Mamey Sapote: Fruit Used For Ice Cream

Mamey sapote, also known as mamey colorado or sapote, is a tropical berry fruit that is produced by the mamey sapote tree, whose scientific name is pouteria sapota. Although this tree is native to Mexico and Central America, it is also found in Puerto Rico, Cuba, the Dominican Republic, South America, and Florida, USA. The mamey sapota tree is a tall tree with large spreading leaves and small white flowers. It thrives only in regions where the temperature does not fall below 28ºF. In favorable conditions, it grows to heights that can average approximately 50 feet. In order to bear their fruit, mamey sapota trees must be mature, which they become after the age of seven years. Once the trees mature, they produce approximately 250 to 500 mamey sapote fruits per year.

The mamey sapote fruit is oval shaped, similar to a football, and is 3-8 inches in length. Additionally, its skin is thick, woody, and brown in color, and its flesh has an orange/reddish tint. Mamey sapote fruit can also weigh anywhere from 1-5 lbs. Within the fruit, a single large pit typically exists. However, more than one pit may be found inside the fruit. Although you can eat mamey sapote raw, you must first remove its skin and any pits inside. Because mamey sapote fruit has a sweet almond-like taste, raw mamey sapote is usually eaten with sugar.

You can purchase mamey sapote fruit in many specialty stores and some grocery chains from January to April and from June to September. When purchasing mamey sapote, make sure that its skin is free of blemishes and that it is firm and ripe. You will know when a mamey sapote is ripe by looking near its stem for a small cut. This cut allows you to view inside to the mamey sapote's flesh. If the inside flesh is green in color, the mamey sapote is not ripe. A ripe mamey sapote should have an inner flesh that is red/brown in color. Although you can purchase unripe mamey sapotes, to ripen them at your home you will need to leave them exposed to air at room temperature until the fruit softens a bit and the inner flesh is no longer green in color. For ripened mamey sapotes, you can safely store them in your home for up to one week provided that the fruit is refrigerated.

Although mamey sapote fruit can be eaten raw, popular uses for it include adding it to fruit salads, desserts, milk shakes and other fruit drinks made in a blender. It is also used commercially by some dairy product manufacturers to produce an exotic, tropical flavored ice cream. Because of its interesting taste and texture, the mamey sapote fruit is rapidly gaining in popularity for cooking purposes. Additionally, mamey sapote is high in vitamins A and C as well as in potassium. It is also an excellent source of dietary fiber. Regarding caloric content, one cup of mamey sapote contains approximately 135 calories.

The mamey sapote fruit can be used as a tasty addition to many desserts and drinks. Its appearance in markets and in commercial products will continue to increase because of this fruit's nutritional benefits and its exotic appeal to chefs.

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