This guide to the sapote fruit — both mamey and white varieties, provides a brief introduction to this unusual produce. You’ll find ways to use both types of sapote, with serving suggestions and links to recipes.
Although they share the same sapote label, mamey sapotes and white sapotes look and taste quite different. Both sapote and cherimoya are sometimes referred to as “custard apple” in the produce industry, though in both cases, this isn’t accurate.
What about black sapote? It’s name would imply that it’s related to the sapote varieties featured here, but it’s related to an entirely different family of fruits, a close cousin of persimmons. So it’s a topic for different, and hopefully future discussion.
The following information and tips are adapted from Melissa’s Great Book of Produce by Cathy Thomas, reprinted with permission of Melissa’s Produce.
The crisp, apple-like flesh that surrounds white sapote’s seeds is the whitest of white. Its custardy tastes like a combination of mango, peach, and banana, with a subtle hint of vanilla or coconut.
The fruit looks something like a green-skinned apple that is gently pointed at one end. Seeds are inedible, and although the skin can be eaten, it is generally sour. Make sure to choose fruit with no visible bruises.
BUYING AND STORING WHITE SAPOTE
Ripe fruit will yield to gentle pressure like a plum. Ripen at room temperature for 1 to 2 days. Refrigerate loose in crisper drawer up to 14 days. Domestically, white sapote is available year-round, with a peak in September through February.
Look for this fruit in specialty produce markets, though you’ll likely have more luck finding and ordering white sapotes via online sources such as Melissa’s Produce.
PREP FOR WHITE SAPOTE
Cut in half crosswise and scoop out flesh, discarding seeds. The skin is edible, but it can be somewhat tart.
Usually quite large, mamey sapote are football-shaped and covered with rough skin that looks like the surface of a brown coconut. Inside, bright salmon-orange flesh surrounds an impressively large black seed. This fruit is native to Mexico, Central America, and the Caribbean.
The texture is avocado-like and the taste is a blend of peach, apricot, and raspberry. Seeds and skin are inedible.
BUYING AND STORING MAMEY SAPOTE
Ripe fruit will yield to gentle pressure like a ripe plum. Ripen at room temperature up to 3 days.
Refrigerate ripe fruit loose in the crisper drawer for up to 1 week. It freezes well. The season is from July through October.
Like white sapotes this fruit may be found in specialty produce markets, but may be easier to find and via online sources such as Melissa’s Produce.
Here’s more detailed information on Mamey Sapote.
PREP FOR MAMEY SAPOTE
Cut in half lengthwise and scoop out flesh, discarding the skin and large seed.
Mamey sapote is a bit more caloric than many fruits, but one cup of the raw fruit is a fantastic source of fiber, vitamins B6, C, E, and others. Notable minerals include copper and potassium. Find its complete nutritional profile here. White sapote has a fairly similar profile, and is particularly rich in antioxidants.
Photo: Melissa’s Produce
SERVING SUGGESTIONS FOR SAPOTE FRUIT
General uses: Both varieties can be eaten raw out of hand, cut in half, pitted, and scooped from their skin with a small spoon. Squeeze a little fresh lime juice on top for best flavor. Either variety is great used in icy blender cocktails and shakes.
Sapote smoothie: In a blender, combine 6 ice cubes, 1/2 cup vegan creamer (such as oat creamer) 1 cup sapote (either variety, peeled, seeded, diced), 1 teaspoon vanilla extract, and 1/4 to 1/2 cup plant-based milk. Whirl until smooth, then pour into 2 tumblers. For a slightly more substantial smoothie, add half of a ripe banana.
Freezer pleaser: Freeze ripe, halved sapotes (either variety) in an airtight container. For serving, leave at room temperature for about 20 minutes and eat like sorbet. Cut in half, remove pit and spoon semi-frozen flesh from the skin with a small spoon.
Frozen yogurt popsicles: Here’s a recipe for Sapote and Yogurt Paletas; simply swap in plant-based yogurt.
Fruit salad: Cut ripe sapote (either variety, peeled and seeded) into bite-sized chunks. Gently toss with kiwi slices (peeled) and fresh berries (or really, any fruit you happen to have on hand.. Sprinkle with minced fresh mint and natural granulated sugar (or orange liqueur). Toss very gently and chill for an hour or more. Serve in chilled martini glasses garnished with small sprigs of fresh mint.
Sapote dessert sauce: Place about 2 cups ripe sapote chunks (either variety, peeled and seeded) in food processor fitted with metal blade. Add 2 tablespoons honey (lavender honey), or for vegans, agave or maple syrup. Add 1 teaspoon finely grated fresh or bottled ginger. Process until puréed. Spoon around warm gingerbread or dense chocolate cake.
Roasted fruit: Here’s a simple idea — bring out a warm savor by roasting. Try Roasted Mamey Sapote.
- Explore our roundup of 12 Unusual and Exotic Fruits to Try at Least Once.
- See more of this site’s Good Food Guides.
Melissa’s Great Book of Produce by Cathy Thomas
is available wherever books are sold