Tropical Fruit Guide


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Soursop

 

Botanical Name:

 

Annona muricata (Annonaceae)

 

General Description/History:

  • Oval/heart shaped fruit
  • Weighs 4.5 - 7kg
  • Leathery looking but tender inedible skin, from which many spines protrude
  • The tip of the spines break off easily when the fruit is ripe
  • Skin is dark green becoming yellow/green when ripe
  • Flesh is cream coloured and granular and separated easily from the mass of white, fibrous, juicy segments, much like flakes of fish
  • A soft pithy core
  • Pineapple like in aroma
  • Musky, subacid in flavour
  • In each segment there is a single, oval, smooth, black seed
  • There can be up to 200 seeds ie. segments in a fruit

The soursop tree is low-branching and bushy, but slender because of its upturned limbs, and reaches a height of 7.5 9m. Normally an evergreen, the leaves are alternate, smooth, glossy, dark-green on the upper surface and lighter beneath, oblong, elliptic or narrow-obovate, pointed at both ends. The flowers which are borne singly, may emerge anywhere on the trunk, branches or twigs. They are short stalked, plump, with yellow-green outer petals.

 

When eaten ripe, they are soft enough to yield to the slight pressure of ones thumb. Having reached this stage, the fruit can be held 2-3 days longer in a refrigerator. The skin will blacken and become unsightly while the flesh is still unspoiled and useable.

 

Soursops of least acid flavour and least fibrous consistency are cut in sections and the flesh eaten with a spoon. The seeded pulp may be chopped and used in salads, served with seafood or pureed and used as the basis for a refreshing drink.

 

The soursop is truly tropical. It will not tolerate low temperatures or frosts well and needs shelter from strong winds. Best growth is achieved in deep, rich, well-drained, semi-dry soil, but the soursop tree can be, and is commonly grown in acidic and sandy soil.

 

The soursop is usually grown from seed. Germination takes from 15-30 days. Soursop seedlings are generally the best stock for propagation through grafting onto custard apples. The tree grows rapidly and begins to bear in 3-5 years. In Queensland, well-watered trees have attained 4.5-5.5m in 6-7 years.

 

Of the 60 or more species of the genus Annona, the soursop is the most tropical, the largest fruited and the only one lending itself well to preserving and processing. Oviedo, in 1526, described the soursop as abundant in the West Indies and in northern South America. It is today found in Bermuda and the Bahamas, both wild and cultivated, from sea-level to an altitude of 1150m throughout the West Indies and from southern Mexico to Peru and Argentina. It was one of the first fruit trees carried from America to the Old World Tropics where it has become widely distributed from south-eastem China to Australia and the warm lowlands of eastern and western Africa.

 

Alternative Names:

 

Guanabana

 

Growing Areas:

 

QLD - Bundaberg, Gayndah, Outer Brisbane Area, Tropical North

NSW - North Coast

NT - Darwin

 

Nutritional Value:

 

Soursops are a good source of vitamin C and dietary fibre.

251kJ/100g.

 

Storage/Handling:

 

15C and 85 - 95% relative humidity.

 

Consumer Storage:

 

Ripen at room temperature and store in the refrigerator for a short time.

 

 


Star Apple

 

Botanical Name:

 

Chrysophyllum caindo (Sapotaceae)

 

General Description/History:

  • Round/oblate fruit 5-15cm in diameter
  • Smooth, copper, purple, green coloured skin
  • Flesh is white, soft, juicy and arranged in eight segments surrounding hard, brown, glossy seeds
  • The fruit has a star shaped pattern in the cross section
  • Flavour is sweet and refreshing
  • 3-5 seeds

An evergreen, reaching up to 15m in height, the star apple tree has dark green leaves which have silky, golden brown undersurfaces, bearing small purple/white flowers.

 

Select firm, smooth fruit, free from blemishes. Fruit is ripe when it yields to gentle pressure at the stem end.

 

Simply cut the fruit in half and scoop out the flesh to use in fruit salads, cheese platters, ice cream and sorbet.

 

Star apples prefer a humid, tropical climate with abundant rainfall, but will also grow well in a cooler, drier climate. Preferred temperature ranges from 5-35C. Trees prefer full sun from an early age for maximum vigour in a deep clay loam with top soils rich in humus.

 

As far as the yield of the plants are concerned, three year old cultivars can produce up to 50kg of fruit in one season whilst mature trees can produce up to 500kg of fruit in a season.

 

The star apple originated in the tropical Central Americas and around the West Indies.

 

Alternative Names:

 

Caimito

 

Growing Areas:

 

QLD - Tropical North

NT - Darwin

 

Nutritional Value:

 

Star apples are a good source of vitamin C and dietary fibre.

 

Storage/Handling:

 

7 - 10C and 90 - 98% relative humidity.

 

Consumer Storage:

 

Ripen at room temperature and storein the refrigerator crisper for a short time.

 

 


Tamarillo

 

Botanical Name:

 

Cyphomandra betarea (Solanaceae)

 

General Description/History:

  • Egg shaped but pointed at both ends
  • 5-10cm in length
  • Smooth skin may be deep purple, blood red, orange or yellow and may have dark longitudinal stripes
  • Flesh can be orange/red, orange/yellow or cream/yellow
  • Skin is tough and unpleasant in flavour, the outer layer of flesh is slightly firm, succulent and bland
  • The pulp surrounding the seeds is soft, juicy, subacid/sweet
  • The seeds are thin, circular, large and bitter The flavour of the pulp is like a combination of tomato and passionfruit.

The tamarillo is a small tree which grows to about 3-4m in height. It is half-woody, attractive, fast-growing and is shallow rooted. The leaves are evergreen, alternate, more or less heart-shaped at the base, ovate, pointed at the apex. Borne in small, loose clusters near the branch tips, the fragrant flowers have five pale pink or lavender, pointed lobes, five prominent yellow stamens and a green-purple calyx.

 

Select well shaped fruit with good colour, be it red, yellow or purple depending upon variety. The fruit should have fresh green stems and yield to gentle pressure to indicate it is ripe and ready for eating. Avoid fruit with any soft spots or bruises.

 

Enjoy fresh simply by cutting in half, sprinkling with sugar and scooping out the pulp. Slices or halves can be seasoned and grilled for 10-15 minutes and served as a vegetable. Do not cut on a wooden or other permeable surface, as the juice will make an indelible stain. To remove the skin, pour boiling water over the fruit and allow it to stand for 34 minutes, then peel by beginning at the stem end. Use as an ingredient in a stuffing for roast lamb. Combine with apple in a variety of desserts. Use to make jams, chutneys and sauces.

 

The tamarillo is a subtropical shrub. The plant prefers a light, well-drained soil. It is highly intolerant to excess soil moisture and rapidly succumbs when the soil is water logged. On the other hand, its large, soft leaves and shallow rooting system causes it to react unfavourably to drought conditions. It needs ample moisture during summer.

 

The large leaves and extremely brittle wood of the tamarillo make it very prone to damage by wind. When they are heavily laden with fruit the branches will break off easily, even in quite light winds. Good shelter is therefore essential, and permanent windbreaks should be established at least 2-3 years before tamarillo plants are set out.

 

The tamarillo is easily propagated from seed or cuttings. Plants from seed generally develop with a straight main stem of up to 1.5-1.8m before they branch. The cuttings produce lower, bushy plants, with branches down to the ground level.

 

Tamarillo flowers are normally self-pollinating but the flowers are attractive to bees and insect pollination undoubtedly occurs as well.

 

The tamarillo is the best known of about 30 species of this family. It has been known by a multitude of regional names including tree tomato and tomate, but was given the name tamarillo in 1970 in New Zealand and this has been adopted as the standard commercial designation. The name change was made to provide a more appealing and exotic name, especially for export promotion.

 

The plant is a native of the Andean region of Peru. Although the tamarillo is esteemed in its original South American home and has grown in other parts of the world, such as Sri Lanka, India, the South East Asian Archipelago, and elsewhere, it seems that only in New Zealand is the fruit being produced on a systematic commercial scale. It was D. Hay and Sons, nurserymen, who introduced the tree tomato into New Zealand in 1891 with commercial growing on a small scale being in about 1920. Shortages of tropical fruits during World War II justified an increased level of production.

 

Alternative Names:

 

Tree Tomato

 

Growing Areas:

 

QLD - Gold Coast, Sunshine Coast

NSW - North Coast

VIC - Melbourne Metropolitan Area

SA - Adelaide hills

NZ - Auckland, Bay of Plenty, Kerikeri

 

Nutritional Value:

 

Tamarillos are a good source of vitamin C and dietary fibre. They also contain some vitamin A and potassium. 112kJ/100g.

 

Storage/Handling:

 

7-10C and 90 - 98% relative humidity.

 

Consumer Storage:

 

Ripen at room temperature and store in the refrigerator for a short time.

 

 


Tangelo

 

Botanical Name:

 

Citrus paradisi x Citrus reiculata (Rutaceae)

 

General Description/History:

  • A hybrid of a mandarin and a grapefruit
  • Thin skin which peels more readily than grapefruit
  • Fine textured flesh, very juicy
  • Sweet flavour
  • Range from the size of a standard sweet orange to the size of a grapefruit
  • Are usually necked at the base

The characteristics of this hybrid vary from those which most closely resemble mandarins to those which resemble grapefruits. They can be grown wherever grapefruits are grown successfully. The trees are large, more cold tolerant than the grapefruit, but are not quite as hardy as the mandarin.

 

Select tangelos with good colour, reasonably firm skins, heavy for their size to indicate good juice content, and free from blemishes.

 

Enjoy as a fresh fruit, juice for a refreshing beverage or use segments in salads. Effective as a garnish for gateauxs and pavlovas, use juice as a basis for marinades and sauces or try in a variety of Chinese dishes with chicken, duck and beef.

 

Tangelo require fertile soil, good irrigation and adequate nutrition as well as cross pollination. Like grapefruit, tangelo develop their best flavour under hot arid conditions.

 

Tangelos are a deliberate or accidental hybrid of any mandarin orange and the grapefruit or pummelo. The first known crosses were made by Dr Walter T. Swingle in Florida 1897. They are so unlike any other citrus fruit that they have been set aside in a class by themselves designated citrus X tangelo.

 

Growing Areas:

 

QLD - Gayndah

VIC - Sunraysia

SA - Riverland

 

Nutritional Value:

 

Tangelos are an excellent source of vitamin C, a good source of dietary fibre, and contain some vitamin A and folic acid. 155kJ/100g.

 

Storage/Handling:

 

7-10C and 90 - 98% relative humidity.

 

Consumer Storage:

 

Store in the refrigerator crisper for a short time.

 

 


Youngberry

 

Botanical Name:

 

(Rubus Family)

 

General Description/History:

 

Youngberries; originated in Australia, and looks similar to blackberries. Is an excellent source of vitamin C, folate and dietary fibre. Used fresh with ice cream, fruit salads and on toppings of cakes and Pavlovas. Keep refrigerated at 2 to 4 degrees, and no longer than 4 days. Look for bright, plump fruit with deep rich colours. Nutritional Value:

 

Is an excellent source of vitamin C, folate and dietary fibre.

 

Storage/Handling:

 

Keep refrigerated at 2 to 4 degrees, and no longer than 4 days.

 

 

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