The Cool, Exotic, Vibrant Fruit

Have you ever heard of the Naranjilla? It's not just a "little orange", it's much more than that, and it is not even related to citrus. It is one of the most unique fruiting plants that you can easily grow in your home (or outside if you live in a warm place). It has a wild relative that goes by the name of "Bed-of-Nails", but the more popular variety is more affectionately called the "golden fruit of the Andes" and the plant lives up to the name.

 The taste has a been likened to that of lime and rhubarb, but others say that they have tasted pineapple and lemon as well. The adorable fruit of the Naranjilla is bright orange and fuzzy, yet the juice is green. The fruit can be eaten raw and the juice (also known as lulo) is a popular drink in parts of South America. If eating raw, you may want to remove the skin, but the seeds are perfectly edible and nutritious. Beware though, eating the fruit when it is not ripe enough may result in some puckering as it is quite sour until ripe. Naranjilla may also be used in sherbet, pies, sauce, ice cream and even wine! It is also not poisonous so your pets can have fun around it as well!

So you want to grow it? You can easily find seeds on Amazon. Some botanical gardens carry them as well, farmer's markets and speciality grocery stores may have them. The key is to just keep your eyes open and make lots of gardening friends. 

Here are some helpful growing tips:

The naranjilla cannot tolerate temperatures over 85 degrees. It does best in climates with temperatures between 62-66 degrees with high humidity. So you may want to keep it indoors and make sure to mist it often. 

Intolerant of full sun exposure, naranjilla growing conditions should additionally be in semi-shade.

The soil should be kept slightly mist, not allowing to dry out entirely. 

Fertilise once a month or so and the plant should fruit around its second or third year.

 

Naranjilla Juice