Red tamarillos are small, oval to egg-shaped fruits with pointed ends, averaging 4 to 6 centimeters in diameter and 6 to 8 centimeters in length. The skin is smooth, glossy, taut, and thin, ripening from orange-gold to a muted, red-brown when mature. Depending on the variety, the skin may also bear hues of purple and crimson. Underneath the surface, the flesh is semi-firm, orange, and succulent with an aqueous consistency. There are also two chambers filled with soft pulp encasing many thin, circular, and edible black seeds. Red tamarillo flesh, when ripe, has a bright, sweet-tart flavor with tangy, acidic notes. It is important to note that the skin frequently contains a bitter, tannin forward flavor and is often discarded before eating, considered to be unpalatable.
Red tamarillos are best suited for both raw and cooked applications, but the fruits are primarily consumed fresh to showcase their sweet and tangy flavor. It is important to note that the skin is not consumed due to its bitter flavor. To remove, the fruits can be blanched and the skin peeled, or they can be sliced in half and the flesh scooped from the skin. Red tamarillos can be sliced and tossed into salads, blended into gazpacho, or coated in sugar and consumed as a snack. The fruits can also be used as a topping over ice cream, cakes, and other baked goods, blended into smoothies and fruit juices, or slathered onto toast. When utilized in cooked applications, Red tamarillos can be grilled and served as a side dish, toasted into a grilled cheese, tossed into soups and stews, or simmered into sauces, jams, and chutney. Red Tamarillos pair well with cheeses such as brie, feta, and cheddar, arugula, avocado, pears, bell pepper, tomatoes, cucumbers, balsamic vinegar, honey, and nuts such as pine, almonds, and walnuts. The fruits can be stored at room temperature until ripe or kept up to ten days in the refrigerator.
Red tamarillos are available year-round, with a peak season in the fall through winter.