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Articles - Gourmet Pleasures:

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Preparing and eating tamarillos

Tamarillos are sometimes called tree tomatoes, but from a botanical point of view they’re berries rather than vegetables. They taste sweet, but slightly tart, and are usually eaten raw – by halving the fruit and spooning out the flesh. Avoid eating the skin, which tastes bitter. You could also use tamarillos to add an exotic component to fruit salads, or in sorbets, or decoratively on a cheese board. Tamarillos taste delicious in jams, chutneys, soups and sauces. You can make a delicious starter by halving tamarillos, sprinkling them with grated parmesan, putting them briefly under the grill and serving them with a green salad. Tamarillos add a distinctive note to cocktails and milkshakes. Or braise them like tomatoes and serve them as a side dish for meat and fish.

Origin, appearance and health benefits

The tamarillo’s skin is very bitter, remove it the way you’d remove peach skin, by dropping the tamarillo into boiling water for a couple of minutes and then peeling off the skin with a sharp knife.

The tamarillo (Solanum betaceum) is a member of the deadly nightshade family. The ordinary tomato is too, but the two plants are not closely related. The tree tomato is thought to have originated in the Andes of Peru. It grows from tow to seven metres high with an umbrella-shaped crown. The egg-shaped fruit hang in small clusters on long stalks. The skin is smooth, the flesh is soft and the seeds are edible. Depending on how ripe it is, the tamarillo is yellow, orange or red and it darker stripes are completely normal. Tamarillos contain important nutrients such as potassium, magnesium, iron and phosphorus and vitamins A, B6, C and E.

Buying, quality and storage

Tamarillos are available all year round in well-stocked shops. Ripe fruit feel slightly soft when pressed lightly. Tamarillos will keep for one to two weeks in the vegetable drawer of your fridge.

Source: Heike Kreutz, www.aid.de