13 Facts About The Tamarillo Worth Knowing

1.The tamarillo fruit is the fruit of a subtropical shrub, native to Central and South America. It is said to be one of the lost food of the Incas.


2. Tamarillos are grown as a commercial crop in New Zealand, Ecuador and Colombia.

3. Tamarillos were first introduced in the United States by the USDA from seeds the agency acquired in 1913 and 1926, first planted at a facilty in California. Today, tamarillos are still grown on a smaller scale in California and some areas in Florida.

4. Up until 1967, it was known as the “tree tomato.” The name was changed by the Tree Tomato Promotions Council in New Zealand to avoid confusion between the tamarillo and the common garden tomato. The new name has since been used widely.

Credit: Guiliano Griffante / flickr.com

Credit: Guiliano Griffante / flickr.com

5. The tamarillo’s name is said to be derived from the Maori word tama, meaning leadership, and rillo from the Spanish word for yellow, “amarillo.”

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6. Its other, non-English names include: tomate de arbol, arvore do tomate, tomate granadilla, tomate cimarron, and caxlan pix.

7. The tamarillo is said to be related to tomatoes, eggplants, capsicums and even potatoes.

8. It’s shaped like a football and is usually around 2 to 4 inches long, about the size of an egg. Fruit colors are either red, yellow, or orange. The yellow and orange ones are much sweeter compared to the red, which is slightly sour. The flesh is firm and at the fruit’s core is a pulp with seeds.

9. Tamarillos maybe used both as a fruit and vegetable. Just be sure not to eat the skin because it can be quite tough.

10. Eat the tamarillo raw. Simply cut open the fruit and scoop out the flesh and pulp. Or remove the skin and eat the fruit whole. It may also be used as a substitute for tomatoes in salads and sandwiches.

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11. You can cook it. Make home-made jam, marmalade and chutney out of tamarillo fruit. Tamarillo chutney is a commercial product of New Zealand and is exported to other countries. The fruit may also be used in desserts and baked goods, such as cakes and muffins.

12. Pureed tamarillo may be used in marinades, sauces, drinks and smoothies.

13. Nutrition-wise, tamarillos contain Vitamin C, A and some B-complex vitamins. The fruit also contains fiber, lycopene and other carotenes, as well potassium and other essential minerals.