We are independent & ad-supported. We may earn a commission for purchases made through our links.
Advertiser Disclosure
Our website is an independent, advertising-supported platform. We provide our content free of charge to our readers, and to keep it that way, we rely on revenue generated through advertisements and affiliate partnerships. This means that when you click on certain links on our site and make a purchase, we may earn a commission. Learn more.
How We Make Money
We sustain our operations through affiliate commissions and advertising. If you click on an affiliate link and make a purchase, we may receive a commission from the merchant at no additional cost to you. We also display advertisements on our website, which help generate revenue to support our work and keep our content free for readers. Our editorial team operates independently of our advertising and affiliate partnerships to ensure that our content remains unbiased and focused on providing you with the best information and recommendations based on thorough research and honest evaluations. To remain transparent, we’ve provided a list of our current affiliate partners here.

What is Sapodilla?

Tricia Christensen
By
Updated May 16, 2024
Our promise to you
DelightedCooking is dedicated to creating trustworthy, high-quality content that always prioritizes transparency, integrity, and inclusivity above all else. Our ensure that our content creation and review process includes rigorous fact-checking, evidence-based, and continual updates to ensure accuracy and reliability.

Our Promise to you

Founded in 2002, our company has been a trusted resource for readers seeking informative and engaging content. Our dedication to quality remains unwavering—and will never change. We follow a strict editorial policy, ensuring that our content is authored by highly qualified professionals and edited by subject matter experts. This guarantees that everything we publish is objective, accurate, and trustworthy.

Over the years, we've refined our approach to cover a wide range of topics, providing readers with reliable and practical advice to enhance their knowledge and skills. That's why millions of readers turn to us each year. Join us in celebrating the joy of learning, guided by standards you can trust.

Editorial Standards

At DelightedCooking, we are committed to creating content that you can trust. Our editorial process is designed to ensure that every piece of content we publish is accurate, reliable, and informative.

Our team of experienced writers and editors follows a strict set of guidelines to ensure the highest quality content. We conduct thorough research, fact-check all information, and rely on credible sources to back up our claims. Our content is reviewed by subject-matter experts to ensure accuracy and clarity.

We believe in transparency and maintain editorial independence from our advertisers. Our team does not receive direct compensation from advertisers, allowing us to create unbiased content that prioritizes your interests.

Sapodilla refers to the deliciously sweet tropical fruit with a caramel or cotton candy taste, and the tree that produces it. The tree may have originated in or near Mexico, and its scientific name is Manilkara zapota. There are many different names for the fruit, which is now grown not only in much of Mexico and islands like the Bahamas and the Virgin Islands, but also in India. In India the plant may be called the tree potato or buah chicku. The name chicle is common and varieties include chicoo and chicozapote. Other variant names are zapote, mispel, nispero, and neeseberry.

Tree potato perhaps best describes the look of sapodilla fruit. The outside skin, which is much harder than potato skin, has a tan or brown color. Shape varies, with oval and nearly round shapes the most common types. Length of each fruit also exhibits some range but is usually an average of two to four inches (5.08-10.16cm).

In tropical or near tropical climates, the tree fruits twice yearly. The sapodilla trees can grow exceptionally large, up to 100 feet (30.48 m) when fully mature. For those who would prefer a smaller tree, there are dwarf varieties, but these too may reach up to 26 feet (7.93 m) in height as they mature. The trees really do require tropical or near tropical temperatures, and in the US, the only place they tend to grow well is Florida.

Most sapodilla fruit contains seeds, and these should really be removed before consumption. The seeds have a small hook that can catch in the throat and cause choking. Commonly these seeds are large, noticeable and easy to remove when the fruit is cut in half.

Frequently, sapodilla is served by halving the fruit, and eating out the center with a spoon. The exterior of the fruit maintains a somewhat hard shell, which keeps structure nicely intact, perfect for scooping. It’s important to eat fruit that is fully ripe.

Unripe sapodilla contains tannins that can pucker the mouth. Most fruit is picked unripe, but does ripen off the tree, usually within a week. The fruit is ripe when it gives a little bit under pressure from the fingers, but you shouldn’t wait to serve it after it is ripe, because it can quickly become overripe and mushy. Generally a ripe fruit will keep for about a week without degrading, or you can extend keeping time by refrigerating it.

Some recipes make use of cooked sapodilla. Fruit pulp can be added to custard. In the Bahamas, crushed fruit is added to pancake batter for a sweet variation on an old favorite. The pulp could also be a great ingredient in smoothies, or made into dessert sauce. There even exists some recipes for sapodilla pie.

An important byproduct of M. zapota is chicle, a gummy resin that can be tapped from trees. This was often a primary choice for chewing gums, though it has been replaced to a certain extent by other materials. In the 1930s, sale of chicle was very high, and countries that grew large amount of these trees, especially Mexico, were exporting approximately 14 million pounds (about 6350 metric tons) of chicle on an annual basis.

DelightedCooking is dedicated to providing accurate and trustworthy information. We carefully select reputable sources and employ a rigorous fact-checking process to maintain the highest standards. To learn more about our commitment to accuracy, read our editorial process.
Tricia Christensen
By Tricia Christensen
With a Literature degree from Sonoma State University and years of experience as a DelightedCooking contributor, Tricia Christensen is based in Northern California and brings a wealth of knowledge and passion to her writing. Her wide-ranging interests include reading, writing, medicine, art, film, history, politics, ethics, and religion, all of which she incorporates into her informative articles. Tricia is currently working on her first novel.
Discussion Comments
Tricia Christensen
Tricia Christensen
With a Literature degree from Sonoma State University and years of experience as a DelightedCooking contributor, Tricia...
Learn more
DelightedCooking, in your inbox

Our latest articles, guides, and more, delivered daily.

DelightedCooking, in your inbox

Our latest articles, guides, and more, delivered daily.