Grow it; Eat it; Tasty Tamarillos

Following on from my previous discussion about Tamarillo trees, I thought I’d share a few ideas for using the Tamarillo fruit. I, personally, want as many Tamarillos as I can get my hands on in the jam pot, so don’t look for other uses much now. I can’t imagine buying Tamarillos at the fruit shop just to eat raw, but I think everyone should at least try them.

I once had a red Tamarillo tree (in a past garden life) and currently have a yellow (or gold) one. The fruit of the yellow Tamarillo is a little sweeter when ripe then the red one, though sweetness seems to differ from tree to tree and fruit to fruit.

Yellow Tamarillos harvested March 2013

Yellow Tamarillos harvested March 2013

The Tamarillo is a relative of the tomato (nightshade/potato family) and has something of a tomato taste, but with a good shot of passionfruit flavour added. A ripe Tamarillo is succulent and fragrant, though the taste is one that some find hard to acquire.

It can be eaten straight from the tree. Simply, scoop the fruit out with a spoon or peel, as the skin is quite leathery and bitter (Sounds like me on a bad day). Enjoy, with or without added sugar. Put it on your toast or even slice on a sandwich or wrap instead of tomato.

You can cut Tamarillos in half and grill them on the barbeque; add them to pizzas, salads, stir fries and casseroles or to kebabs sticks.

There are a lot more ideas and recipes (four pages actually) at Te Oranga Tamarillos (a New Zealand site). I made the simple Tamarillo Chutney recipe from this site:

Tamarillo Chutney

(I have added my notes as the recipe was a little short on details, experienced cooks will follow their normal preserving procedures, of course)

Tamarillo Chutney

Tamarillo Chutney

Should make approx 4 1/2 cups (I made a small batch, just to try it out – 8 tamarillos which made 1 1/2 cups).

24 peeled and sliced Tamarillos
6 apples
6 onions
4 1/2 cups brown sugar
1 1/2 teaspoons allspice (the original recipe stated mixed allspice. I went with ground allspice – pimentos)
1 teaspoon cayenne pepper
1 1/2 teaspoons salt
1 1/2 cups vinegar (whichever you prefer. I used malt vinegar)

Tamarillo Chutney ingredients

Tamarillo Chutney ingredients

  1. Place chopped Tamarillos, onions and apples in a heavy based saucepan. Mix in other ingredients and boil for approx one hour, until the chutney appears thick.
  2. Run a wooden spoon across the top of the chutney, making a channel. The channel should remain for a few seconds when it is ready.
  3. Bottle in warm sterilised jars and seal tightly with lid.

Tips and Tricks:

It is easy to remove skins from Tamarillos if you pop them in boiling water for a few seconds (the same as you would for skinning tomatoes). If they have their stems still attached, it is easy to get them out, but tongs work, too.

Skin by putting in boiling water for a few secs

Skin by putting in boiling water for a few secs

Then simply peel by putting a small slit in the skin with a paring knife (my hubby tells me I can only use those for pears) and the skin will easily lift away.

Peeling Tamarillo

Peeling Tamarillo

As the chutney cools, you should hear a distinct pop as the jar seals. If, once the chutney is cool, the lid clicks when you press it, you have not achieved a proper seal. It will be best to put that one in the fridge and consume it first.

If you don’t have enough brown sugar (this happened to me), you can substitute white sugar (though the colour of the chutney will be lighter) or you can add 1 tablespoon of molasses (preferable black strap – the chutney doesn’t care, but it is better for you) to each cup of granulated sugar (I used raw sugar). Stir thoroughly to mix.

Mix sugar and molasses as substitute for brown sugar

Mix sugar and molasses as substitute for brown sugar

Store the sealed bottles in a cool, dry, dark area.

Most chutneys need to be left for at least three months before eating so the flavours can mellow and improve. Eating immediately isn’t recommended as the vinegar will still be overpowering. I have no idea how to tell whether this chutney needs to be set aside or not, so I’ll err on the side of yum and wait.

Worth the wait?: see the update
Well, that’s it for all the other uses of Tamarillos. Next post will be my new favourite jam recipe.


6 thoughts on “Grow it; Eat it; Tasty Tamarillos

  1. I was reminded today that it had been three months since I made my chutney. I did the right thing and waited for the flavours to mellow. The result is a definite success!

  2. Pingback: Update on Tamarillo Chutney made in March | BetR2

    • I don’t know of any use for green tamarillos, sorry godfrey. I lose a good deal due to windfall, especially when the plants are immature, but haven’t tried to use them as yet.

    • I don’t think Tamarillos will ripen on their own, but you can put them in a bag with some apples and might have some success. I haven’t tried this, but know someone who said some, though not all, of their green fruit ripened this way. Best of luck with it, godfrey. Let us know how you get on.

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