The tamarillo, also known as tree tomato, is a delicious tropical fruit. It is also very similar to the common tomato and provides us with very beneficial nutrients for our health.
What is tamarillo?
The tamarillo (Solanum betaceum) is a tropical fruit that is also known as a tree tomato because of its resemblance to the common tomato. Also, it is known as French tomato or Kyphomandra.
In addition, it belongs to the Solanaceae family like the tomato.
They are formed in two halves and have a tough, shiny skin. The color of the skin depends on the variety, but it may be purple, ruby red, orange, or yellow. Also, it likely has longitudinal markings.
Its skin is not usually eaten and its pulp is very juicy. Many edible seeds are concentrated in the central part of its pulp.
The reddish-skinned varieties have a strong acid taste. On the other hand, the yellow varieties are sweeter, but less tasty.
The color of the pulp also depends on the variety: they present colors such as purple, deep red or yellow.
In addition, it is a semi-acid fruit such as strawberry , guava , peach or nectarine . Semi-acidic fruits are characterized by having acids that are less strong on average and simpler than acidic ones.
Origin of the tamarillo
The tamarillo (Solanum betaceum) comes from South America , probably from the Andes region. More specifically, from Chile, Ecuador and Bolivia.
It is currently grown locally in other South American countries, highlighting Brazil and Colombia. As producing countries, Colombia, Brazil, New Zealand, Kenya, South Africa, California, India and Sri Lanka stand out.
As we have already mentioned, it belongs to the Solanaceae family like tomatoes and potatoes. Consequently, its cultivation is similar to that of other fruits and vegetables of this same family.
The tomato tree lives for a relatively short time , approximately 5 to 12 years. It grows to 2 to 5 meters, with large leaves.
It grows naturally in hot climates. However, you are likely to see them grow also in temperate regions with due protection.
The natural shape of the fruit is small, although larger and more flavorful varieties are more common today. Two different colors are differentiated: red or yellow.
In regions with a tropical climate, these fruits are obtained throughout the year . In other climates, the tree tomato is harvested in autumn.
Therefore, the tamarillo season in Spain we can say that it begins in November and ends in March.
You can check the calendar of the fruit season to be able to consume these foods at their most optimal moment. In addition, when they are in season they provide us with more benefits for our health, they have a better aroma and are tastier , among other advantages.
In these fruits we can distinguish the following varieties:
Its skin and pulp are orange in color and its flesh is not as acidic as that of the red varieties. Its fruits are of very good quality.
It is a new crop from New Zealand. Its fruits are large, with yellow flesh and skin. They are of good quality and their taste is sweet.
In this variety, its fruits are red, large and of good quality. They can be used for cooking or raw.
When they mature, they are sweeter than the rest of the varieties.
It stands out for being a vigorous tree with red, large and sweet fruits. Its seeds are dark red. They can be eaten raw and have a good production.
This variety stands out for its large fruits, with reddish skin with an intense flavor. They are ideal for cooking. In addition, they can be left to mature 2 or 3 weeks after being harvested so that they lose acidity.
Its fruits are large, orange in color, with a soft and sweet pulp. They are ideal to eat them raw or cooked.
How to buy tamarillos?
As in other fruits, we must pay special attention to its external appearance.
It is important that before eating them they are ripe. It is known if the outer part gives a little light pressure. In addition, you must pay attention that it is not damaged externally and that its skin is smooth and shiny.
These types of fruits are very sensitive to shocks. Therefore, special care must be taken with its conservation.
We can keep it at home in the refrigerator to extend its conservation. Also, we can keep it at room temperature to accelerate its maturation.
In addition, we can also freeze it , although this process can slightly alter its flavor. Once thawed, it is ideal to use to make ice cream recipes, smoothies or other desserts.
How do you eat tamarillo?
Although they are not well known in some countries, tamarillos (Solanum betaceum) are very versatile in the kitchen.
They can be eaten as a fruit or vegetable and are added to sauces, soups, stews, chili dishes, etc. They are delicious toasted and with a garlic coating.
They are also used in the production of jams, jellies and juices. In addition, they can be eaten fresh. Its pulp can be cut to be used like tomato in sandwiches, salads and other recipes.
In Peru, it is popular to make an aperitif by grilling the meat and mixing it with green peppers, salt, and pepper.
The fruit can be processed and preserved in jars. Also, we can puree and freeze it.
The stored fruit tends to oxidize and turn brown , but it is still edible.
To remove the skin in a simple way, the fruits are boiled and left to rest for 5 minutes. This is much easier.
These foods have nutritional properties that make it very interesting for our health.
Practically, it does not provide us with fat and like other types of fruits, 80% of its composition is water . Therefore, it is recommended for weight loss diets.
Vitamins such as C, B6 or pyridoxine and A stand out for their antioxidant action, among others.
Among its minerals, calcium stands out with a very important role in bone health. Also, iron, which is essential in the prevention of anemia. And sodium involved in the proper functioning of muscles and nerves.
Also, we can highlight the amount of fiber , ideal for heart health. In addition, it is favorable for regulating cholesterol and blood sugar levels.
Average nutritional value per 100 grams of tamarillo
|Total fat||0,36 g|
|Dietary fiber||3,3 g|
|Vitamin A||189,2 µg|
|C vitamin||29,8 mg|
The tree tomato is a tropical fruit with a very complete nutritional composition that is recommended for the whole family.
Among the benefits it brings us, we can distinguish the following:
1. Favorable for a healthy heart
As the following research shows, this food provides us with interesting amounts of soluble fiber, protein, starch, anthocyanins and carotenoids. 
Therefore, and thanks to these substances, it can be beneficial for the health of our heart.
Additionally, carotenoids are especially beneficial for cardiovascular health, as this study shows. Consequently, it also helps reduce the risk of coronary heart disease. 
2. Favorable to help regulate hypertension
As this research from the Swedish University of Agricultural Sciences indicates, these foods provide nearly 400 mg of potassium per 100 mg. 
As a result, a diet rich in potassium can help reduce high blood pressure.
3. Antioxidant food
Its contribution of vitamin C and A, among other antioxidant substances, stands out. As a result, it helps us fight free radicals that accumulate in our body.
Likewise, the antioxidant compounds in these fruits have traditionally been used in traditional medicine. That is why in Latin American countries it is used as a remedy for a sore throat or to relieve cold symptoms.
4. Beneficial for eye health
This fruit is rich in vitamin A that helps maintain healthy vision. The deficiency of this vitamin can cause deficiency in our eyesight. 
Therefore, it is recommended to consume fruits and vegetables that contain this beta-carotene. It is also a very antioxidant substance.
Likewise, it has been shown in different studies that beta-carotene is favorable to combat age-related macular degeneration. 
5. Helps fight anemia
Due to its contribution of vitamin C, it helps our body in a correct absition of iron. As a result, it is ideal for preventing anemia or helping you recover from its effects. It is also ideal for women who suffer from heavy menstruation.
6. Intestinal regulator
Thanks to its contribution in soluble fiber, it helps prevent occasional constipation and improve intestinal transit.
These foods provide us with properties with different benefits for our health. In addition, they are fruits with a high content of vitamins and minerals with antioxidant properties.
Likewise, we can highlight its content in other nutrients necessary to maintain a healthy diet. Therefore, the tamarillo is a highly recommended tropical fruit.