The sapodilla, (manikara zapota) is a Central American fruit. It is from areas such as Mexico, Belize, and north-east Guatemala. It is also known as chico, chico sapote, zapotillo, chicla, sapodilla plum, and naseberry. The sapodilla is related to sapotes, and is in the sapotaceae family. It got its name from the Aztecs: tzapotle. The Spanish then named it sapodilla.
The sapodilla was spread throughout the world by the Spanish. Its first stop was the Philippines. The sapodilla tree is an evergreen tree. It grows very tall, about 100 feet. It is a slow growing tree that lives a long time. The tree secrets white latex called chicle. Chicle is what is used to make chewing gum. The sapodilla tree produces about 2000- 3000 fruit a year. The wood of the tree is also used to make incense.
The sapodilla fruit is egg shaped and size. It is approximately 2 to 3 inches in diameter. It has grayish/ brown skin. The flesh is a translucent brownish yellow or reddish yellow. The flesh is slightly granular, similar to a pear’s flesh. It is very juicy and very fragrant.
Sapodillas taste like honey, apricots, crunchy brown sugar, or pears. In side there are 2 to 10 flat, rectangular seeds that are shiny black. Sometimes they are seedless. The sapodilla should be eaten when it is very ripe, if not, it is high in tannic acid.
Sapodillas like areas that are sunny and warm that does not frost. They are okay with a salt spray and high winds. They are in season from February to June. The sapodilla is very perishable, and does not ship well. Sapodillas contain fiber, potassium, vitamin C, sodium, and iron.
1 cup sugar
1/2 tsp salt
1 tsp ground cloves
1 1/2 cup mashed ripe sapodilla
1 cup milk
1 cup yogurt
3 Tbsp honey
1 tsp vanilla
1 unbaked 9” deep-dish pie shell
Preheat oven to 425°F. Mix sugar, salt and cloves in small dish. Beat eggs in large bowl. Stir in sapodilla and sugar/clove mixture. Gradually stir in milk, yogurt, honey and vanilla. Pour into pie shell. Bake 15 minutes; turn temperature down to 350°F and bake 20 to 30 minutes more or until firm. Serve with whipped cream.
Tropical Brandied Sapodilla Sherbet
1/2 cup milk
1 Tbsp honey
2 Tbsp brandy
1/2 cup sapodilla flesh
4 cups ice
Place all ingredients in blender and process until smooth. Serves 1.
© 2014 Chef Jennifer M. Denlinger All rights reserved
Please contact me for permission to use or reference this work.
Please contact me if you wish to receive “Food For Thought” in your mailbox.