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What is an Achacha?

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by Lisa Nolte (subscribe)
Fifteen years ago I traded a corporate career for life on the river. Close enough to Melbourne to get a quick City fix, plus a great community with excellent coffee and four healthy active boys to keep me entertained, I've never regretted the change.
Published January 23rd 2014
You may never have tasted anything quite like an Achacha
Achacha and dragonfruit
Achachas in the foreground look a little like loquats

The Achacha, or Achachairu is a small yellow fruit originally from South America, now being grown in Australia.

A tropical delicacy, the flavour of these little packages of sweet, yet tangy tropical fruit is hard to define.

A quick survey of a dozen or so kids elicits responses as far ranging as 'banana', 'tastes like summer', 'lemon and passionfruit' and from the resident 8 year old connoisseur 'a bit like mangosteen'.

The 8 year old is pretty close to the mark.

Hailing from Bolivia, the thick-skinned achacha (which translates as honey kiss) is a Garcinia related to the mangosteen.

The trick to getting the egg-shaped fruit opened is pressure. Score a small line across the middle of the fruit with a fingernail, then press to split. A little twist pops the top off, revealing the soft fleshy insides.

Don't be tempted to use your teeth - the skin has a bitter, furry taste that stays on your tongue.

Opening an Achacha
No need to use your teeth, just score, squeeze and pop.

Once opened, the citrus-like aroma gets the mouth watering before the creamy flesh has even been tasted.

One or two and sometimes more smooth stones lie underneath the fragrant flesh. These are not edible, but can be sucked for ages.

There is a stone or two inside the fleshy heart
Source: Wikimedia Commons

Relatively new to cultivation in Australia, Achachas are in season here between December and March. They don't like being refrigerated but keep well at room temperature and in the freezer. Frozen achachas make a healthy dessert treat, with a tangy sorbet texture and taste.

Why not pick up a few next time you are at the fruit shop and see if you can pinpoint the taste?
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Why? For the flavour of summertime
When: December to March
Phone: 0419 400 407
Where: Selected greengrocers and fruit markets
Cost: sold by the kilo
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