Now that I’m enrolled in my food-writing course, I’m feeling a distinct amount pressure to be adding to this blog on a more regular basis. With that in mind, shopping for my dinner on my way home the other night, I stopped in front of a crate of what looked like orange passionfruit. The label said ‘Achacha’. Having never heard of this exotic fruit before, I found myself popping a handful into my basket.
After getting home, I immediately sliced into the leather like skin of one of these little achachas. The soft white flesh was reminiscent of a lychee and contained a similar coffee coloured seed. But the taste was quite surprising. Sweetness hit my taste buds at once before exploding into an acidic tang reminiscent of passionfruit. The texture was nothing like passionfruit though, and almost like a sorbet. My flat-mate and I both agreed there was a familiar taste that sparked something in our memories, but neither of us could put our fingers on what exactly it was.
This intriguing little egg-shaped fruit originates from the tropical Amazon Basin of Bolivia, but more recently is being cultivated in Northern Queensland. The Bolivian name of the fruit is Achachairú – which translated means “honey kiss”. A cousin of the mangosteen and similar in appearance to the lychee, this little fruit is quickly establishing itself in the market place.
Nutritionally, Achachas are a valuable source of Vitamin C and has the one of the highest Folate level from fruit. As well as Potassium and Riboflavin, the sugar content of the Achacha are relatively low compared to other fruits.
To eat fresh, score the skin with a sharp knife and squeeze to remove (don’t throw them away though, as the skins can be used in drinks). Achachas can also be frozen for several months and can be served straight from the freezer as an instant natural sorbet. Just run the skins under cold water to soften and scour as you would above.
They are available now in some major supermarkets and fresh fruit and vegetable markets such as The Queen Victoria in Melbourne. Don’t let the higher end price put you off though. As time goes by and they become more available this will hopefully be reduced.