February 26, 2020

What IS a tamarillo?


At a workshop I did to talented young athlete’s last week, when encouraging the audience that smoothies can be tasty and a nutritionally versatile snack or meal, I discussed that one of my personal favourite smoothie ingredients is tamarillo’s. A quick question from the audience framed as “errr…what is a tamarillo?” gave me a reality check that some young athletes often eat from a narrow (ish) range of fruit and vegetables.

We are always encouraging our young athletes to embrace the idea of increasing their fruit and vegetable intake. These gems are literally nature’s ultimate snack food and are jam packed with vitamins, antioxidants, dietary fibre, and quality carbohydrates. As Dietitians we are also wanting our young athletes to be decreasing their consumption of processed foods, so it makes sense that fruits and vegetables can step in and help fill a valuable gap. Public health messages for the general population encourage people to eat at least 2 serves of fruit and at least 3 serves of vegetables daily. This means for growing developing athletes, you have got to eat even more than your 5 plus a day! Your nutritional needs are actually much greater than the general population! How, can I boost my fruit and vegetable intake of weird and wonderful ones I haven’t tried yet I hear you ask! 

  1. Offer to tag along with the weekly grocery shop. Wander around the fruit and vegetable section and actively search for a fruit or vegetable you have never heard of, sneak it in the trolley and try it when you get home. You may be pleasantly surprised! And remember, you need to try something more than once to truly decide if it is a no or go.
  2. A quick google search of your new item of interest is sure to turn up some super quick recipes or offer some helpful tips on how to cut the darn thing open!
  3. Dig out that juicer you got Mum for Mother’s Day a few years back and juice your new fruit or vegetable with a couple of old staples like an apple, orange, and carrot. 
  4. Meander around your local farmers markets…your friendly local growers often have samples so that you can try before you buy. It is a great way to eat what is in season and is often cheaper than in the supermarkets. For those trying to make more sustainable food choices…you can put your hand on your heart and know that it hasn’t been grown 1000’s of kilometres away…but rather…locally grown!

And just so I don’t leave you hanging…. a tamarillo, or tree tomato, is a distant relative of regular tomatoes, eggplants and chillies. They have a lovely tangy flavour and can be eaten fresh or stewed. If you are feeling brave, try one in a smoothie. Peel and roughly chop the flesh and add to a smoothie base of 1 small banana, 1 cup of calcium-enriched milk, 3 tablespoons of Greek yoghurt and 1 teaspoon of honey. But my two absolute favourite ways to have them is stewed on muesli or porridge or made into Apple and Tamarillo Crumble served with a good dollop of vanilla ice-cream.

To stew tamarillo’s, put 6-7 in a large bowl and pour boiling water over from the jug until all the fruit is immersed in boiling water. Once the water is cooled, peel the skins off with a knife. Slice the peeled fruit into a clean and dry bowl. Lightly sprinkle with about 2 teaspoons of sugar, cover and place in the fridge overnight. By the morning you will have delicious and juicy stewed Tamarillos to spoon over your porridge or muesli for the rest of the week. Tick! There goes a daily fruit serving right there at breakfast. I might even pop over for breakfast 😋.

Blog post by

Sara Richardson

I am a passionate advocate for nurturing athletic talent from small locations and providing developing athletes with the right nutrition stepping stones to elite pathways.

View profile→