In our garden at Salisbury Heights we grow all sorts of weird and wonderful plants. When I come across something I really want to try, and research further by asking around in groups I am a part of or on social media, I'm often told that I 'can't' grow that here. So of course I feel like it is a personal challenge to not only grow these, but grow them really well!
About 4 years ago I acquired a Naranjilla Tree. It is also know as Golden Fruit of the Andes or Lulo. It's Botanical name is solanum quitoense, and it is a perrenial tree grown in the subtropics in South America. It has these gorgeous furry green leaves with a slight purple tinge. Some trees have very sharp spikes but I'm fortunate that mine does not!
I waited with extreme anticipation of my plant producing fruit, and finally after about 3 years we started to get flowers! the flowers of the tree are a delicate white with yellow interior, in and bloom in clusters.
I planted the tree in a very large pot so that I could easily move it around the garden to find it's sweet spot! I kept it in the pot, and it has thrived, so I don't see the point of spoiling a good thing!
I tried many many times over to hand pollinate the flowers. I asked experts in the trade and followed their directions to the letter, and still I had the flowers wither and die. I admitted defeat and resigned myself to the fact that it was just going to be a really cool tree to have and a fabulous talking point!
Then one day while I was watering I saw it! The start of these gorgeous fruit! We had waited with baited breath for this moment!! Despite my excitement I decided to keep on keeping on with my treatment of the tree, and went about my business as normal in the garden.
So all in all it's been possibly 12 months that the fruit has been growing, 6 cute little orange balls of fuzz! They are covered in what looks like fuzz, but upon touch they are similar to nettle spikes, and are near invisible tiny itchy needles!! When the fruit is ready these fuzzy needles wipe off and you are left with a shiny orange fruit.
We ended up with 5 fruit as one had fallen off the tree, when I picked it up it had a small hole in it with ants eating away at the flesh. I left them to it and bought these 5 inside.
Good old google led me to a Colombian recipe to enjoy these fruits as a drink. The juice is meant to be the best tasting in the world, so we were very very excited to be juicing these!
I cut the fruit open, and they are a surprising beautiful bright green inside!
You scoop out the flesh, much like a kiwi, and compost the skins. (The recipe called for peeling them, but as they are only just bigger than a golf ball that was near impossible!) So I added the flesh into a soup mug with a teaspoon of sugar and water. I then mashed it all up with a fork.
Then I added some water and stirred it all up. It is a very pretty green coloured drink! It was meant to be served over ice, however in our house my kids eat ice out of bowls with a spoon, so we had none on hand! Trev joined me in taste testing our first harvest............
.......the verdict..... after all this time...waiting....anticipating...........
it was not overly very interesting!!! In fact it was not very flavourful, and we were both quite disappointed!!! argh!
I have a friend whose dad is Colombian, she is the creative force behind the Edible Adelaide blog https://edibleadelaide.wordpress.com/ and I'm hoping she may be able to find some recipes we can try with our next batch of fruit. I haven't given up on seeking out a recipe that highlights this fruit!