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Red tamarillo fruit is petite and teardrop shaped with a glossy smooth cranberry hued skin and succulent flesh containing small soft edible seeds. The skin is thin and far too bitter and tannin rich for palatable raw consumption. Its flesh, though, when ripe, is bright, sweet-tart and piquant in flavor. Red tamarillo varieties have a naturally higher acid content than golden tamarillos.
Red tamarillos are available regionally in winter.
Red tamarillo, botanical name Cyphomandra betacea, AKA tree tomato, is the fruit of a fast growing herbaceous shrub and a member of the Solanaceae family which includes tomatoes, potatoes, eggplant, tobacco and pepper plants.
The singular applicable rule that can be applied to all tamarillos is that the skin should be removed before eating, which can be done by blanching and peeling or scoring and removing the skin with a kitchen peeler. Another simpler approach is to cut the fruit in half and scoop out its edible flesh. Riper fruits tend to be sweeter and more versatile when pairing with other ingredients. Primary recipes that the tamarillo is chosen for are deserts such as cakes and ice creams, fruit salads and green salads. Common usage of the whole fruit is in beverages where the fruit is blended with milk, sugar and ice. It can also be pureed and frozen or preserved into jam form.
Though tamarillos are unknown in the wild state, cultivated varieties are native to the Andes mountains of Peru. The tamarillo has been cultivated on Peruvian mountainsides since pre-Colombian times. It is grown on a small scale from Chile to Venezuela. On the Colombian and Ecuadorian uplands, it is found in every city from Bogotá to Quito. Regardless of its widespread cultivation throughout the subtropics, it is still considered a garden variety fruit and has yet to be heavily exploited on a commercial level. Tamarillo trees are generally propagated from seed and are self-compatible, requiring no pollination, though bee pollinated flowers improves fruit production. Fruits form from branches in clusters and prolific production occurs on trees year-round, thus fruits do not mature simultaneously and multiple harvests are required unless trees are pruned to prevent constant production. One single tree can produce an average of forty pounds of tamarillo per year. This does not guarantee consistent fruit quality or flavor and only through continued horticultural research can variables such as shape, color and sugar:acid ratios be improved.
Recipes that include Red Tamarillo. One is easiest, three is harder.
People have spotted Red Tamarillo using the Specialty Produce app for iPhone and Android.
Produce Spotting allows you to share your produce discoveries with your neighbors and the world! Is your market carrying green dragon apples? Is a chef doing things with shaved fennel that are out of this world? Pinpoint your location annonymously through the Specialty Produce App and let others know about unique flavors that are around them.
Santa Monica Farmers Market
Eric BrobergNear Santa Monica, California, United States
About 259 days ago, 8/10/16
Spotter's comments : Red Tamarillos spotted at Santa Monica Farmers Market.
Star Market Near Boston, Massachusetts, United States
About 675 days ago, 6/21/15