Feature Foreign Fruit: Tomate de Arbol
It’s been awhile since I’ve blogged about any interesting fruit I’ve encountered while in Venezuela. It’s not that I’ve tried them all–after being in country now for almost 1.5 years–but rather it’s because I’ve been going to the farmers’ markets less frequently of late and the markets have the best and widest selection of local fruit. Instead, I’ve been going to the grocery stores close to our apartment which, although convenient, have a pretty limited fruit selection. But, today at the store, I did find a fruit that I hadn’t blogged about and that I recalled trying (but disliking) while in Ecuador…so I thought I’d give it another try.
So, today, I’m writing about the tomate de arbol–translated to English as tree tomato and also known as tamarillo. As its name would suggest, it does have many characteristics of a regular vine tomato. On the outside it’s reddish orange with a smooth, waxy-feeling skin, like a tomato’s skin but significantly thicker. On the inside, it appears almost exactly like a regular tomato with gelatinous flesh organized into sections and filled with flat, round seeds. The main difference is the color: the flesh is orange with blood-red/scarlet seeds. It’s actually quite a beautiful fruit.
I wish I could rave as much about its taste as its look! It’s only mildly sweet and it’s a bit tart, like a kiwi is tangy. The actual flavor, though, to me is a mixture of tomato and cantaloupe. A very unusual combination on my palate. You can eat the fruit by breaking/cutting it in half, sprinkling on a little sugar and scooping out the flesh but, how I’ve seen it consumed most frequently, is by scooping out the flesh and blending it with sugar and water to make a juice. That’s the way I had it when I first tried it in Ecuador.
Although I remember disliking tomate de arbol, on second taste I’d slightly improve my review to say that it’s an okay option…but only if you don’t have something better, like lulo!
(To read about other foreign fruits I’ve featured on this blog, follow the links: lulo, curuba, anon, mamón, pitahaya, South American sapote, and guavita. The post on the guavita also explains my original reason for starting this series of posts about foreign fruit.)