The tamarillo, (Cyphomandra belacea sendt), sometimes called Tree Tomato, is a relative to both the tomato and the potato. Originally from South America, now it is found in warm subtropical climates. Places that grow tamarillos include South and Central America, the Caribbean, Asia, and New Zealand.
Tamarillos grow on a small bush that produces large, green, heart shaped leaves. Approximately the same size and shape of a medium sized egg, the tamarillo can range in colors from red, purple, amber or yellow. Sometimes it is best to wear gloves since the red colored skin may come off on your fingers and stain. The skin is tough and bitter, and should be removed.
Flesh colors range from red, orange, yellow or cream. It is quite flavorful. The flesh has a texture similar to aspic. The tamarillo contains several seeds inside. They are nearly flat. The flesh around the seeds is tinted purple.
The tamarillo can be eaten fresh, or cooked. It can be prepared in both sweet and savory dishes. They have a sweet-tart taste. They are considered a fruit, but commonly used like a vegetable. Both sweet and savory dishes require the use of sugar, though, to help with the acidity. Commonly, tree tomatoes are used for jams and chutneys.
Tamarillos are in season from May through October. They ripen well at room temperature. Tamarillos contain both vitamins A and C.
Flavors that can be used with Tamarillos