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I fell in love with tamarillos on Mothering Sunday


Fuschias in summer

Fuschias in summer

We haven’t been out to eat for ages so we decided to take my mum to one of her favourite restaurants – The Three Horseshoes, in Madingley.

The food is very good, the service friendly and it’s a real treat to visit. Of course, on special occasions, it’s a set menu. Having rather overindulged on the delicious home made bread as we ordered, I could hardly totter away from the table. Supper is definitely not on the cards tonight.

The cheese course is always superb but felling a bit full I plumped for the yoghurt panna cotta with pickled tamarillos. Tamarillos are tree tomatoes, they need to be grown in a conservatory or under glass and they fruit in the second year. They have tweaked my fancy recently. Pickled? Well this was the only way I had a hope in hell of tasting them.

The combination of flavours was excellent. The taste bud fairy must have been sitting on my plate as I just scooped out the flesh (it turns out that the skins are very bitter). Tangy, faintly sweetish, tomatoish more savoury than dessert. But combined with the creamy panna cotta the mix was to die for.

This evening I rose from an elongated afternoon snooze in a pile with the Min Pins and continued my tamarillo research. If they can be pickled – that would be perfect. Another preserve to add to my list and a treat for those dark winter months.

Although the seed are readily available in America no one seemed to stock them in the UK. This made me even keener to track them down. I eventually found that Nicky’s nursery supplies tamarillo seed. Now ordered.

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  1. Minamoo

    Oooh I love tree tomatoes! They grow very well back home in Kenya and make the most unbelievably delicious juice. It tastes like a cocktail of different fruits with a hint of guava. I miss it so!

  2. Michelle in NZ

    Tamarillos are a popular winter fruit here. I love them when the flesh has been scooped out and sprinkled with brown sugar a few hours before eating. Yum!

  3. Paula, you said “what the difference is between your tamarillo and a tomatillo is”

    The former is what Tony Christie lives on.

    Hope that helps.

  4. Ruthdigs

    I’ve recently used Nicky’s Nursery for the first time and they’re great. Really helpful; I ordered on-line then found something else I wanted (not hard!) so called the next day and spoke to a very nice man and they happily added it to the order with no extra postage. Seeds arrived the day after that. Now I’m intrigued by these Tamarillo’s – seedaholics here I come!! 😀

  5. Magic Cochin

    I spotted a Tamarillo (I wasn’t sure what it was at the time) on an veg plot while walking in Tenerife last month – Cliff told me it was a Tree Tomato, he’d seen them growing in the Andes.

    I hope they grow well for you – they look lovely and make a stunning plant.

    Tempted to grow some this year – then I remembered my pledge to not buy more packets of seed this year!


  6. Turns out- huge difference! Thanks for posting about them- I never would have known otherwise!

  7. So now you have me wondering what the difference is between your tamarillo and a tomatillo is. I’m very curious, because the tomatillos I grew the first summer we were here definitely fruited the first year, and the whole thing (minus its papery husk- kind of like a ground cherry) is quite edible. I got twelve pounds off only two plants, and since I only wanted them for salsa verde, you can imagine that we are still eating that same salsa verde two years later! But this all reminds me that I need to plant a couple more plants this year, so that I can do it all over again. Yum!!

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