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Tamarillo: properties, cultivation, origin and how to eat. All information about the plant, seeds and berries.
Thetamarilloit is a plant native to Peru that produces berries with a diameter of about 5 cm and a taste that vaguely recalls that of melon.
Tamarillo, the plant
Thetamarillo(given the South American origins, the name of this plant readstamariglio), botanically known asCyphomandra betacea, it's aplantbelonging to the Solanaceae family. It is often nicknamed astree tomatobecause its berries resemble berry tomatoesOval, due to its origin, it is often calledtropical tomato.
It's aplantbushy and evergreen, it grows about 3 meters in height with large and elongated leaves. In its natural habitat, the plant can reach 5 meters and has a life expectancy of 12 years. Since it is an evergreen plant, often hiscultivationit is for ornamental purposes. The fruit is oval and pointed at the apex and is eaten for its juicy flavor pulpsourbut tasty.
Thetamarillois originally fromAndes of Ecuador, Colombia, Peru, Chile and Bolivia. Cultivations of this plant are started in South Africa, China, Australia and India: this plant does not tolerate the cold.
Therecultivation of the tamarilloit is also possible in Italy: the plant grows well in the Mediterranean climate but only in areas with constant mild temperatures all year round, that is, in southern Italy and in the center-south.
How to know if you can start a Tamarillo cultivation? If citrus fruits can thrive in your garden even in the middle of winter, it means that the climate is mild enough to host a tamarillo plant! Plant it in a sunny position, with good fertility and well-drained soil.
The distance to be respected between the individual plants is 1.5 meters while between the rows is 4.5 meters. Plants are sensitive to drought stress so mulching is recommended.
Tamarillo, fruits and seeds
The plant is grown for ornamental purposes but also for its fruits. The fruits, in our country, reach a diameter of 5 cm but in the areas of origin they can even reach 10 cm! They have a hard skin and a pulp that turns from yellow-orange to red, sometimes almost purple. The tamarillo with red skin it is more acidic while the varieties with yellow or orange skin are sweeter.
The pulp has a compact consistency and contains small seeds, slightly larger than those of the classic tomato. You can buy thetamarillo seedsat the most well-stocked nurseries or by taking advantage of online sales. It's easy to find tamarillo seeds on Amazon.
Useful links: Tamarillo Seed Packet (Cyphomandra betacea) - 100 seeds
It is much more difficult to start cultivate the tamarillo from the plant because it is not easy to find an adult individual to plant. Despite this, before starting cultivation from the seed, know that you will need a lot of patience: from germination to the first harvest of the plant, at least 4 years will pass. The plant produces fruit only when adult.
Tamarillo, nutritional and beneficial properties
The fruit would seem rich in nutritional and beneficial properties. Berries are high in vitamins and iron and are low in calories. Each 100 grams of edible portion contains 40 calories, a low intake for one fruit. Among the other nutrients we see a water content ranging from 81 - 87 g, proteins ranging from 1.5 to 2.5 grams. Fats are very few, only 0.05 grams and up to 6 grams of fiber. What is most striking, among thepropertynutritionaltamarilliis the contribution of micronutrients:
- From 0.32 to 1.48 mg of Vitamin A
- From 19.7 - 57.8 mg of Vitamin C
- From 3.9 to 11.3 mg of Calcium
- 19.7 to 22.3 mg of Magnesium
- From 0.4 to 0.94 mg of Iron
The values fluctuate according to the plant and the level of ripeness of the fruit.
If you are fascinated by South American cuisine, you can try the original local recipes:
- Original Hallaquitas recipe
- How to make Arepas