Tamarillo originates from the mountainous area of Peru. From here the cultivation of these has spread along the Andes Mountains to neighbouring countries. The Tamarillos in the pictures on this page are from Colombia.
The Tamarillo belongs to the same botanical family as physalis and tomatoes. A Tamarillo is actually ½ fruit and ½ vegetable. It can either be eaten fresh or coked. Mature fruits are either yellow or red/brownish. It is important to remember not to eat green tamarillo – like tomatoes they are poisonous. Inside the Tamarillo is divided in 2 chambers each containing the juice and pits. The outer skin is quite bitter and should not be eaten. The meat and juice inside is very tasteful and sweet.
Tamarillos can be used as both a fruit and a vegetable. As a fruit it is suitable for use in fruit salads. Taste wise it harmonizes very well with kiwi. Tamarillo can also be eaten fresh with a spoon or with cheese or sausages. Very mature fruits can be used to make marmalades, jell, desserts and decoration on ice cream desserts. The fresh fruit can be seasoned with sugar and lime to enhance the splendid flavour. As a vegetable it can be used as a replacement for tomatoes. It can be used as pure or chopped in sauces or stews. It can be used in ½ baked in the oven with basil or even salted and grilled.
Tamarillos are always harvested mature, since they can not after ripen. This means that the fruits received in Europe are ready to eat. Tamarillo should be kept in a plastic bag, chilled at 8-10 degrees. Shelf life is 10-14 days. If kept at room temperature the shelf life is 3-5 days. Tamarillo is not suitable for freezing.