Saturday, April 15, 2006

1st Random Post - The Tamarillo

You say "Tomaito" I say "Tamarillo". So what exactly is a Tamarillo? The tamarillo, also known as the tree tomato, is an unusual, exotic, subtropical fruit and is native to South America, specifically Bolivia, Chile, Ecuador, and Peru.

Ever since I can remember, before I became an ABC in the land of OZ, I remember this sour, sweet, salty, slightly bitter fruit. I used to run around my relatives farm lands in Cameron Highlands (Malaysia) and pick at my aunty's Tamarillo tree. Now I have one in my very own backyard. The only name I knew to call it at the time was "Oi Qing Guo" meaning Love Fruit. Maybe because it embodies all the emotions of "Love" hence its Chinese name (I'm not so sure about the emotion 'salty' though).

Anyways, the Tamarillo fruit has an oval shape and an outer skin that is either red or purple toned, or yellow or orange toned. Additionally, the red or purple toned tamarillo fruit contains an inner flesh that is black while the yellow or orange tamarillo fruit contains an orange colored inner flesh. Although both types of tamarillos contain edible seeds, the flavor of the flesh within the two types varies considerably. Red or purple toned tamarillos have a more tart taste than their yellow or orange toned counterparts. Because of this, the red or purple toned tamarillos are more frequently used as a vegetable than as a fruit. It is also important to note that on both types of tamarillos, the skin should not be eaten and should be removed prior to using the fruit (Source).

I have discovered that the Tamarillo can be used in a variety of recipes. Instead of just scooping it out and eating it with a bit of salt or sugar to remove the tart taste, this fruit can be used in sauces, desserts, salads or any other dish to add an extra zing to it. For those of you who are curious to try this fruit, I recall Safeway selling it and should be in season now from April through to December.
For recipes, try:

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