Mamey Sapote, Pouteria sapota, is native to Southern Mexico, Belize and Northern Guatemala, but is now cultivated in much of the Caribbean, Central America and South Florida. The evergreen tree is beautiful and can grow to be 60 – 140 feet tall. The fruits are round to ovoid, and are four to ten inches in size. The fruit has dark brown, rough, sandpapery skin and a beautiful, creamy orange interior. The fruit is soft, smooth, creamy and dense. The texture is similar to an avocado or a cooked sweet potato. It has a slight almond undertone to it. It contains one dark brown seed.
There are a number of varieties of sapote, including chico or green sapote. While similar in appearance, the interior of the fruit can vary in color from yellow to brown. We had a chico sapote tree in our garden in Guatemala. When it ripened, our dogs nearly fought one another for the fruits, which they adored. They never told us why they loved them so much, but after eating one, they would carry the seed around in their mouths for hours.
The sapote family produce chicle, the base for chewing gum. The fruit is eaten out-of-hand, in fruit salads, and made into milkshakes and smoothies.
The fruit has been used medicinally, as an antiseptic, and has been used in traditional medicine in Cuba and Latin America. It is considered by some to be an aphrodisiac.
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