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The Mamey sapote is a medium to large-sized fruit with an ovoid shape. It contains a large central pit, quite similar to an avocado. The fruit's skin is almost bark-like with a sand paper texture (and color) protecting the fruit's flesh with its defensive shell. When ripe, the flesh is a vibrant salmon color, its texture soft and succulent with a melting quality. The flavor of the Mamey sapote is delicate yet distinctive, revealing notes of baking spices such as vanilla and nutmeg with sub-acid undertones of pumpkin, banana, pear and apricot. Inside the large central pit is the fruit's seed, which is compared to having the appearance and flavor of almond, though it should not be eaten raw.
Available sporadically, look for Mamey sapote from spring into the fall.
Mamey sapote is the common name given to the fruit, Pouteria sapota. In Cuba it is known simply as Mamey, which tends to confuse it with a West Indian fruit, Mammea americana, which is also referred to as Mamey. There are at least thirteen known varieties of the Pouteria sapota, only a few of those varieties selected for their superior fruit qualities.
The first step in utilizing the Mamey sapote is to remove its rough peel. The skin is generally scored at its apex end and peeled in strips. Ripe fruits can be eaten fresh. Mamey sapote is synonymous with Latin cuisine as a winter fruit. It is traditionally used to make ice cream or batidos, which are cold milkshakes made with milk, ice, Mamey, vanilla and nutmeg. The Mamey sapote is also stewed and used for making wine. It can be preserved and jammed, used in baked goods such as breads, pies, tarts and cakes, and added raw to fresh salads. The flavor of the fruit is enhanced by spices such as ginger, vanilla, nutmeg, honey and cloves. Its seed is boiled with herbs, smoked over a wood fire, and used to flavor mole. It is also used to make chocolate drinks.
Mamey is native to Mexico and Central America where it still grows prolifically today. In other countries, the trees bark is harvested for tinder. The first Mamey sapote fruit was brought into the United States to Florida in 1887. Despite favorable trials and exceptional fruit production, only scatterings of Mamey sapote tree orchards would evolve over the next century. Currently, in the very same state, small Mamey sapote farms are under the threat of becoming endangered due to uncontrolled land development, hurricane damage and escalating land prices. As with most fruit trees, Mamey sapote is propagated by grafting, which ensures that new plants have the same characteristics as the parent, especially its fruit. This method also induces far quicker fruit bearing crops.
Recipes that include Mamey Sapote. One is easiest, three is harder.
|Tasty Kitchen||Best Ever Helado de Mamey|
|From Calculus to Cupcakes||Mamey Pops & Ice Cream|
|Tinkering with Dinner||Mamey Sapote Ice Cream|
|Karma Free Cooking||Mamey Milkshake|
|Cook Almost Anything||Mamey Sapote Smoothie|
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