The flavor of sapodilla appeals to practically everyone, and its best characterized as a pear drenched in brown sugar. They’re finest served chilled and halved or sliced into wedges. It’s tough and wind-resistant, with a thick layer of white, sticky latex. It can reach a height of 100 feet in the tropics, but graft cultivars are much shorter.
This Sapotaceae family member, often known as nispero or Chico sapote, is native to Mexico’s Yucatan Peninsula and Central America. The plants are now almost solely planted for commercial fruit production, but its sticky sap, known as latex, was prized by indigenous Americans. In reality, chewing gum (or ‘chicle’ in Spanish) originated from the sap.
Fruit is grown commercially in Mexico, Southeast Asia, and on a modest basis in south Florida. In the not-too-distant past, sapodilla fruit was typically spherical, gritty, and produced on very big trees. We now have fantastic oval or football-shaped cultivars with the texture of beautiful pear and tree sizes that may be adjusted to an individual’s specific demands.
Because the fruit is still rock-hard and there is no color break like with mangos, it can be difficult to identify when it should be harvested at first.
The fruit, on the other hand, has its own set of subtle signs. A grower can restrict the time frame down to eight to ten weeks by knowing the season in which a specific variety ripens. One of the best ways to detect ripeness is for a grower to become familiar with the size of a mature fruit over time. The texture of the fruit on the outside is another indicator. When the fruit is ready to pluck, it becomes smooth and even shiny in parts, whereas immature fruit is considerably rougher, like sandpaper. Once picked, the fruit takes four to five days to ripen, and they’re ready to eat when they’re soft to the touch.
Sapodilla Varieties You Should Know About
Some of the most common Sapodilla types have been mentioned below to assist you in selecting a variety that you can plant in your home garden and harvest throughout the fruiting season.
It was first grown in 1948. Fruit is medium to tiny, about 2 to 2-1/2 inches in length, and roughly spherical in shape. The skin is a pale, soiled brown. The flesh is pale brown in color, fragrant, juicy, and very sweet and rich, with a somewhat gritty texture. The quality is excellent. This cultivar grows on a tall, bushy tree. The fruit is granular in texture, sweet, juicy, and fragrant.
When mature, the flesh of the Prolific types of sapodilla is smooth pinkish-tan. The fruits are spherical to conical, long, and broad, and the hairy texture on the skin is likely to be lost. Trees carry a lot of weight. It’s sweet, juicy, and oh-so-delicious to eat. This variety’s tree delivers fruit early, regularly, and abundantly.
The Russel variety was first grown in 1935. It’s a huge, almost spherical fruit with a diameter of 3 to 5 inches and a length of 3 to 5 inches. It’s a moderately fragrant cultivar with a granular texture and a flavorful, sweet flavor. It has scruffy brown skin with gray spots. It ripens between December and March.
Tikal hails from Mexico as well. The fruit is oval in shape with a fat end at the top. This was one of the first commercial types planted in Florida, but its popularity has declined as larger, more prolific cultivars have become available. The size of the fruit varies, but it can grow to be as large as eleven ounces. The ripening season of Tikal is from December through March.
Alano is an oval-shaped Thai fruit that is widely considered to be the best sapodilla in the world. The fruit is extremely delicious and has the texture of a very fine pear. The trees yield a lot of medium-sized fruit that weighs about nine ounces on a regular basis. Aside from the excellent quality of the fruit, the tree is less brittle and has a smaller habit than other cultivars. Fruit ripening season is from November through June.
Hasya is a football-shaped fruit native to Mexico and the most widely produced commercial variety. The fruit has a reddish color throughout the flesh and is of good eating quality. The tree is a tall upright grower that produces enormous fruit that averages thirteen ounces in weight. Fruit ripens from November through June.
Makok is long and pointed and is one of the best-tasting Sapodillas in the world. Thailand is home to this species. This is a great kind for homeowners because the tree is quite compact, making it ideal for small places. Smooth and brown, the pulp has a delicious scent. It ripens from May until November.
Molix is a football-shaped Mexican fruit. In many aspects, this fruit is similar to Hasya, except it is darker brown on the outside and less red on the inside, and the tree has curled leaves. The pulp has a fine pear-like texture and a lovely scent, and it is incredibly sweet. The fruit is huge, weighing around thirteen ounces on average. The season, which begins in February and ends in May, is slightly different from Hasya’s.
Morena hails from Mexico. It’s a football-shaped fruit. Although this cultivar differs significantly in taste and appearance from the other Mexican cultivars, it out-produces them all. The fruit is not as enormous as Hasya or Molix, but they are still rather substantial, weighing up to twelve ounces. The fruit ripens from February through April.
Silas Wood Sapodilla
It’s a tiny fruit, weighing about 9 ounces. Silas Wood Sapodilla grows on dwarf trees. Mature trees are exceptionally cold-hardy, surviving in temperatures as low as 26 degrees Fahrenheit. They’re a prolific and heavy-bearing species. The Silas Wood fruits are exceptionally sweet, resembling brown sugar in flavor. White-colored flesh has an extremely delicate texture.
It is different from all other types of Sapodilla trees. The fruit is flattened at the margin, and the leaves are straight. The skin of the Ox Sapodilla is speckled, and the fruit is pale in color. The fruit produced by this tree is enormous. A single Sapodilla can weigh up to a pound! However, it is not a natural Sapodilla variety. It was created at the Florida Agricultural Experiment Station in Oxkutza.
Sapodillas, softly poached with whipped cream or an addition to any cheese or fruit dish, tastes absolutely delightful. Sapodillas thrive in a wide range of climates, from the humid tropics to the chilly and dry subtropics.
A good reason to plant a sapodilla tree is the fruit’s high nutritional value, which is made up of fructose and sucrose and is high in calories. Vitamins C and A, folate, niacin, pantothenic acid, and the minerals potassium, copper, and iron are all found in the fruit in abundance. You now have a better understanding of Sapodilla variations. So pick a variety that you think will thrive in your area and reap the benefits of a consistent supply of fresh, nutritious Sapodillas.