Tamarillos (Cyphomandra betacea) are generally fairly easy to grow. However, they can be very susceptible to frosts, and also cold winds. They are a self fertile fruit that will reward you with mountains of fruit if planted in the right spot. Tamarillo’s contains good quantities of Vitamin A, B1 and are an excellent source of Vitamin C and E. They are rich in iron and potassium and are a good source of fibre, low in calories and are cholesterol free. A bit of a super food some may say.
Tango – a relatively new sweeter variety.
Bold Gold – a tasty yellow skinned variety
Ted’s Red – an old faithful variety with red fruit and skin
When, where and how to plant:
Plant in fertile well-drained soil. In a sunny position away, from strong winds when trees are young. Look for a site in full sun or partial shade, out of any cold winds and frosts. The soil should be light and fertile with plenty of organic matter. Don't dig too much around the plant once it is established, as they tend to be very shallow-rooted. Plant 1m apart if you are planting a few, young trees may need staking.
Mulching and supplementary water in summer is essential in dry areas. Tamarillos need good drainage, but they are also sensitive to drought. If you have a wet soil plant on raised mounds to improve drainage. Lack of water limits plant growth, fruit size and yields. Tamarillos are fairly pest and disease resistant, although they can be attacked by aphids, powdery mildew. They are usually fairly short-lived plants often needing to be replaced after 5 years or so.
Tamarillos are heavy feeders. Apply a complete NPK fertiliser to mature trees before spring pruning, one month later and again in February as fruit is developing.
Remove central growing tip once plant has reached 1m high to encourage side branching. This is important as your plant will grow too tall and either fall over or worst of all you can not reach the fruit. Frosts will naturally prune your tree. After frosts, remove old and dead wood. Always remember fruit is formed on the new spring growth therefore, a hard prune will maintain desired shape, size and maximise next seasons fruit.
When fruit changes to bright red colour in autumn – early winter depending on where you live. You will know when your Tamarillos are ripening as you will notice wind falls on the ground.
How to use:
Use in crumbles and pies as desserts or try jams and chutneys.
For comprehensive information visit http://www.tamarillo.com/
2kg Tamarillos peeled and quartered
1kg onions peeled and chopped
1kg apples, peeled, cored and sliced
1kg soft brown sugar
1kg white sugar
1.5 teaspoons each salt and white pepper
50g pickling spice wrapped in gauze
1.2 litres white wine vinegar
Put all ingredients in a large pot, bring to the boil and simmer, uncovered for 2 hours until the mixture is thick. Cool, remove spice bag and put into sterilised jars and seal.
Recipe courtesy of www.foodlovers.co.nz