Gold Coast Explorer since Jan 2010. Always on the lookout for fun, family things to enjoy with my four kids.
Published January 10th 2013
Rare fruit revealed
Image courtesy of Wikipedia
Jaboticaba is a fruit tree that I have discovered growing on the Gold Coast. January is our favourite month because the dark black shining berries are ripe for the picking and that means eating too. The tree that bears this delicious fruit is also known as the Brazilian Grape Tree.
The fruit has a white pulp, a bit like the look of a lychee when you take the outer skin off. Actually it seems a bit of a cross between a grape and a lychee. The interesting thing about the fruit is that it grows up the trunk and along the branches of the tree in dark clusters. The skin is fairly tough but easy enough to bite through to let you access the pulp. The fruit is best eaten straight after picking as it has a relatively short shelf life and begins to ferment after 3 – 4 days. This is the main reason that you don't see it in the market place outside the regions it grows in.
It can be made into jams, tarts, wines and liqueurs. According to Wikipedia: "Several potent antioxidant and anti-inflammatory anti-cancer compounds have been isolated from the fruit". It is also said to be very rich in Vitamin C.
This fruit is a favourite in Brazil and is "almost unknown outside its native country" according to The Complete Book of Fruit Growing in Australia by Louis Glowinski. It grows slowly to a high of 10m. The fruit can be frozen whole. The Australian Tropical Fruits portal states that availability is September to November, but my friend's garden produces its fruit December/January. It was introduced to tropical north Queensland so I'm not sure if it's expected to grow on the Gold Coast but it certainly flourishes. The race is on once the fruit is ripe as birds will arrive and strip the tree in a day if we don't get there first. Rare Fruit Australia advises "Jaboticabas can be successfully grown throughout much of Australia, and it is a tree that gives back much more than the space it occupies. If you don't already have at least one, put it on your urgent shopping list".
Jaboticaba Juice Image Alison Spalding
To make a delicious juice from the berries, just cover your quantity of fruit with water in a saucepan and lightly boil until the skins split. Transfer the berries to a colander over another pot and use a potato masher to squash the fruit and release the juice. Pour into a bottle or jug and put into the fridge, so you can serve it chilled. One internet site I visited also mentioned adding honey to sweeten.
Find a friend with a tree and grow one of your own from the seed. It's a great addition to any garden and is suitable for small gardens. My friend lives in Mudgeeraba. If other readers have a tree, leave a comment as to which area you live in.
Very interesting tree, I have 3 of my own plants (very young), 2 small leaf & 1 large leaf, 1 small & 1 large in ground, and the other small leaf in pot, the one in pot flowered this year but no fruit (3 beautiful little flowers), I don't think I have ever been more excited & happy in my life compared to when I seen these flowers, been waiting a few years, the small leaf in ground is so lit up & beautiful growing very well out of the 3, when the rain hits as with all/most plants it just activates something & all new shoots come out, the one in the pot seems to loose all its leaves then suddenly gushes out beautifully again (the one that flowered), it now has a new shoot from the very bottom coming out of the soil & seems to be growing quite quickly every week some new growth from it, exciting times.
My Dad has a tree in his garden (Wynnum Brisbane), We have just picked fruit from it (May), The tree would be at least 15 years old and is about 2.5 metres high, so manageable for a small garden. There is so much fruit, I am attempting jam so as not to waste it.
Elizabeth May 2014
Hi I have purchased one of these trees to plant and have been looking up as much as possible about it before I plant it to ensure I find the correct spot for it.. I can find much information on it root system ( doe's it have shallow roots or a tap root) so how close can I plant a veg garden to it?
I live at pacific pines on the gold coast and have had a jaboticaba growing for about 8 years.Its about 2.5 metres tall and produces far more fruit than my family can eat ! We give a lot away but still a lot is wasted, falling to the ground. We tend to get 2 crops a year and the tree flowers after good rain , especially if it has been dry for some time before the rain. We have had no problems with birds or bats.
I live in Brisbane - have had fruit off our Jaboticaba trees for nearly 24 years. The trees fruit about four times a year. Can get about 50 to 100 kilos. Birds and flying foxes are a nuisance. Sometimes the fruit is marble size, other times much bigger. Makes wonderful juice.
I have a tree in my garden in Kwazulu Natal, South Africa. It is now December and it is full of ripe fruit.
My Dad lives more inland from me and he also has a tree in his garden which is full of fruit.
So they are also found in South Africa!
Growing well in western Sydney, have just been out munching away on this seasons bountiful crop. I planted mine about 10 years ago and it has been fruiting for many years, with this time of year the heat can destroy a crop VERY quickly so keep an eye on the weather and keep the area moist. I just pick pop the whole fruit into my mouth and such the pulp & juice and spit out pips and skin. Makes a beautiful screening tree, does not seem to grow too high, I prune mine to about 3 metres and as the fruit grow on the branches the more branches ...the MORE fruit!
I live in Perth, and would love to grow one in my big garden, do you know where I can get the seeds or a young plant. This fruit looks awesome, never tried it but I generally love all the fruit. Thanks -look forward to your reply!!!