Manila tennis ball cherry is a native of Australia. This is rated as one of best tasting fruits from Australia. Besides Australia, it also grows in the tropical rainforests of Indonesia, Pacific Islands, Hawaii. Botanically known as part of Eugenia reinwardtiana, the Manila cherry is a member of the Myrtaceae family and a relative of the lily pilly berry. These cherries grow as a shrub or small tree. They are enjoyed for the sweet edible fruits they produce as well as for ornamental purposes. Culinarily the fruits are used as a cherry in tropical regions where they grow.
Ornamentally the slow growing shrub is easily shaped and can be used to create a hedge or other pruned shapes. Tennis ball cherries have a rounded, shape and measure approximately 1 inch in diameter. White blooms precede the fruits and grow on stems nestled between pairs of dark green, oval to elliptical shaped leaves. The tree is cultivated, though on a limited scale, for its fruits in tropics. It does not withstand frost and therefore should not be planted in frost prone areas. Their exterior skin is smooth, exhibiting a red hue. Its soft flesh is juicy and surrounds a cherry-like pit. It has a pleasantly sweet flavor, with berry and grape tasting notes, and are considered to be one of the best tasting Australian native fruits.
Manila Tennis ball Cherry Benefits
- Pitted and cooked down to make jam, chutney, and pie filling. Cooked and pureed they can be made into a sauce and served atop desserts or alongside meats.
- Pitted and halved fruits can be added to fruit tarts, muffins, and cakes, or as a topping for ice cream, yogurt, and salads.
- To store, keep cherries refrigerated and use within one week of harvesting.
- The tree is cultivated to a limited extent for its edible sweetish fruit that is often eaten out-of-hand
- Used to flavour drinks and candies, or as a preserve.
- The fruit is a source of antioxidants.
- Their size makes them ideal for eating fresh as a snacking fruit, just be sure to discard the pit
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