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Sapodilla are available in spring time and can be found online from small farms that ship their specialty fruit or possibly at a local farmers market.
Sapodilla, botanically known as Manilkara zapota, is also known as Chico sapote, Zapotillo, Chicle, and in India is known as Chikoo. The Sapodilla tree is a slow growing evergreen and has long been cultivated not only for the tropical fruit it produces but for the latex extracted from the bark of the tree known as chicle, an ingredient that is commonly used to make chewing gum.
Sapodillas are round to almond in shape and when mature are around three to five inches long and two to four inches wide. The skin is inedible and is smooth and covered in a fuzzy brown coat. When ripe its flesh is yellow orange to red brown in color with a soft and juicy texture. The center of the fruit contains a seed cavity, which holds between three and twelve smooth and flat brown seeds. The seeds are also inedible. A Sapodilla’s flavor is sweet due to the existence of high quantities of fructose and sucrose. Its texture and flavor has been compared to that of pear. Sapodillas should be allowed to ripen at room temperature and are ready to eat when firm with a slight give to them, similar to that of a ripe mango.
Chikoo as it is known in India is used for its anti-inflammatory benefits. It is also a good source for dietary fiber. In Indian medicinal practices it is used for its anti-viral, and anti-bacterial properties as well.
Sapodillas are most commonly enjoyed fresh, simply served halved and the flesh eaten straight from the skin. They are excellent chilled or at room temperature. Sapodilla flesh can be used in both fruit and green salads. Puree cooked or raw Sapodilla to make sauces and syrups. Add pureed fruit to custards, puddings and whipped cream. Add to batter for pancakes, muffins and quick breads. Slice and use in a tart or pie. Be sure to remove the seeds before serving. Once ripe keep Sapodillas in the refrigerator and use within a week.
Sapodilla trees are believed to be native to Southern Mexico and the Yucatan. They have been grown throughout Central America since ancient times and can also be found growing in the West Indies, Bermuda, the Philippines and the Florida Keyes. Today India and Mexico rank highest in regards to land acreage devoted to cultivation. Sri Lanka, Venezuela, Guatemala and the Philippines also contribute significantly to the commercial supply. Sapodilla trees prefer warm and sunny locations and will do well in both humid and dry climates.
Recipes that include Sapodilla. One is easiest, three is harder.
|Ma Recipes||Sapodilla Milk Shake|
|Market Manila||Sapodilla Sorbet a la Marketman|
People have spotted Sapodilla using the Specialty Produce app for iPhone and Android.
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