Red Chinese Mulberries
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The Achacha (pronounced a-cha-cha) is a small fruit that grows on trees that look similar to mango trees. The glossy green leaves are long and thin, and the tree has a bush-like habit that if allowed can grow up to 10 meters tall. The fruit is round to oval in shape and about the size of an egg, 6 to 8 centimeters long and 4 to 6 centimeters wide. The thick, leathery skin of an Achacha ripens from a pale apricot to a dark, burnt orange with occasional specks of dark color. The fruit will not continue to ripen after it has been harvested and is usually picked when fully ripe. Within the protective rind, Achacha fruit has an edible white pulp, with a texture akin to a mangosteen or lychee. The flesh easily separates from the skin. Achachas typically have one to two almond-sized seeds that are woody and inedible. The flavor of the tropical fruit is sweet with a bit of a sour tang like a mango or peach.
Achaha is available in the summer months in the southern hemisphere.
Achacha is a tropical fruit, sometimes called the Bolivian mangosteen. It is related to the mangosteen and is botanically classified as Garcinia humilis. Achacha is native to the Amazon forest. In Bolivia, the fruits are known as Achachairu (ah-cha-chay-ROO), from the native Guarani language meaning ‘honey kiss’. Achacha, marketed as “the dancing fruit,” is most commonly found in Bolivia though it is gaining in popularity in Australia, Europe and throughout some parts of South East Asia. Currently, the only orchard licensed to grow and sell Achacha is located in the northeastern state of Queensland in Australia. The first commercial harvest of Achacha was in early 2015.
Achacha is rich in antioxidants and is high in vitamin C and potassium. The tropical fruit also contains vitamin B, in the form of folate, which is beneficial for reproductive health, pre-natal care, heart health, neurological support, and colon health. Achachas are lower in sugar than many other tropical fruit varieties. The skin of the Achacha contains beta-carotene, the amino acid arginine and other healthy minerals.
Achacha fruits are often eaten raw, straight from the tree. To remove the skin of an Achacha, simply pierce the skin at the mid-point of the fruit with your thumb and pull the halves apart. The fruit can be cut in half and the pulp scooped out as well. The seeds should be discarded before consuming. Achacha can be chilled for several hours prior to eating, which sharpens the flavor and makes for a refreshing treat. Achacha pulp can be pureed and used to make tarts, sorbet or gelato. The pulp can be incorporated into beverages and cocktails, or made into liquor. Add Achacha to tropical fruit salads or slice the flesh and add to green salads. In Bolivia, during the summer months when the fruit is at its peak of ripeness, Achachairu appears on most restaurant menus in desserts and beverages. The skin of the Achacha is also used to make a juice that is often used as a refreshing nutritional tonic in Bolivia. Once the pulp is removed, the Achacha skins are slightly crunched and infused in water overnight or longer. The skins are removed and a simple syrup is added to sweeten the juice. Achachas are meant to be stored at room temperature. The fruit will keep at an ambient temperature, in a closed container or bag to retain humidity, for several weeks.
In Bolivia, the Achacha is celebrated with a festival each year in January. The festival takes place in Porongo, a leading producer of Achacha. At the festival, the fruit appears in jams, liquors and other sweet treats, including honey from bees feeding on Achacha flower nectar. The Feria de Achachairu attracted over 15,000 people and 80 farmers in 2016, which is one and a half times the town’s average population. Across the South Pacific in Australia, the Achacha made its first public appearance on the Australian MasterChef, when a contestant made a tart from the tropical fruit.
Achacha fruit is native to the Santa Cruz area of Bolivia, which sits in the Amazon basin. Until recently, the fruit was primarily grown in home orchards in its native country and it was little known outside of the region. Since 2009, Achacha has been grown in the small North Queensland town of Giru in Australia. The Palm Creek Plantation is run by a husband and wife, and is the only farm licensed to grow the Amazonian fruit. They had to get special permission from the government of Bolivia, in the form of Plant Breeder's Rights in Australia to cultivate and export the fruit. The Australian company, known as the Achacha Fruit Growers, exports their fruit to Indonesia and Europe where it is gaining notoriety as “the dancing fruit.” The Achacha was recognized as one of the top ten innovations in 2012 at the Fruit Logistica trade show in Berlin.
Recipes that include Achacha. One is easiest, three is harder.
|The Food Coach||Achacha and Raspberries with Rosewater Syrup Gluten free|
|Tropical Fruit Forum||Achacha Granita|
|Achacha.com||Festive Achacha Salad|
|Morsels and Musings||Achacha Thirst Quencher|
|Hidden Glass House||Green Mango Salad with Achacha Dressing|