GENUS AND SPECIES:
Ebenaceae (persimmon fruit)
Mexico and Central America
OTHER NAMES IN THE WORLD:
Chocolate fruit, chocolate pudding fruit, black soapapple, black persimmon
Black sapote fruits are shaped and sized like a large slicing tomato. The stem end looks similar to that of an orange persimmon. The skin is bright green when unripe, but turns dull green
and variegated with dark brown or black marks as it ripens, turning completely dark greenish-brown when fully ripened. The flesh is dark brown when ripe. Although some cultivars have seeds, the black sapote fruits available in the Cayman Islands generally do not have seeds.
When the skin starts to darken and the fruit is soft to the touch, the flesh has a dry, pasty texture similar to cooked sweet potato or dense chocolate mousse. When the skin turns dark, the flesh moistens and becomes soft and less dense, like custard.
Black sapote flesh contains tannins, making it very astringent and bitter when unripe. When ripe, but not fully ripe, the mild flesh tastes of semi-sweet chocolate with a hint of green tea. When fully ripened, it’s sweeter, but still not very sweet, and tastes more chocolate-like.
NUTRITION AND HEALTH BENEFITS:
Although low in calories, black sapote is rich in vitamin C, vitamin A and potassium. The fruit is also a good source of dietary fibre and can help relieve constipation. Black sapote also contains carotenoids and catechins that induce the release of fat from the fat cells and help the liver to convert fat into energy.
HOW TO CONSUME:
Cut in half and remove flesh from skin with a spoon. The skin of fully ripened black sapote will be very soft, making it difficult to remove the flesh without getting some of the skin as well. The flesh can be eaten as is or can be added to smoothies or milkshakes with some vanilla extract, chocolate syrup, ice cream, rum or Kahlua. Fully ripened black sapote can be eaten as a pudding or mousse and some cocoa powder can be added to give it a more chocolaty taste.
The yellow wood of a black sapote tree, which can grow up to 80 feet tall, is considered highly valuable for fine cabinet work.