Tree Tomato ( Tamarillo)
I love going to the Coronation Market and discovering fruits that I've never seen or heard about before, but it's just as satisfying to find one that you vaguely recall meeting in the past. I re-discovered a fruit called a tree tomato, which I had come across at one of those parish display competition/events a few years ago. It was so unexpected; I was buying bananas from a gentleman at the back of the market and I noticed that he had a few large guavas and I was going to enquire about them when suddenly there were these lovely greeny/orangey ovoid shapes right beside them. It was as if they just appeared. I knew what they were immediately; the gentleman selling of course had a different name for them - chiney tomatoes, he called them. Jamaicans tend to have their own names for everything it seems. As this was the first time I was seeing these lovely fruits at the market I had to buy some; a dozen sounded good so we quickly picked out a dozen before they disappeared as they had appeared. As I made my selection a lady came along and asked about them as well and got the six that were left. Next week we'll have to go a little earlier in order to catch the "first worm".
The tree tomato is also known as tamarillo, a name given to it in New Zealand (where it is grown commercially) in 1967, in order to differentiate it from the regular garden tomato & make it seem more exotic (information from Wikipedia), but's it's still widely known as the tree tomato. It's a subtropical plant originating in the Andes of South America ( Peru, Chile, Ecuador etc.) but it also grows at higher elevations in Malaysia, the Philipines, Puerto Rico and elsewhere in the world. (I guess that's why this gentleman has a tree in the Blue Mountains of Jamaica).
As soon as I reached home and packed away my other finds I settled down and cut open one of my tamarillos & bit into it to remind myself of the taste. I liked it; it was a little like a tomato but whereas I would not eat a tomato like a fruit I would eat the tamarillo all by itself. The skin is not edible, but everything inside is, including the seeds which made up most of the fruit in the one I had. There was only
a fairly thin outer fleshy area and a large circular area of mainly seeds in the center which was totally edible.
What else to do with the Tamarillo (Tree Tomato)?
Have it for dinner, of course! I decided to do an easy vegetable bammie* pizza. I soaked the bammie in my homemade coconut milk, then toasted it in the toaster oven, until slightly crispy, then slathered it in mashed avocado, layered it with slices of tamarillo (which I peeled before slicing), cucumber and some lettuce and ate it. How easy was that? A little sea salt and pepper could be sprinkled if desired. Next time I'll make a sauce with the tree tomato and put that on the heated bammie, then add the avocado and any other vegetable at hand. Can't wait! Whatever you can do with a tomato, you can do with a tamarillo; savoury or sweet. Coming Soon :- more on my adventures with the tree tomato and hopefully some photos. If you can't find the tomarillo you can substitute tomatoes if you'd like to try any recipes posted. Happy Healthy Eating!
Healthy Green Connection - totally green & healthy recipe as everything was locally grown, bought fresh at the market, including the bammie which was toasted, not fried. The only way to make it any greener I believe would have been to toast it in the sun and not use the toaster oven.
* bammie or bammy is a Jamaican flatbread made from grated cassava (cassava flour)