Last week my supermarket trip unearthed something I hadnt seen before. Supermarket shopping rarely holds any great thrill, unless of course you are in a foreign country and get to discover all sorts of fabulous new things. So when I saw this new fruit in the produce department I just HAD to know what it was. Naturally there was no label, no name, no price. Not to be discouraged I grabbed the nearest shelf stacking teenager and what do you know, he was a fountain of knowledge. YAY.
“It’s called Achacha, and you sorta twist it to open it, would you like to try it?” What a charming young man. Long story short, I tasted, I liked, I bought 5.
Originally from Bolivia, it’s real name is achachairú (Garcinia humilis), which in true Australian fashion had to be shortened thus became achacha. Apparently this little gem is quite difficult to grow, which is why it has taken this long to get it to market.
Here are some more bits of info I have picked up:
- Achacha will not continue to ripen once picked.
- Do not refrigerate. “A household refrigerator stores perishable food at about 5°C; this is too cold for the Achacha, unless you are planning on eating it that day. At about 20°C – room temperature – it will keep for days in the fruit bowl, and weeks if stored in a closed container or bag so that it does not dry out. Refrigerate for an hour or so before eating if you would like to sharpen up the flavour!”
- A rich source of essential nutrients like potassium and vitamin C, but they’re also one of the highest fruit sources of folate, also lighter in sugar than many other fruits while still having a subtle sweet taste.
- The seeds and skins contain hydroxycitrate which has hunger suppressant properties. This makes the achacha a popular addition to any weightloss plan. (www.achacha.com.au)
Since I didnt know how to best utilise the fruit I bought I figured I’d stick to trialling the flesh on the family and make an infusion of the skins.
The taste test went well. One of the 5 fruits was a lot softer than the others and since I didnt know if that was good or bad we tried it all. Turns out, soft is not good. The taste is very much like a tangy mangosteen and as I have since found out the two are of the same genus. Everyone in the family liked it, HeWhoRefusesToGrowUp was intrigued by the texture.
The flesh pops out of the skin really easily, but unfortunately there are seeds. One big one and sometimes a couple of smaller ones too. I chopped up the skins and popped them, with the seeds, into a jug, added about 600ml of boiling water and left it overnight in the fridge.
Now on the achacha website it just mentions water, neither hot nor cold, to make the infusion, so I relied on experience gained on Herbology.com.au I chose to use hot water.
The next day I strained out the solids and sweetened with remaining liquid with sugar syrup I made from equal parts water and sugar. The result was a surprisingly refreshing drink. If you see this fruit at your local greengrocer and you grab a few, do not throw away the skins. They give a gorgeous flavour which can be used for quite a few recipes. The achacha website suggests granita, jelly, icy poles, cocktails, sorbets and more. And that’s just for the skins!