or honey (the secondary flavorings vary regionally throughout the Mediterranean).  You think the makers of Gatorade were innovators? Pepitada is a straightforward health tonic: easy on the stomach, refreshing and loaded with potassium, it replenishes electrolytes.  Pepitada is mostly associated with breaking fasts (perhaps especially the fast of Tisha b’Av, which falls in summer smack in the the middle of melon season) but is also an excellent means of coping with the intense heat of deep summer.


Filed under Glossary, Holidays (fiestas judias)

3 responses to “Pepitada

  1. Janet Amateau

    Oops! I’d been saving this post for Tisha b’Av and I always think of Tisha b’Av as falling in early August. Obviously I’m not overly observant (okay, in my entire life I’ve never observed Tisha b’Av); this year’s holiday came and went at the end of July… — JA

  2. Russo Rachel

    Hi Janet !
    I’ve just discovered your blog and am so happy ! My mother is also from Rhodes Island (Lea Turiel) and my father’s family (Raphaël Russo) came to Rhodes after Turkey.
    After the war, they met and lived in the Congo, then moved to Belgium in the 70’s.
    I think that the the “pepitada” is really special to the sephardic people from Rhodes because besides us, I’ve never met other sephardic or any other jewish people from any other community who know it.
    In our family my mother does it to cut the fast after Yom Kippour. It seems we prepare it the same way, but without the orange flower essence. It’s great to see that you also still do it !!
    It’s a cultural heritage that needs to be kept and transmitted !

    • JA

      Hi, Rachel. Welcome 🙂 Pepitada is Sephardic and I believe you may be right as to its being unique to Rhodes; I’ve looked at it for a long time and all reliable roads lead me back to Rhodes (it would be great to hear what other readers have to say). I’ll expand my comments about pepitada in a post.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s