May 24, 2009

The Yellow Sapote (Lucuma Salicifolia, Hbk.)

yellow sapote, fruits and health,
Yellow sapote available October through December, sapote fruit's peak season is in November.

Current Facts
There is a number of fruits called sapote or sapota in the markets. Although the white sapote is the most likely, there is a black sapote, a mamey sapote, green sapote and the yellow sapote. Others huddle under the entire family heading of "Sapotaceae". To make sense of it, all of these fruits originated in the same part of the world with the ancient word "tzapotl" which is "zapote" in modern Mexican and means merely a soft fruit. The modifying "colors" have little in common. To confuse the issue even further, the chupa-chupa (Quararibea cordata) is sometimes called sapote, too.

Resembling a green cooking apple with a slight point at the blossom end, sapote, pronounced sa-PO-tay, is about the size of an orange or a grapefruit. Its very thin skin may be bright green to canary yellow and bruises easily. Two to six flat inedible seeds, or seeds the size and shape of orange seeds, may be randomly embedded in its delicate custard-like flesh. Silky and creamy, the flesh offers a very sweet mild flavor offering a hint of apricot, banana, lemon, mango, vanilla, coconut, peaches, or caramel, depending on the variety. The skin is edible, but is slightly tart. A ripe sapote will yield to gentle thumb pressure, similar to a ripe plum.

Nutritional Value
White sapote is a good source of potassium, vitamin C, iron and dietary fiber. One medium-sized fruit contains about 135 calories. Eating five daily servings of fruits and vegetables lowers the chances of cancer. A recent study found that eating nine or ten daily servings of fruits and vegetables, combined with three servings of low-fat dairy products, were effective in lowering blood pressure.

Delicious eaten out of hand, this exceptional-tasting fruit is a super sweet addition to fruit salads. Sapote especially blends well with kiwifruit and fresh strawberries. Slice and serve with a squeeze of lime or lemon juice; top with whipped cream. For a tasty unusual beverage, puree; blend with orange juice. Pureed fruit may be served as a topping for other fruit. Note: This fruit should not be cooked. Unripe fruit ripens on the counter out of direct sunlight and it ripens quickly. Refrigerate when ripe in a paper or plastic bag not more than one week. Most varieties can be frozen but a few become bitter. Freeze whole wrapped in plastic. Half-thaw in refrigerator; scoop out like sherbet. Thawed fruit is perfect for parfaits, drinks, sauces and purees.

Ethnic/Cultural Info
The white sapote is a fruit whose name is in dispute. Calling this fruit simply sapote is incorrect. "Sapote", derived from the Mexican "zapote'" simply means "soft fruit". This fruit's proper name is "white sapote". The sorting of the number of varieties and grafts have prevented this fruit from becoming a commercial crop. White sapote trees get huge and old and can produce two to three tons of fruit per tree annually. Too large of fruits fall to the ground, the seeds get too large, blemished skin, flavor loss and rapid ripening are other problems for this fruit. Some drawbacks have been corrected and hopefully this likable fruit will soon be familar in the markets.

Growing wild in the forests of southern Mexico, white sapote can be traced back to the Aztecs and Mayans. Today, sapotes are cultivated in the tropics of India, Southeast Asia, the West Indies, Israel, and tropical areas of America. Sapotes have grown well in California since the early 1800's. (

May 11, 2009

Mango: The fruit of all seasons

mango, mangoes, fruits and health,
Now it is finally confirmed. In a survey I conducted recently, mango tops as the most favorite tropical fruit. More than 50 percent of the 70 respondents I interviewed via e-mail and text messaging have chosen mango as the fruit of all seasons.

Dr. Marimel Yap-Veloso, consultant ophthalmologist at the Asian Eye Institute in Makati City, reasons out: "Mango is sweet and satisfying and it has great texture, too! It's great on cakes, pies and as a juice or shake. It's a versatile fruit. The green variety is also delicious with fish and bagoong."

Lionel Tierra, a Filipino who now lives in California, prefer ripe mango. "It is succulent, sweet and heavenly to the taste," he wrote. "I've tried durian, star apple, and atis, among others, they are all very good to the taste, but mango, to me, is still the best. Mango is like my best friend and sweetheart. All other fruits are just good friends and acquaintances."

When it comes to mango, Philippine mangoes are the number one. "They are the best in the world," said Dr. Kenneth Y. Hartigan-Go, the executive director of The Zuellig Foundation, Inc. Dr Yap-Veloso echoed the same sentiment, "I've tried mangoes from Mexico and other countries, nothing comes close to the Philippine mango."

Larry Stoffel, an American who is married to a Filipino, confirmed this. "The rich juicy flavored mango from the Philippines is the most fantastic fruit I have ever tasted," he revealed. "It's true that we import mangoes from other countries but those imports cannot duplicate the mangoes I have eaten in Bohol.

I miss the mangoes and can't wait until I can have some more when I go back there."

Mango ranks third (after banana and pineapple) among fruit crops grown in the Philippines in terms of production, area and value. The Philippines is the seventh biggest mango producing country in the world next to India, China, Mexico, Thailand, Indonesia and Pakistan.

The Philippines is noted for its "Manila Super Mango" because of its taste which until now is "still unmatched." Former Agriculture Secretary Leonardo Q. Montemayor said the variety has found its way in the Guinness Book of World Records as the sweetest of its kind in the world.

Currently, the Department of Science and Technology (DOST) considers mango as "export winner." It is also one of the priority crops being supported by the major programs of the Department of Agriculture (DA) to ensure that necessary support will be made available for the development of the mango industry.

Mangoes are included among the high value crops to be given priority under the High Value Crop Law. In addition, the Philippine Mango Development Board (House Bill 933) implements programs that improve mango production and trading.

"If there is any kind of farming I would like to do in the Philippines, it would be farming mangoes," said a Filipino, who now lives in the United States. "I am simply addicted to it! I am of course talking strictly of the Philippine kind! I would like to have a whole orchard of it so that whenever the fancy strikes me, I would just go and pick them myself! And if I am to be a haciendero, I will only market premium Philippine mangoes because it is the best in the world! I would like to be known as the producer of the best Philippine mangoes and my mangoes will come wrapped in fancy packaging!"

Although the Philippines is a major mango exporting country, its average annual production of 1.4 million metric tons still lags behind India (10.8 million metric tons), China (3.62 million metric tons), Thailand (1.72 million metric tons), and Pakistan (1.7 million metric tons).

Neighboring Asian countries like Hong Kong and Singapore have long been importing the country's fresh mangoes. Other major markets of fresh mangoes from the Philippines are Japan, South Korea, New Zealand and lately Australia. Just recently, the country has been exporting mangoes to the United States.

For sure, the Philippine mango is one of the country's sources of pride. A ripe super mango emanates a sweet fragrance, reminding you of tropical summer breezes which sweep across warm, blue seas. No other mango has ever looked like this, bright yellow as the blazing afternoon sun, smooth to the tongue, and leaves a persistent craving for a next one. These are the images that only Philippine super mangoes can evoke.

"Mango has three times the vitamin C of a single orange or apple and important minerals essential to prevent cancer and other diseases," hails Dr. Martin Hirte, a German health food researcher and pediatrician.

The German physician also found that mango contains minerals that are vital for pregnant mothers and stressed-out people. "The calcium and magnesium of mango relaxes the muscles, relieves stress and prevents miscarriage," Dr. Hirte wrote in his research paper entitled, The Benefits of Mango for Human Health.

Ripe mangoes are eaten fresh as a dessert or processed into dried mangoes, puree, juice, concentrate, shakes, and many more. When eaten green, they are a tasty treat for lovers of sour fruits as they are usually dipped in salt, fermented fish, or shrimp (bagoong). Green mangoes are also pressed into juice and shakes.

Mango is also used to make juices, both in ripe and unripe form. Pieces of fruit can be mashed and used in ice cream or blended with milk and ice to make thick milkshakes. In Thailand and other Southeast Asian countries, sweet glutinous rice is flavored with coconut then served with sliced mango on top as a dessert.(
By Henrylito D. Tacio,

Carambola Fruits

carambola, fruits and health, dailyfruits.blogspot.comCarambola was originally a Portuguese name, and goes back to the Sanskrit "karmara", which means 'food appetizer'. The Latin name for this family comes from Averroes, the famous Moorish philosopher, doctor, and astronomer who lived in Cordoba, Spain, in the 12th century. To the English living in southern Asia, the carambola was known as the Coromandel gooseberry. The settlers in southern China dubbed it the Chinese gooseberry and learned that the Chinese name for it was "yang t'ao", meaning 'goat peach'. But, when the Chinese from the north used the same name for the kiwi fruit, they simply transferred their English name to the carambola. Even today, the term Chinese gooseberry may get you a kiwi fruit in London and a carambola in Hong Kong.

Carambola, Starfruit, five-corners, five-fingers, barbadine, granadilla (West Indies), carambole (French), Carambola (German), carambola (Spanish/Portuguese), kamrakh (Hindi), karamanga/yeongtoh (foreign peach)(Sri Lanka), belimbing manis (Malay/Indonesian), ma fueang (Thai), gorenshi (Japanese), (Averrhoa carambola -- Family Oxalidaceae)

Carambolas originated in the Malay Archipelago between South-East Asia and Australia. They are now grown in Africa, Brazil, the West Indies, and the US. They are a good source of Vitamin C, along with some potassium, niacin, and phosphorus. The Javanese propagate the trees by 'air-layering', a technique which involves making a parcel of soil around a branch so that it takes root and can be cut off and planted. Growing the fruit from seed may produce a sour-fruited tree. This does not appeal to the Javanese, who like to eat the fruit as a dessert and as sweet as possible. The ridges are removed before the fruit is eaten fresh, but the fruit can also be cooked. The Chinese and the Indians use the unripe fruit as a vegetable and the ripened fruit as dessert.

Resembling an elongated Chinese lantern, the fruit may be up to five inches long, with five prominent ridges running its length so that, when cut crosswise, it is a perfect star shape. When ripe, the fruit has a waxy orange-yellow skin with crisp yellow juicy flesh. Although the flavor is less exciting than its appearance, it is still fresh and juicy to eat. Some are more flavorful than others, but there is no way of telling from the outside. There are numerous varieties that exhibit different degrees of sourness and sweetness. The best seem to be those which have a relatively high content of ascorbic acid and only a little oxalic acid. A good carambola will be sweet and tangy enough to eat on its own, complete with skin; but it does make a good decoration, mixed with other tropical fruits, or made into jams.

A relative of the carambola, the bilimbi (Averrhoea bilimbi), closely resembles the carambola, but is always green in colour, earning it the nickname of the cucumber tree fruit. It can only be eaten cooked in a sugary syrup or as a preserve. Unriped carambolas can be used in a similar fashion. When the carambola is green, the astringency is at its peak, making it good for pickles or, as in Asia, to clean copper and brassware. The goraka is another relative of the carambola. It is the fruit of a small tree, Garcinia cambogia, and used as a flavoring, thickening, and souring agent in Sri Lanka. The fruit is about the size of an orange, yellow or orange in colour, and fluted on the outside. The interior is divided into segments which are sun-dried and stored turning black as they dry. (

May 7, 2009

What is Canistel?

Canistel fruit comes from the canistel tree, an evergreen tree that grows as far north as Mexico and as far south as Brazil. Canistel fruit is often referred to colloquially as “eggfruit.” When ripe, it is said to have a texture similar to that of a thoroughly cooked egg yolk. The meat of the fruit is sweet and edible raw.

The exterior of a canistel fruit is a glossy skin that, upon ripening, varies in yellow and orange tones. Canistel fruit is soft, rather than crisp, and it is not particularly juicy. Inside of the fruit are a few large glossy black or dark brown seeds. Some have likened canistel fruits to persimmons.

Although canistel fruits are not readily available in most markets in North America, they are available in Florida. The flesh of canistel fruits are sometimes incorporated into desserts, such as ice creams and puddings, buy Floridian chefs. They fruit is also enjoyed when tossed with mayonnaise, salt, pepper, and a citrus juice such as lemon or lime. This recipe can be enjoyed either raw or lightly baked.

Canistel milkshakes are also enjoyed in Florida. These milkshakes are sometimes referred to as “eggfruit nog.” In fact, some people have actually replaced pumpkin filling with canistel pulp in pumpkin pie recipes. Such pies are purported to be quite delicious. In places where the fruit is plentiful, they are also incorporates into muffins, pancakes, and even spreads for toast.

Like most fruits, canistel fruits are rich in a number of vitamins and nutrients. They are particularly rich in carotene and niacin. They also have a good amount of ascorbic acid. Although they are not particularly common in most of North America, many food scientists and nutritionists feel that they are a very healthy food, and should be incorporated into the diet if possible.

One of the reasons that canistel fruits are not readily available in North America is that it is difficult to grow them here. Canistel fruits cannot tolerate cold temperatures. Although they can grow in some parts of Florida, they have never been able to flourish in California. Because they have not become widely popular, they are not imported for distribution throughout markets in the northern states. If you are interested in sampling a canistel, you may have to take a trip to Florida, Mexico, or South America. (

May 5, 2009

Nutritional Value of Egg fruit

Egg fruit Varieties. There are apparently no named cultivars but certain types are so distinct as to have been recorded as different species in the past. The spindle-shaped form (called mammee sapota or eggfruit) was the common strain in the Bahamas for many years, at least as far back as the 1920's. The rounded, broader form began to appear in special gardens in the 1940's, and the larger types were introduced from Florida in the 1950's

In 1945, large, handsome, symmetrical fruits were being grown under the names Lucuma salicifolia and yellow sapote at the Agricultural Research and Education Center and at Palm Lodge Tropical Grove, Homestead, Florida, but these were soon classified as superior strains of canistel. Some fruits are muskier in odor and flavor than others, some are undesirably dry and mealy, some excessively sweet. An excellent, non-musky, fine-textured, rounded type of medium size has been selected and grown by Mr. John G. DuPuis, Jr., at his Bar-D Ranch in Martin County. It is well worthy of dissemination. There is considerable variation as to time of flowering and fruiting among seedling trees.

Food Uses The fact that the egg fruit is not crisp and juicy like so many other fruits seems to dismay many who sample it casually. Some take to it immediately. During World War II when RAF pilots and crewmen were under training in the Bahamas, they showed great fondness for the egg fruit and bought all they could, find in the Nassau market.

Some Floridians enjoy the fruit with salt, pepper and lime or lemon juice or mayonnaise, either fresh or after light baking. The pureed flesh may be used in custards or added to ice cream mix just before freezing. A rich milkshake, or "eggfruit nog", is made by combining ripe egg fruit pulp, milk, sugar, vanilla, nutmeg or other seasoning in an electric blender.

The late Mrs. Phyllis Storey of Homestead made superb 'mock-pumpkin" pie with 1 1/2 cups mashed egg fruit pulp, 2/3 cup brown sugar, 1/2 teaspoon salt, 1/4 teaspoon nutmeg, 1 teaspoon lime juice, 2 beaten eggs, 2 cups evaporated milk or light cream. The mixture is poured into one crust and baked for 1 hr at 250º F (121º C).

Others have prepared egg fruit pancakes, cupcakes, jam, and marmalade. Mrs. Gladys Wilbur made egg fruit "butter" by beating the ripe pulp in an electric blender, adding sugar, and cooking to a paste, with or without lemon juice. She used it as a spread on toast. The fruit could also be dehydrated and reduced to a nutritious powder as is being done with the lucmo (q.v.) and this might well have commercial use in pudding mixes.

Food Value Egg fruits are rich in niacin and carotene (provitamin A) and have a fair level of ascorbic acid. The following analyses show that the egg fruit excels the glamorized carambola (Averrhoa carambola L.) in every respect except in moisture and fiber content, and riboflavin.

Food Value Per 100 g of Edible Portion*

60.6 g
1.68 g
0.13 g
36.69 g
0.10 g
0.90 g
26.5 mg
37.3 mg
0.92 mg
0.32 mg
0.17 mg
0.01 mg
3.72 mg
Ascorbic Acid
58.1 mg
Amino Acids:

28 mg
13 mg
84 mg
*According to analyses made at the Laboratorio FIM de Nutricion in Havana.

Other Uses extracted from the tree in Central America has been used to adulterate chicle. The timber is fine-grained, compact, strong, moderately to very heavy and hard, and valued especially for planks and rafters in construction. The heartwood is grayish-brown to reddish-brown and blends into the sapwood which is somewhat lighter in color. The darker the color, the more resistant to decay.


Medicinal Uses: A decoction of the astringent bark is taken as a febrifuge in Mexico and applied on skin eruptions in Cuba. A preparation of the seeds has been employed as a remedy for ulcers.

In 1971, a pharmaceutical company in California was exploring a derivative of the seed of Pouteria sapota (mamey, q.v.) which seemed to be active against seborrheic dermatitis of the scalp. Since they were having difficulty in procuring sufficient seeds for study, I suggested that they test the more readily available seeds of the egg fruit. They found these acceptable and were pursuing the investigation when last heard from.(