Tamarillo: Exotic Tree Tomato

A strangely beautiful, glossy red egg-shaped fruit sits before you. It looks familiar, like a tomato, only different. Meet the Tamarillo, also known as the Tree Tomato. Well known in the Southern Hemisphere, this unique fruit is now in season and making appearances in U.S. supermarkets and culinary establishments.

Native to the Andes and a favorite in South America, Tamarillos are also cultivated in New Zealand and exported to the United States. Available in both red and gold colors, this uniquely delicious and versatile fruit can be enjoyed in both sweet and savory preparations.

When you slice open a fresh Tamarillo, you will instantly be reminded of a tomato, with its gelatinous red pulp and seeds. But the fragrance and flavor of the Tamarillo is quite a bit different! Rich, sweet, tangy and even a little bit meaty with fragrant tropical notes, some people compare the Tamarillo to Kiwifruit or Passion Fruit, only less sweet. (The Gold Tamarillo has a slightly mellower, less acidic taste than its red-skinned counterpart.)

Tamarillos can be eaten fresh or cooked in a variety of ways. Slice lengthwise and scoop out the flesh, pulp and edible seeds with a spoon. (Avoid the thin skin, however, which can be quite bitter.) Once peeled, Tamarillos puree easily for quick sauces, chutneys, jellies and jams. Sweeten if you like, with honey or sugar for desserts; or leave as-is for a savory topper for lamb or pork roasts.

To remove the skin, pour boiling water over the fruit and let sit for 3 to 4 minutes. Then drain, rinse with cold water and peel. To store Tamarillos, refrigerate for up to two weeks, or keep in your fruit bowl for about one week. They can easily be frozen – either whole (remove the skins first) or pureed.

Stop by your favorite supermarket to taste a Tamarillo for yourself, or shop online at www.friedas.com

Tamarillo Ice Cream Parfaits
6 Frieda’s Red or Yellow Tamarillos, peeled
2 Tbsp. orange juice
1/2 cup sugar 1 tsp.
grated orange peel
1 quart vanilla or peach ice cream

To peel Tamarillos, pour boiling water over fruit; remove skins and stems. Chop fruit; place in blender or food processor. Add orange juice, sugar, and orange peel. Cover and process until pureed. Scoop ice cream into serving dishes; spoon sauce over ice cream. (Sauce is also excellent on pancakes and waffles.). To store remaining sauce, cover and refrigerate up to one week. Makes 21/2 cups sauce.