What Is Tamarillo?
So, what is Tamarillo fruit? This is a question that a lot of people ask and we’re going to answer it here today in this post.
Tamarillo, also known as the tree tomato, is a juicy, sweet, and citric oval-shaped fruit. This fruit is closely related to other Solanaceae members of vegetables and fruits like eggplant, tomatillo, chili peppers, tomato, and ground cherries. There are common names of the Tamarillo, which include tomato de Arbol, tomato de arvore, and tree tomato. The scientific name of Tamarillo is Solanum betaceum (Cyphomandra betacea). This small tree or shrub that belongs to the flowering plant family Solanaceae is believed to have originated from semi-tropical high altitude Andes forests of Brazil and Peru.
Tamarillo is cultivated on a commercial scale in massive orchards in the Northern parts of New Zealand. Once cultivated, Tamarillo is then exported to Australia, the USA, Europe, and Japan. This shrub is small in size and reaches between 5 and 15 feet in height. It also has hairy branches and stems. The good thing about Tamarillo is that it has evergreen leaves that are broader than the ones in tomatoes. A Tamarillo that is well grown can have small and fleshy pale-pink attractive flowers in just the first year of its plantation. Unfortunately, fruiting is normally discouraged until the Tamarillo reaches the second or third year.
Not only does Tamarillo have an oval shape, but it also has shiny skin and comes in different colors depending on the cultivation type. There are several types of Tamarillo such as red, yellow, and dwarf Tamarillo. These varieties come in different lengths and grow differently. We’ll get to talk about these types of Tamarillo later on, but what you need to know is that a completely mature Tamarillo fruit has an oval shape and has a length of approximately 6 to 8 cm, a width of 4 to 6 cm, and weighs approximately 100 grams.
On the inside part of a Tamarillo fruit, there is a cut section that appears similar to that of plum tomatoes. The flesh of the fruit is juicy, deep, flavorful, flat, sweet yet tangy, and has many tiny and disk-like edible seeds. The surprising fact is that these seeds that you’ll find in a Tamarillo are slightly larger than the ones you’ll find in tomatoes.
Types of Tamarillo
As mentioned earlier, there are several types of tamarillos that you need to know about. These include the red, yellow, and dwarf Tamarillo. These are some of the most common types that you can find in the market. The good thing about Tamarillo is that they have a sweet taste, regardless of the type that you’re eating.
What you need to do is ensure that you know how to eat them. If you don’t, we’ll go through that later on. But first, let’s discuss the various types of Tamarillo to have an in-depth understanding of them.
Red tamarillos are not only small but also feature an oval to an egg shape. They also have pointed ends and average about 4-6 cm in diameter and 6-8 cm in length. They have smooth and glossy skin that is taut and thin. When the red Tamarillo is ripe it has an orange-gold color to a muted and red-brown color when mature. The skin of the red Tamarillo may also bear purple and crimson hues although it depends on the variety. Just underneath the surface of the red Tamarillo, the flesh is semi-firm, with both orange and succulent with a consistency of aqueous.
There are also edible black seeds that are encased in two chambers, which are filled with soft pulp. When the red Tamarillo is ripe, it tends to have a bright and sweet-tart flavor with tangy and acidic notes. It’s also crucial to note that mostly the skin of this red Tamarillo contains a bitter and tannin forward flavor, though it’s often discarded before eating. The red tamarillos are the most common types found in commercial markets. Red tamarillos are also an excellent source of vitamin C. Vitamin C is an antioxidant that strengthens your immune system and improves skin composition. Red tamarillos also help to reduce inflammation.
Red tamarillos are also a good source of vitamin E and beta-carotene. The beta-carotene is an antioxidant that gives the flesh of the Tamarillo a red hue, which is then converted to vitamin A in your body once you eat the fruit. The vitamin A converted in your body when you eat this red Tamarillo helps to improve the health of your skin and eyes. Aside from just providing you with vitamins, red tamarillos are also a good source of minerals like potassium, which help to regulate fluid levels. The red Tamarillo also contains magnesium, copper, iron, and phosphorus.
How to Eat a Red Tamarillo
Red tamarillos are mostly found on the market and are considered as digestive cleansers and immune strengtheners in South America. Therefore, due to that, the people of South America mostly eat red tamarillos during the flu and cold seasons. Here’s how to eat red Tamarillo fruit.
- Red tamarillos are suitable for both raw and cooked applications. However, these fruits are mostly consumed fresh due to their sweet and tangy flavor. What you shouldn’t do is eat the skin of the red Tamarillo because it’s bitter.
- You should peel the skin of the Tamarillo and slice the fruit in half. You can also slice and toss red tamarillos into salads, and then blend them into gazpacho, or even coat them in sugar and eat them as a snack.
- You can also eat red tamarillos as a topping over ice cream and cakes, as well as other baked goods. Additionally, you can blend the fruit into fruit juices and smoothies.
- Another way to eat a red Tamarillo is to slather it onto a toast or grill and serve as a side dish.
- You can pair red tamarillos with cheese such as feta, brie, arugula, cheddar, and avocado.
The yellow Tamarillo fruit also referred to as the golden Tamarillo, has an egg shape with a glossy tangerine hued skin, as well as a succulent flesh, which contains small soft edible seeds. This type of Tamarillo has thin skin, and it’s far too bitter and tannin-rich for humans to consume. When this yellow Tamarillo is ripe, it tends to have bright flesh, plus it’s also piquant in flavor, with an additional pleasant sweet-tart balance. The only disadvantage of the yellow Tamarillo is that it’s only available in the summer months. It is an evergreen tree that measures 2 to 4 meters in height and produces abundant fruits.
It grows better in areas with adequate light, free-draining soils in full sun and warm situations. However, you also have to ensure that the growing yellow Tamarillo is well protected from strong winds and frosts. The seedlings of the yellow tamarillos should always be planted during the spring season. You also need to ensure that you don’t disturb the roots of these types of tamarillos to allow them to grow properly and produce well. When growing the yellow Tamarillo tree, you have to ensure that you water them regularly during the summer.
Yellow Tamarillo Recipes
The good thing about any type of Tamarillo is that you can use it to make a whole lot of things such as hot sauce, Tamarillo chutney, Ecuadorian hot sauce, Indian spices, salad with basil, and also use ice cream as a topping. Below is a recipe on how to make Tamarillo jam.
- Prepare the Tamarillo for 10 minutes by peeling it and ensuring it’s perfect for cooking.
- Cook the Tamarillo for about 1 hour and 30 minutes.
- After cooking, you will have the Tamarillo jam ready within 1 hour and 40 minutes.
- This will produce several jars of Tamarillo jam.
- 2 kg sugar
- Lemon juice
- 1 cup of water
- 2 ½ kg of tamarillos
- 2 tablespoons of butter
- Clean and well-sterilized bottles
- Remove the flesh of the yellow Tamarillo with a spoon. The skin is meant to be discarded since it’s bitter and not needed. Once you scoop out the flesh of the tamarillos, make sure that you chop them properly.
- Take the lemon juice and put it in a pot together with the tamarillos and add water.
- Boil the mixture until you ensure that the fruit is soft.
- Reduce the heat and then add sugar to the mixture, then stir it to dissolve the sugar.
- Add butter and stir until it melts, increases the heat, and then continue to cook the jam until you ensure that it boils completely.
- Lower the heat a bit and continue cooking. Keep stirring the mixture to avoid the jam sticking to the bottom of the pot. Ensure that you cook for more than 30 minutes.
- Check to see if the mixture has thickened and also check for consistency of the jam. If you confirm these two things, you can stop cooking if you’re satisfied with the thickness of the jam.
- Once you’re done, you can pour the jam into clean bottles and seal them.
- Ensure you store in a dark, and cool, dry place.
Dwarf Tamarillo, also known as Solanum abutiloides, is a species plant that belongs to the family Solanaceae. It is native to Bolivia and Argentina, and also grows well as a weedy plant in rocky areas or even on stream banks or scrubland. A dwarf Tamarillo tree can grow between 900 and 3,600 meters in height. It is also a plant that is known for growing rapidly and strongly. The dwarf Tamarillo can quickly mature into a shrub or small tree up to 30 feet (9 meters). However, this doesn’t mean that this tree is guaranteed to always grow taller – often it grows far smaller than the estimated size.
Small flowers usually form throughout the branches of the dwarf Tamarillo plant, and the individual clusters of the flowers can also contain up to 60 blooms. These blooms are normally followed by fruits, which is a small oblong berry that ripens to a yellow-orange color. The berries are usually 1 cm large in diameter or approximately 0.39 inches. The dwarf Tamarillo taste is sweet, fruity, and tropical flavor, with overtones of pineapple. However, this type of Tamarillo is only sweet when it’s ripe. When it’s not ripe, the berries are mildly toxic, although they are edible when ripe.
When it comes to using the yellow Tamarillo, they come in handy in adding flavor to ice cream or make fruit jam. Since dwarf tamarillos are sweet and have a good flavor, you can also eat them raw without having to worry about anything. What you need to do is ensure that you cut out the skin of the Tamarillo as it is normally bitter and not ideal to eat. You can also make juice with dwarf tamarillos or whip them into smoothies. Another thing you need to know about dwarf tamarillos is that they are also ornamental.
The good thing about dwarf tamarillos is that they include vitamins A, C, and E. They can also be used to aid you in weight loss, they are ideal for skin, and heart. These types of tamarillos are grown like the other types and can easily grow even in your backyard. However, it’s important to note that in frost-free areas, they tend to grow into smaller trees. They mature early, they are easy to grow, and their overall rating is high not only by farmers but also consumers. Dwarf Tamarillo, similar to the other types, also helps to improve eyesight and skin. Additionally, dwarf tamarillos have furry green leaves, they are brightly colored, and have an overall orange color when they ripen.
How to Eat Tamarillo
There are several ways to eat Tamarillo fruit. The benefit of tamarillos is that they are not only sweet but also healthy. Another thing you need to know is that Tamarillo flavour is pleasant, which makes it good to eat. See below some of the ways to eat tamarillos.
How to Eat Raw Tamarillo
Eating raw Tamarillo is one of the ways to consider. Most people eat raw tamarillos due to their sweet taste and flavor. To eat a raw Tamarillo, here are some of the steps you need to take.
- First, take a Tamarillo and cut it in half with a knife. However, before cutting the fruit, ensure that you wash it properly. When you cut the Tamarillo in half, it allows you to easily get the flesh behind the inedible skin. You also need to ensure that you’re careful when cutting the fruit, to avoid cutting yourself. You can do that on a flat or non-slip surface.
- The next step is to use a spoon to scoop the pulp out. This is because the pulp inside a Tamarillo is similar to the one you’ll find in an ordinary tomato. The pulp is also the part of a Tamarillo that is described as juicy. The pulp is also usually softer than the flesh, which means scooping it out first will make it easier for you to discard the flesh. Most people ask “Can you eat Tamarillo skin”? The answer is, no. The skin of tamarillos is usually bitter and not ideal to eat. However, you shouldn’t discard the seeds because they are edible and quite similar to tomato seeds. Also, avoid staining your clothes with the juices from the Tamarillo.
- If you have any remaining flesh from the skin, ensure that you thoroughly scrape it off. The skin of tamarillos has an unpleasant taste, so scooping out the flesh eliminates the possibility of eating the skin. Scooping the flesh out is also efficient compared to removing the skin.
How to Use Tamarillos in Everyday Cooking
Another way to eat tamarillos is to use them in your everyday cooking. One way is to peel a Tamarillo and use it as an ingredient in cooking. The best way to do this is to peel off the skin and cut the fruit into slices or any shape you want. To peel tamarillos:
- First, put them in a bowl and submerge in water for about 3 to 4 minutes.
- Ensure you drain the hot water and then run the tamarillos under cold water.
- Remove the skin of the tamarillos with your hands or a knife.
Making Sauce with Tamarillos
You can also make a sauce with tamarillos. The sauce you make from tamarillos can be used with meat or in a variety of dishes. To make Tamarillo sauce, here’s what you need to do:
- Take oil and heat in a pan.
- Take 1 large sliced red onion and cook it for approximately 5 minutes.
- Scoop out the flesh of 3 tamarillos and add them.
- Add ¼ cup of brown sugar and a ½ cup of red wine.
- Boil the mixture.
- Reduce the heat and allow it to simmer for 20 minutes.
Eat Tamarillos with Salad
Another way to eat tamarillos is to add them to salad. This is because tamarillos can replace other fruits such as strawberries and tomatoes. For instance, you can eat avocado salad and tamarillos, you can mix tamarillos with shredded apple slaw and red cabbage, eat sliced tamarillos with sliced mushrooms salad.
The Tamarillo fruit health benefits are plenty. This is one of the best fruits to eat since it’s not only sweet but also adds vitamins and minerals to your body. Tamarillos have low calories, fat, and more protein than tomatoes. For example, 100 grams of tamarillos only contain 31 calories. Tamarillos also have beneficial plant nutrients such as antioxidants, dietary fiber, vitamins, and minerals. Tamarillos also have an acidic flavor that comes from citric acid, and they also contain malic acid.
Here are some of the benefits you need to know about tamarillos.
- Tamarillos aid in weight loss since they have low-calorie content along with fiber.
- They help in treating diabetes – A surprising fact is that tamarillos can treat diabetes because the fiber contained in the fruit helps to regulate sugar levels in your blood.
- Improving heart health – The protein, carotenoids, soluble fiber, anthocyanins, and starch that is in tamarillos help to reduce the risks of cardiovascular diseases.
- Tamarillo helps to manage blood pressure – Tamarillo contains potassium and mineral content, which helps to reduce the high blood pressure levels in your body. Also, the carotenoids contained in this fruit helps to lower any risks of coronary heart disease linked to high blood pressure levels.
- Promotes longevity and fights cancer – Tamarillo is also a fruit that promotes longevity since it provides you with vitamin C that is known to aid in longer life. What’s more, the antioxidant property found in the fruit helps to fight the free radical cells that cause cancer.
Tamarillo – Where to Buy
The good thing is that you can buy tamarillos from your local grocery stores/store. Tamarillos are easy to find in your local market and their prices are not always that high. This makes them ideal for anyone who wants to experience them or eat healthily.
Where can I buy a Tamarillo Tree?
You can find a Tamarillo tree anywhere today since the fruit is popular nowadays. You can find a Tamarillo tree online in places like Amazon and other online stores. However, the prices will vary depending on the size you want.
Buy Tamarillo Plant
Tamarillos are native to South and Central America, Australia, New Zealand, and parts of Asia. Therefore, most of the fruit is imported from the United States. Tamarillos from New Zealand have a tangy taste that is habit-forming. When you want to buy this fruit, I highly recommend checking with your local store first.
You can buy Tamarillo fruit anywhere you are. If your local store doesn’t have these fruits, you can also check online from various eCommerce stores that can deliver to wherever you are in the world.
Tamarillos are some of the best fruits out there. If you’re looking for an alternative to tomatoes, then consider these healthy and sweet fruits to use in your salad, food, or even for making homemade jam. Although they might be a bit costly, they have plenty of health benefits to offer and that makes them worth buying.