Secret Family Recipe for Tamarillo Chutney

Secret Family Recipe for Tamarillo Chutney

The Tamarillo is an edible fruit of Solanum betaceum.

It belongs to the potato, tomato, eggplant and capsicum family, but the Tamarillo is most commonly known as the ‘tree tomato’.

The yellow and ‘purpled’ Tamarillo came to New Zealand from Asia (about the 1800’s), and the red variety came from South America. Many of these fruit trees were commercially cultivated in New Zealand, and on 31 January 1967, the name Tamarillo became its official name. The name change was to make the fruit more appealing to the export market.

The trees are a subtropical plant, and extremely frost tender, so can only be grown in sheltered frost-free areas. The trees should be pruned regularly as the fruit is produced on new growth. If trees are left to grow very large, the branches often snap in the wind, or from being heavy laden with fruit.

In ideal conditions, the trees grow very well, and fairly fast. You could expect the tree to start bearing fruit after 2 years. The fragrance of the flowers is very intense, and the bees do the job of pollinating the tomato-like, white, waxy flower clusters.

The Tamarillo fruit is very good for you. High in iron, potassium, vitamin A, B6, C and E. The Tamarillo does have a rather unusual flavour, plus it is quite sour on first taste, but sweetened. (or when you find a very ripe fruit), they are a pleasant inclusion in the winter diet.

We have always grown Tamarillo, and this is to provide fruit for making chutney.

Here I will share with you, our very simple, old family recipe for Tamarillo chutney.

This is especially good on cold meats. We use this a lot during our guest lunches for our Auckland (NZ) tours.


24 Tamarillo (peeled: soak in boiling water to remove the skins)
1lb green (cooking variety) apples (peeled, cored)
1lb onions

??mince all these quite finely and place into a preserving pan.

1 pint of malt vinegar
2lbs brown sugar
1 dsp salt
1 Tbsp mixed spice
large ‘pinch’ cayenne pepper

Mix and bring to the boil.

Simmer, stirring frequently for 2-3 hours.

You will notice the mixture change from a red colour to a brown colour, and the liquid has reduced.

Cool slightly, and bottle in sterilised jars (jars which have been baked in the oven at 180C for 20 minutes)

Try to leave eating this chutney for a couple of months as the flavour will be much improved!

We really love this with cheese & crackers, and with cold meat and salad.


Once you start making this chutney you’ll be hooked! so when the fruits are plentiful, make sure you prepare recipe lots (i.e. bags of 24 skinned Tamarillo) and put them in the freezer. This way you can make this chutney all-year-round.

Donna is the owner operator of Auckland’s Eco-tour & Farm visit Coast to Coast Tours. This tour company was established in 2002 and is currently Tripadvisor’s No1 Auckland attraction. A unique tour where overseas visitors experience the Auckland countryside where this operator’s family has lived since 1922. Visit to their sheep farm & historic Homestead for afternoon tea also included. Opportunity to offset emissions with Native tree planting.

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