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Sapodilla Achras (manilkara) zapota

Photo Credit: Ian Maguire

The sapodilla has been a staple in latin and asian cuisine for hundreds of years, but is not as popular here in the United States. It’s sweet taste and pear like texture offer a unique treat for you to try as a fruit to eat out of hand, or to use in dessert dishes. You will find sapodillas mostly in latin and asian markets today, but some U.S. retail grocers are beginning to recognize this delicious fruit and are stocking it in their produce department.  To be sure of the freshest sapodillas, order your sapodillas  from our Florida farms by contacting one of our tropical fruit growers here on our website.

Below are some tips to help you enjoy your sapodillas at their best!

Selecting fruit

Sapodillas are picked from the trees when they are mature, but not ripe. This means that the fruit has reached its full size and shape, but the starches inside the fruit have not yet converted to sugar. When those starches have changed into sugars, usually over a few days of sitting on the kitchen counter, the fruit will soften and emit a pleasant aroma.

At the market, look for sapodillas that are free of soft spots, and are not mishapened. Next, check that the fruit is mature. To do this, gently scrape a tiny scratch on the sapodilla skin with your fingernail, noting the color of the flesh underneath. If that flesh is a deep green, then that fruit is NOT mature and will not ripen into a sweet fruit no matter how long you keep it on the counter. If the flesh color has a hint of yellow – even with some green, then that fruit is mature and will be able to ripen at home on the counter.


Ripening

When you have selected a mature sapodilla, place it on the counter to ripen in the warmth of the kitchen. You can also place it in a paper bag to ripen the fruit a bit earlier. It will usually take about 3-5 days to ripen. Sapodillas are ripe when they are soft, like a peach, and have a lovely, sweet aroma.


Handling

To eat sapodillas, either cut across the middle of the fruit, remove the seeds, and spoon out the flesh, or using a sharp knife or potato peeler, remove the skin to reveal the flesh inside. The skin and seeds of the sapodilla are not edible.


Storage

A ripen sapodilla will keep in the refrigerator in a plastic bag or container for about a week. It is possible to delay the ripening of sapodillas by placing the unripe but mature fruit in a plastic container in the refrigerator, and then take it out to ripen on the counter, but you will loose some quality in the fruit.

You can also freeze sapodillas, but the consistency will change a bit and be best suited for use in ice creams, pudding and syrup type dishes.


Recipes

Sapodillas have been described as tasting like a pear covered in brown sugar! These sweet fruits go great in fruit salads, flans, sweet breads, ice creams and puddings.

Below are several recipes for you to enjoy.


Sapodilla Brandy Smoothie (one serving)

Recipe from Fairchild Tropical Gardens

½ cup milk

1 Tbsp honey

1 tsp brandy

½ cup sapodilla pulp

4 cups ice

Place the ingredients in a blender and mix until smooth.


Sapodilla Pie

Recipe from Fairchild Tropical Gardens

1 cup sugar

½ tsp salt

1 tsp ground cloves

3 eggs

1½ 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.