Here is another interesting exotic fruit from the Garcinias family. Its name is Garcinia humilis (Achacha) and has been cultivated for centuries in domestic orchards in the tropical Amazon Basin of Bolivia. The other name, Achachairu means a honey kiss in Guarani language. Achacha has also now been introduced into Australia and is being grown there in Burdekin area of Queenland. It is now spreading all over the world and being grown by collectors worldwide. This fruit seems to be suitable for commercial cultivation all over in tropical regions. It goes under quite a few botanical names: rheedia aristata, rheedia macrophylla and rheedia achachairu.
Achacha is a small evergreen tree, 5-12 m high with a pyramidal canopy. Leaves are glossy, darker green on top but lighter underneath, opposite, simple and thick, leathery, and brittle. Flowers are cream or white, petals 4, hermaphroditic flowers15-35mm long, male flowers 9-12mm long; borne in groups of five. Fruit is yellow to orange when ripe, round to slightly pear-shaped, generally 2 inches diameter and 2-3 inches long (about the size of a small egg). Skin is firm and protective, yet quite easy to open. White interior flesh separates easily from the pericarp, containing 1-2 seeds. There is usually one significant coffee-coloured seed, but larger fruit may have more than one seed.
Achacha fruit does not ripen further once harvested. They will, however, keep for weeks without refrigeration, especially when stored at their ideal temperature of between 13-15ºC. So always pick up the fruits after they have developed the best quality. It is recommended to avoid refrigeration for extended periods of time and to store the fruits in the coolest part of your house. Nutritionally, Achachas are valuable source of vitamin C and folate, as well as potassium, riboflaving and antioxidants.
To open up a fruit simple pierce skin on circumference with a knife and pressure the skin halves in opposite ways. Eat flesh direct from the skin, or take the flesh out with a spoon. This fruit contains less than half the amount of sugars present in other comparable exotic fruits so can be eaten as a fresh snack in larger volumes. The pulp can be detached from the skin and seed and made into a mixed fruit salad together with other fruit, scrumptious sorbet, jam or a paste that is added to sauces which are frequently served with seafood.
In addition to having a great flavor, Achachairu fruit has more flesh relative to its weight, when compared to the renowned purple mangosteen. Its rind is also palatable and easily utilized for beverages, while that of the true mangosteen is full of bitter tannins. The species itself is also more adaptable, more precocious, and less particular about its requirements. Additionally, it can be grown in shade. This species has an excellent commercial potential in tropical regions. As an eco-friendly forest fruit which has not been through hundreds of generations of selective breeding, each one has its own personality and curves, with perhaps a few small bumps and marks on their skins which add interest to its appearance but do not affect its quality.
Even though there is no medical proof, traditional uses for the Garcinia humilis waste product (sead, skin, etc). In Bolivia the skins are used as hunger suppressant. The honey that is make from it is used for medicinal purposes. They sell it for 10 times the normal price of honey.The inside of the skin is used to rub on marks (like warts) on the skin.
Interesting note: Achacha stands up to cyclone Yasi in North Queensland.
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2 achacha pulp with pips
1 tablespoon honey
45ml cognac or brandy
achacha skin for garnishing
Dissolve honey in a tiny bit of hot water first. Place Achacha pulp and pips into a shaker along with cognac/brandy, dissolved honey and squeeze of lemon. Shake vigorously until well combined. Top up 2 small cocktail glasses with fresh ice cubes and strain shaker contents over the ice. Cut thin strips of the Achacha skin to use as garnish.