Monday, November 12, 2012

Litchi Tomato

So this is a very interesting little fruit. Also called Morelle de Balbis. Mother Earth News did a great article about it so heres a copy/paste from them:

"The Morelle de Balbis, or Litchi tomato, has been grown as an ornamental curiosity in American gardens since the 19th century, but only recently has it gained attention as a novel-tasting food. Its dark red cherry-size berries, with the distinctive flavor of sour cherries and a hint of tomato, can be used in a wide variety of culinary applications — from fruit tarts, preserves, jams and sauces, to sorbets and wine. Plus, it’s easy to grow and frost resistant.
The Litchi tomato comes to us from South America, where it has been an important part of indigenous cookery for hundreds of years. Because the plant itself is covered with thorns, it is sometimes used as a hedge plant to discourage animals from wandering into vegetable gardens — not a bad idea.
 The fruits ripen dark red and are round and somewhat bullet-shaped, tapering to a blunt point. The interior flesh is yellow and full of tiny flat seeds that are arranged much the same way as seeds in a cherry tomato. Thus, when eaten out of hand, the raw fruit has the mouth feeling of raspberries. The actual flavor is tart and refreshing, quite similar to a sour cherry, for which it can be used as a relatively good substitute in pies." (Mother Earth News)

 Sebastien LOVES the Litchi Tomato. He has been trying to get me to grow it for 2 years. He uses it to make Clafoutis and Ketchup (I think). He sent me enough seed to sell on my seed site for this year but I am definitely growing it next season., I have to admit, I love the appearance of it. I think they are beautiful. As you know, I'm always on the lookout for unique and interesting things. The Litchi tomato is definitely interesting. Although it related to tomatoes, it's catagory is S. sisymbriifolium, therefore you do not have to worry about it crossing with your heirloom or hybrid tomatoes.

If any of my readers have grown it, I would love to hear your opinions and maybe recipes for it. The photo above was taken by Sebastien Prunet and used with his permission.