29 June 2008

Yummy Sapota

Recently found out that Papaya is not indigenous to India and is an import from Mexico, but was even more surprised to learn that lovely, delicious Sapota is also not native to this country and hails from Central America. The Sapota tree is commonly cultivated throughout Thiruvannamalai District and can often be seen in gardens and compounds. I even planted some sapota seeds a few weeks ago, and eventually hope to have my own fully grown fruit-bearing trees – yummy!

The tree grows to 60 ft and yields large quantities of fruit twice a year. The Sapota has a high latex content and does not ripen until picked. The fruit is about the size of a potato, greenish-brown in colour, and rough-skinned, the seeds are black and resemble beans, with a hook at one end that can catch in the throat if swallowed. Inside, the pulp is sweet, tasty and soft and been compared to caramel.

As well as fruit, the tree produces strong, long-lasting timber which is often used for cabinet making. Its sap, which becomes solid when boiled, provides a type of non-elastic rubber used for making shoe soles. It is also used as chewing gum (chicle) and in fact Chicle gum was even known to the Aztecs.


Anonymous said...

It is also known as "Chikoo" in northern India. Chikoo Milk Shake, and Chikoo ice-creame are very famous in the country.

Thank you for this informative post.

Meenakshi Ammal said...

I have now made a very nice link of an excellent website of Indian Vegetarian Cooking - which also gives a great receipe for Sapota (Chikoo) Milk Shake. Thanks for the information.