Sapodilla or Chikoo | What is Sapodilla (chikoo) fruit | Health Benefits of chikoo fruit (Sapodilla) | Varieties of Sapodilla (Sapota) | Nutritional Value of Chikoo (Sapodilla)
Sapodilla or the Manilkara Zapota is an ever green tree, which is long living and is native to the new world tropics.
Sapodilla (Manilkara achras [Mill. (Fosberg)]) is a long-lived, evergreen tree native to southern Mexico, Central America and the West Indies. It is grown in huge quantities in India, Mexico and was introduced to the Philippines during Spanish colonisation.
It is known by the name of chikoo or chiku, or chickoo in India. South Asia and Pakistan. An average Sapodilla tree grows to about 30-40m in height. The bark of the tree contains a white gummy latex called the chicle.
The sapodilla trees bear fruit twice a year, thour they flower all year round. The fruit, which grows has a brown skin, resembling a potato. It grows to about 4-8 cm in diameter, and may contain 2-10 seeds. Sapodilla has a high latex content, and does not ripen until picked. It is extremely sweet to taste, and tastes very much like cotton candy or caramel and has a grainy texture.
Varieties of Sapodilla or Sapota:
As chikoos/sapodillas grow in abundance in India, therefore the maximum number of varieties can be accredited to the country. Some of the most commonly grown varieties include:
1. Brown Sugar: Introduced in the year 1948, the fruit is medium small and is 2-2.5 inches long. The tree bearing this variety is tall and bushy. The fruit is granular, sweet, juicy and extremely fragrant.
2. Prolific: Introduced in 1951, it is a round conical fruit with a scruffy brown skin. The flesh has a pinkish tan and is mildly fragrant. It is sweet, juicy and extremely delicious to taste. The tree bearing this variety bears fruits early, consistently and heavily.
3. Russel: The russel variety was introduced in the year 1935. It is a large, almost round fruit, which ranges from around 3 to 5 inches in diameter and length. It is a mildly fragrant variety, has a granular texture and is flavour rich and sweet.
4. Tikal: This variety of sapodilla is elieptical in shape, light brown in colour and is often smaller than the prolific variety. The tikal variety ripens early and has an excellent flavour.
Uses of Sapota Fruit (Chikoo):
* A dessert fruit, ripe sapodillas can be cut into half and served chilled. The flesh can be scooped out from the skin, which is not eaten. The seeds too need to be scooped out before the fruit is consumed.
* The flesh of the fruit can also be added to fresh salads to give them a great taste and flavour.
* A wonderful dessert sauce can be made from sapodillas. The flesh is removed from the skin and the seeds removed, then the flesh is blended with orange juice to form a smooth sauce. Then whipped cream is added as a topping and served chilled.
* Flesh of spaodilla is added to the custard batter mix, before baking it, in order to give it a distinct flavour
* It was long believed that chickoo could neither be cooked, nor could be preserved, but in many countries like Indonesia and Malaya, it is fried and sometimes stewed with lime juice and ginger. In the Bahamas, the ripe fruits are cut, strained, boiled and then preserved as a syrup.
* Sapodilla pie, was the invention of a lady in Florida, which became an instant hit. She cut the sapodilla into apple like pieces and placed them on the lower crust of the pie, she then sprinkled lime juice and sugar to prevent the chickoo pieces from becoming rubbery.
* A man in Trinidad was more adventurous and made wine out of the fruit.
* Young and leafy shoots of the sapodilla plant are eaten raw or steamed with rice in Indonesia, after getting rid of the sticky sap.
Other Uses of chikoo fruit (Sapodilla):
* The bark of sapodilla tree is rich in white, gummy latex called chicle (contains 15% rubber and 38% resin). This milky sap is the main ingredient in the manufacture of chewing gum which gives the tree its main importance there.
* The sapodilla tree is valued for its hard, heavy and durable wood which is use for building homes and furniture, tool handles, carts, etc.
* It has a high tannin content which makes it useful as a source of dyes.
Health Benefits of Chikoo or Sapota (Sapodilla) Fruit:
The chickoo fruit as well as the tree have medicinal benefits and various parts of the plant are used in home remedies to cure health problems.
** Chickoo is high in tanning. So, it is believed that when chickoo is boiled with water, the decoction is good for curing diarrhea.
** A mixture made of chickoo flowers and fruits can bring relief and can prevent pulmonary problems.
** A concoction made with the old chickoo leaves can prevent cough and cold as well as diarrhea.
** Some people prepare a tea with the bark of the sapodilla or the chickoo tree to cure dysentery and diarrhea.
Powered by Facebook Comments