The Achacha is a tropical fruit originating in the Amazon Basin of Bolivia and is newly available in Australia. Grown in Burdekin in North Queensland, this season’s harvest has just hit the shelves, and will be available in selected stores including Harris Farm and Thomas Dux Grocers until February.
The Bolivian name of the fruit is Achachairú (which translated means “honey kiss”) and is highly sought after for its unique taste and nutritional properties. A cousin of the mangosteen, Achachas are tangy and refreshing, the taste vaguely resembling that of a passionfruit although the texture is completely different.
An Achacha is egg-shaped in appearance about 4cm x 6cm, has a seed similar to a lychee and when ripe is bright orange in colour. Minor skin irregularities do not affect the quality of the inner fruit.
Nutritionally, Achachas are a valuable source of Vitamin C and Folate, as well as Potassium, Riboflavin and antioxidants. The sugar levels of the Achacha are relatively low compared to other fruits.
To eat an Achacha, score the skin with a sharp knife, squeeze the fruit and remove the skin (don’t throw them away though, as the skins can be used to make a refreshing drink – see below!). Enjoy the delicious flesh avoiding the seed. Achachas can be successfully frozen (either peeled or unpeeled) for many months.
Achachas do not ripen further once harvested. To store, Achachas can be kept at room temperature for up to a week, or for several weeks stored in the refrigerator.
Here are five ways to use Achachas:
1. Add sliced Achachas to a salad of rocket and toasted almond slivers
2. Drop a peeled Achacha into a glass of bubbly.
3. Freeze Achachas and serve as a natural sorbet (lovely as a palate cleanser between courses).
4. Add sliced Achachas to a tropical fruit salad for an exotic twist.
5. Make an Achacha thirst quencher, recipe as follows:
Washed skins from 12 Achachas (skins can be collected and stored in an airtight container in the fridge for up to a week)
2 litres water
1/2 cup honey or 1/2 cup raw sugar dissolved in 1 cup boiling water
Fresh mint leaves (optional)
1. Place the Achacha skins in a blender or food processor and blend with 1 litre of water.
2. Add the honey or sugar syrup and the other 1 litre of water.
3. Place in a jug and leave in the refrigerator overnight.
4. Strain the drink, and keep chilled until ready to drink.
5. Serve with fresh mint leaves if desired. You can also serve with lime wedges or add some rum for a refreshing alcoholic drink!
*photos courtesy of www.achacha.com.au