exotic fruit tomarillo luis muniz

6 09 2008

The tamarillo, also known as the tree tomato, is an unusual, exotic, subtropical fruit. It belongs to the flowering plant family Solanaceae. The tamarillo’s thin skin and soft red flesh is closely resembled to tomatoes. It has dark colored seeds that usually take up about one third of the fruit’s interior. The average size of a tamarillo can be between two and eight centimeters in length. It is native to the Andes of Peru and also Chile, Ecuador, and Bolivia. It is cultivated and naturalized in Argentina, Brazil, Colombia, and Venezuela. The tamarillo is a subtropical fruit that flourishes between five thousand to ten thousand feet in its homeland. In the United States, the plant can also be grown in certain parts of northern California, such as San Rafael and Santa Rosa, and also in some parts of Florida.

The tamarillo tree grows as a small tree or shrub which sprouts from egg-shaped fruit. It can grow up to a height of ten to eight feet, rarely ever reaching over twenty five feet tall. The tamarillo tree also produces fragrant flowers that that can be pink, purple, and yellow in color. The dangling fruit grows in clusters of three to twelve. The skin color varies from purple to red to orange. While the skin is typically tough and unpleasant in flavor, the outer layer of the flesh is succulent and bland. The pulp that surrounds the seed is soft, juicy, and sweet. The ones that are yellow in color tend to taste sweeter. The edible seeds are thin, flat, larger, and harder than those of a tomato.

Tamarillos are ready to harvest when they develop a red or yellow color. They can usually be stored in the refrigerator for up to ten days, but the skin will discolor in temperatures below thirty eight degrees. Ripe tamarillos may be cut in half lengthwise, sprinkled with sugar, and served for eating by scooping out the flesh and pulp.

The tamarillo can be grown in many different ways to provide many different tastes. The yellow fruit is said to have less acid than the red ones, and resembles the flavor of an apricot when cooked. The large round red types provide a sharp acidic flavor. They are the best quality for simply eating out of hands and excellent for jams and preserves. The unusually large red ones, generally over three ounces, taste the most exotic and sweet. The deep, ruby red tamarillos with dark red pulp are said to be tart, flavorful, and the best for culinary use. The large fruit that is golden orange in color has soft pulp and a less acidic flavor. These are very good for eating out of hands and also have exceptional culinary qualities. Finally, the yellowish orange colored fruits are usually the size and shape of a plum. They have a yellow flesh that provide succulent mild flavor.

Due to the fact that tamarillos can be used in cooking as both a fruit and a vegetable, recipes for them vary. However, popular uses for the red tamarillo include peeling the slices and serving them as a cold side dish, adding them to salads and sandwiches as a substitute for tomatoes, or sautéing them in a skillet with seasoning to serve as a side dish to a hot entrée. The yellow or orange tamarillos are used by slicing them into pieces to add to fruit salads and other desserts. Both types of tamarillos can be baked, frozen, or eaten raw. They provide a unique alternative to tomatoes and other fruits and vegetables in salads and side dishes. Tamarillos are worth purchasing for their flavorful taste and unusual attractive appearance.




Leave a Reply

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

WordPress.com Logo

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

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ 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

%d bloggers like this: