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BabacoThe babaco, also called mountain papaya, is native to Ecuador.

It is believed to be a natural hybrid of the papaya and is unique because it is distinctly five sided. Babaco grow to about eight to twelve inches long and four inches in diameter, are juicy, seedless and have a flavor described as a cross between pineapple, papaya and strawberry.

They are grown on a small scale commercially in New Zealand and the Middle East.

Extract from Wikipedia:

The Babaco, is a hybrid cultivar from northwestern South America and is a hybrid. It can grow at high altitudes (over 2,000 metres), and is cold-tolerant. The babaco is classified as a herbaceous shrub like the pawpaw or papaya but unlike papaya it produces only female flowers. The babaco can produce from 30 - 60 fruits annually. The babaco plant has an average life span of about eight years.

It is a small unbranched or sparsely branched tree reaching 5 - 8 metres tall. The fruit differs from the related papaya in being narrower, typically less than 10 cm in diameter. The babaco fruit is seedless and the smooth skin can be eaten and is said to have a taste of strawberry, papaya, kiwi and pineapple. The fruit is pentagonal in shape, therefore giving it the scientific name of Carica Pentagona.

Like the papaya, the babaco is grown for its edible fruit and for its fruit juice. Cultivation away from its native range has been successful as far south as New Zealand, and north to Guernsey.

Chef James EhlerThis article is from Chef James Ehler of Key West, Florida.

James is a webmaster, cook, chef, writer and (like me) a self-confessed computer nerd. He is the former executive chef of Martha's Steak & Seafood Restaurant and the former Reach Hotel (both in Key West), the Hilton Hotel in Fayetteville, Arkansas, and the New Bern Golf and Country Club, North Carolina.

He is now webmaster and cook at the Blue Heaven Restaurant in Key West while he works on his Food Encyclopedia (five years so far). It is well worth paying a visit to James' food reference website which is a useful resource well worth Bookmarking - to visit either website just click on their title:

The Food Reference Website
The Blue Heaven Restaurant, Key West, Florida

If you want to contact James just email him by clicking here.

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