or "Tree Tomato" (Cyphomandra betacea; Solanaceae) is an egg-shaped fruit with
a thin skin and a soft flesh (when ripe) with dark-coloured seeds occupying about
one third of the interior.
fruit is held on the tree in clusters as are many other clustered fruit, such
as cherries. The trees are grown from cuttings and are very frost-tender when
young. They are shallow-rooted and respond to deep mulching and abundant water.
The tree can grow to a little more than 6 metres but it is subject to wind damage
and needs shelter. It will fruit from two years and a single mature tree in good
soil will carry more fruit than a normal family can eat for about 3 months. When
the tree is about 1 to 1.5 metres in height it is advisable to cut the roots on
one side and lean the tree to the (other) direction of the midday sun at about
30 to 45 degrees. This allows fruiting branches to grow from all along the trunk
rather than just at the top.
fruit is eaten by scooping the flesh from a halved fruit but, in New Zealand,
most children palpate the ripe fruit until it is soft then bite off the stem end
and squeeze the flesh directly into their mouth. The lightly sugared, cooled,
flesh makes a refreshing breakfast dish. They give a unique flavour when compoted
or added to stews and curries. They are tasty and decorative in fresh salads.
tamarillo is native to the Andes of Peru and, possibly, Chile, Ecuador and, likely,
Bolivia. It is cultivated in Argentina, Australia, Brazil, Colombia, the US and
Venezuela. It is grown as a commercial crop for international export in New Zealand.
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