July 7, 2008

Silly Su and her Tamarillos

Silly Su took a big brave bite into this funky tomato-like fruit.
Silly Su cringes.. eyes squinted.. oh god.. it's sour; bitter....eergh..
wait a minute.
It's getting better... the tartness is turning pleasingly sweet..
She hits a seed.
"What do I do with this? Swallow? as in 'passionfruit seed' or spit; as in cherry pit?"
I'm going to go with swallow... as in other yummy sour passionfruits and figs.
it really isn't too bad!
Kay... now to figure out what it is exactly I ate.
Where it comes from...and if it's possible to avoid that initial bitter taste as my teeth sinks in.

**[ tam-uh-RIHL-oh; tam-uh-REE-oh ]-

Prior to 1967, the tamarillo was known as the "tree tomato", but a new name was chosen by the New Zealand Tree Tomato Promotions Council in order to distinguish it from the ordinary garden tomato and increase its exotic appeal. The choice is variously explained by similarity to the word "tomato", the Spanish word "amarillo", meaning yellow,and a variation on the Maori word "tama", for "leadership".
Native to South America, this egg-shaped fruit is also known as a tree tomato. Although not yet widely accepted in the United States, the tamarillo is very popular in South and Central America, the Caribbean, and parts of Asia, New Zealand (from where most of the fruit in the United States is imported) and Australia. The tamarillo has a tough, bitter skin that can be various glossy shades of red, purple, amber or yellow. The tart but very flavorful golden pink flesh is purple-tinged around the seeds. Tamarillos are available from May through October in specialty produce stores and some supermarkets. Choose firm, blemish-free fruit that's heavy for its size. When ripe, tamarillos should be fragrant and should yield slightly to palm pressure. They can be ripened at room temperature. Once ripe, they should be refrigerated, tightly wrapped in a plastic bag, up to 10 days. Tamarillos are a good source of vitamins A and C. Tamarillos can be eaten fresh or cooked, and are used for both sweet and savory dishes. One requisite, however, is sugar, which reduces the fruit's natural tartness and enhances its flavor.
Sugar! Ah hah!

The flesh of the tamarillo is tangy and mildly sweet, and may be compared to kiwifruit, tomato, or passionfruit. The skin and the flesh near it have an unpleasant bitter taste, and usually aren't eaten raw.
*tsktsk*...silly silly Su; tamarillo's aren't supposed to be eaten raw! However; I've read somewhere that...

The fruit is eaten by scooping the flesh from a halved fruit, but in New Zealand children palpate the ripe fruit until it is soft then bite off the stem end and squeeze the flesh directly into their mouths. When lightly sugared and cooled, the flesh makes a refreshing breakfast dish. In addition, they give a unique flavor when compoted or added to stews (such as Boeuf Bourguignon), hollandaise, chutneys, and curries. They are also tasty and decorative in, for example, radicchio salads. Appetizing desserts using this fruit include bavarois and combined with apples in a strudel. In Colombia and Ecuador, fresh tamarillos are frequently blended together with water and sugar to make a juice. It is also available as a commercially pasteurized purée.

I'm not sure if it'll make a good juice though. It will probably need a fair amount of sugar for it to be tolerable.
Here's what I attempted to do.

1 cup brown sugar
3 cups warm water
1/2 stick cinnamon
2 tamarillos sliced in 1/2

Place first 3 ingredients in a small deep pan. Place on low heat and warm up gently till sugar is dissolved. Drop in the tamarillos and bring to a gentle simmer. Should take 5-6 minutes. Spoon out from pan, shake off excess liquid and slide off skin.
I sweetened the deal with a tiny dollop of cool creamy vanilla ice cream.


Selba said...

I love Tamarillo juice.

Here in Indonesia (we called it "Terong Belanda"), we usually mixed it with passion fruit juice or just drink it with sugar.

Shaza Shamsuddin said...

Su.. is that buah cinta we called it here in Malaysia? Look like it. We have it a lot in Cameron Highlands. :)

Su-Yin -Décorateur said...

Hi guys; thanks for the comments.
However; there is need for a written apology here.
I recieved a string of maybe 6 comments this morning with amazing new discoveries and experiences with tamarillos from New Zealanders; Indonesians and Australians. When I attempted to publish them; blogger.com had responded with an error and the comments are now lost in cyberspace :(.
i'm not certain if it was my internet connection or server errors; but I'm so sorry guys if your comment had not been published . Feel free to write another and I would like to say thanks again for the informative responses.

Anonymous said...

Su Yin, you can juice them, it tasted great. In Indonesia we made into syrup, core them, blender, cook with a lot of sugar. or we mix with passion fruit and make them into syrup. Add water and ice whenever you feel like drinking something refreshing.

I also like to scoop the flesh out in a bowl then crush with spoon and add sugar.

It is cheap in Indonesia, expensive in Sydney: $2 each, I haven't seen tamarillo in NY.

Anonymous said...

Hi, Su...

You can also combine the Tamarillo juice with guava juice & passion fruit syrup. It makes a nice 3 colourful layers.
Just don't forget to add lots of water while blend the Tamarillos.

Have fun...:)

Su-Yin -Décorateur said...

Oh my!!! so many excellent new ideas! I can definitely see tamarillos being made as a juice.

Cookie said...

Ahh this one hit really close to home, I grew up in New Zealand and have only recently moved to America a year ago. Because my cooking fascination just flourished I had never bothered to find out what those odd looking fruits at the markets in New Zealand were but now I know, thanks =]

William Leigh said...

I just poached them with cinnamon and a vanilla pod, sugar and water, then served them with panna cotta. So good...