Appears in

Oxford Companion to Food

Oxford Companion to Food

By Alan Davidson

Published 2014

  • About

babaco Carica × heilbornii, a large fruit of Ecuador (where it may also be called chamburo), has now been introduced for cultivation elsewhere, e.g. in New Zealand and Europe as far north as the Channel Islands, and is also available in N. America. The plant is not known in the wild, and botanists suggest that it may be a hybrid, perhaps of the mountain pawpaw, C. pubescens, and another fruit of Ecuador.

The plant is relatively small, given the number and size of fruits which it bears. The fruit may reach a length of 30 cm (1'), is star shaped in section, and has tender juicy flesh of a pale apricot colour with a mild and faintly acid taste and a delicate fragrance. Since it is normally seedless and the skin (green, turning to yellow when ripe) is soft, the entire fruit can be eaten; or it can be liquidized to make a refreshing drink or be used in ice creams. A little sugar or honey is often added.