Happy Spring!

Check out our vast collection of recipes to find your new favorite!
I opened the bottle of your vanilla extract last weekend to bake some cookies and the difference in taste is extraordinary." – Judy


Tamarillo, Solanum betaceum, also known as tree tomato or tomate de arbol, is a shrub- like plant or small tree, native to the Andes of Peru, Bolivia, Chile and Ecuador.  The name “Tamarillo” was created by the New Zealand Tree Tomatoes Promotion Board to distinguish it from the tomato plant. The letter “t” stands for tomate or tomato, “amarillo” from the Spanish word for yellow and, in a moment of whimsical creativity, they claim that “tama” also stands for the Maori word for leadership.  Outside of New Zealand, most people call it tree tomato but, for the purposes of this compendium, we’ll call it tamarillo in honor of the Maori.

The tamarillo is now cultivated in many tropical regions, but New Zealand and Portugal grow it commercially for international export.  The tree starts producing fruits within two years, and can produce as many as 30 pounds of fruit over a three-month period.

The fruit is yellow or deep red, with a thin skin, soft red and yellow flesh when ripe, and numerous small black edible seeds.  The fruits are ovoid and range in size from 1-1/2 inches to 6 inches.  The fruits are mildly sweet and tangy, somewhat like the yellow passion fruit or kiwi.  The skin and the flesh near the skin tend to be bitter.  The fruit is eaten out-of-hand, made into juice or puree, and used in desserts.  I first had a tamarillo in the early 1980s.  My memory of it was that it was curious, but not something I’d actively seek out.

Patricia Rain
Follow me
Latest posts by Patricia Rain (see all)

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Related Posts

Verified Customer Review

I was given a small bottle of Rain’s Choice in a gift basket and I have been hooked ever since. The flavor makes all of my baking so much better! I will never use grocery store vanilla again!

Get the Best Vanilla Here!

Blog Categories

Newsletter Signup

Join our community, get news on issues of concern about our planet and its inhabitants, recipes and deals. Over 5,000 subscribers!

The Vanilla Queen
Sorting vanilla beans

Why do our customers love Rain's Choice vanilla?

Thank you for supporting The Vanilla Company and our farmers! BUY HERE now.
For an update on the 2016 vanilla shortage, please see “Why is Vanilla so Expensive?”