It is always an exciting moment when you learn of a new edible plant you may not have known about before. The anticipation of what it tastes like, in addition to the new possibilities it opens up regarding new dishes and recipes you can now make. Or, simply the fact that you potentially have something new to eat if you’re on a strict diet, provided that this new food item is a healthy one.
And the subject of this post – the tamarillo – is fortunately a very versatile fruit. It can be eaten raw, or used to enhance any existing recipes you enjoy cooking up. And, best of all, it also has its own unique health benefits that make it a safe addition to your diet. So, let’s take a look at a brief history of the tamarillo as well as its health benefits and the myriad of ways it can be eaten, be it raw or cooked alongside an existing dish.
A Brief History of the Tamarillo
Tamarillos are small fruit that resemble highly oval-shaped eggs. Some regions even call it the “tree tomato” due to its resemblance to a common garden tomato in both looks as well as taste to some degree, while Indonesians call it the “Dutch Eggplant”. Tamarillos are native to Bolivia, the Andes mountain range of Ecuador, Chile, Columbia, Peru, and Argentina. However, today the tamarillo is grown in orchards around the world and is quite a popular fruit in some locales.
Tamarillos began to see export between countries along international trading channels during the 1990’s. The name tamarillo was decided by the New Zealand Tree Tomato Promotions Council in the year of 1967, in an effort to market it more effectively by distinguishing it from common tomatoes and increasing its exotic value. This fruit seems to prefer much higher elevations for growth, as witnessed by its farming operations in Philippines, Puerto Rico, and Malaysia, all of which grow tamarillos in elevated plains as the lowlands seem to produce much smaller fruit alongside poor yields.
Tamarillo Design and Taste
These egg-shaped fruits are quite small; with the largest specimens only ever growing to 10 centimeters in length. Their coloring can vary, with most staying within the spectrum of yellows, oranges, and reds, while others take on a more purple hue. Stripes across the body of the fruit can also be sometimes found. For a stronger and more acidic taste, you would want to eat the red tamarillos. Whereas the yellow and orange variants would be consumed for sweeter tastes.
The skin of the tamarillo fruit is quite bitter, and in most cases is discarded instead of being eaten. The flesh of the fruit inside however, is the main course. Tamarillos are eaten raw by scooping out the flesh after cutting open the fruit. Sometimes, the flesh of the tamarillo is lightly sprinkled with sugar, as that enhances the taste by quite a noticeable degree. In New Zealand, the flesh is even scooped out and spread on toast in some same cases.
For more prepared dishes, tamarillos can be served alongside quite a few. They can be added to curries, chutneys, and hollandaise to enhance their tastes, and can also be made into compotes if the center of attention needs to be the tamarillo itself. Tamarillos, being fruits, can also be added to some desserts. Tamarillos are sometimes added to Kombucha Tea for a tangier taste, and in some countries are blended with water and sugar to make juice. In Ecuador, tamarillos are blended with chili peppers to produce a hot sauce consumed alongside dishes. Tamarillos are also served alongside other fruit in some places, like Rwanda.
Health Benefits of Including Tamarillos in Your Diet
Tamarillos can be quite the healthy fruits to include in your diet plan. Be it raw or cooked, a tamarillo can hold its own weight when compared to other more popular fruits for dietary planning. Let’s take a look at the biggest advantages of eating tamarillos regularly.
Tamarillos Are Packed with Vitamins: Tamarillos, especially considering how small they are, are absolutely packed to the brim with vitamins. Vitamins A, C, E, Pro-Vitamin A, niacin, thiamine, riboflavin, you name it and the tamarillo has got it. It also has a healthy dosing of proteins, while being quite low on the calories front with only an approximate 40 calories per fruit. It is also a good source of iron, alongside a few other necessary minerals.
Tamarillos Improve Your Skin: Given that tamarillos are packed with so many beneficial nutrients, don’t be surprised if you start to notice your skin looking a bit better after you start eating tamarillos. Alongside the vitamins listed above, tamarillos also come with anthocyanin, phenols, and flavonoids, all of which help your skin look its best against environmental detractors. Much like tomatoes, tamarillos can be used in multiple skin remedies, while tasting much better than their counterparts.
Keep Your Heart Healthy and Your Blood Pressure in Check: Tamarillos tackle heart problems and possible complications with a multitude of different methods. Magnesium intake from the tamarillos helps regulate proper cardiovascular functioning. Potassium fights harmful levels of sodium in your heart. A healthy dosing of fiber also helps with cholesterol, and antioxidants reduce the risk of stroke. All of these benefits, including the multiple minerals it comes with, also help in keeping your blood pressure within the normal range.
Helps with Diabetes and Weight Loss: Chlorogenic acid in the tamarillo fruit aids in lowering blood sugar levels, and thus combating Type-II Diabetes. Furthermore, the acidic properties of tamarillos actually help with burning excess fat, and consumption of tamarillos has been noted to improve the body’s metabolic rate. So you can add tamarillos to your weight loss plan without hesitation.
Helps the Digestive System: Tamarillos also contain a healthy dosing of fiber. Regular consumption of tamarillos will lead to a very noticeable improvement in your body’s digestion, as well as severely reducing cases of diarrhea. In fact, senior citizens with digestive problems are often encouraged to include tamarillos in their diets for a quick and safe solution to their issues.
Tamarillos are quite delicious when prepared right, and come with a bunch of very welcome benefits. Hopefully, this brief look at this fruit was more than enough to help you decide whether or not tamarillos are worth adding to your diet. There aren’t any downsides to tamarillos, and their calorie count is exceptionally low, so we don’t see any reason not to add them to your diet plan.
With fruits and vegetables similar to tamarillos; good in taste and packed with beneficial stuff, your diet plan can be a very healthy and very effective one. It doesn’t hurt of course, that many of these fruits and vegetables can be cooked up in delicious dishes. Plan your dietary plan right, with some strong research, and you will soon have an amazing diet plan that will do you wonders.