White sapote is from Mexico, Central and South America. The white sapote is actually closely related to citrus fruit. This can be confusing because the black sapote is closely related to the persimmon, not the white sapote at all. The reason that this fruit can often be confused because of this particular name is because the term “sapot” was actually an Aztec word that described sweet, soft fruits of any type.
The strong antioxidant fruit is related to the plum only without an edible skin. The fruit is ripe when the outer skin turns from green to yellow. Varieties of this fruit greatly change in taste. Some have been described as flan like while others have been compared to a peach, a pear or a banana. In most varieties the flesh is white and similar in texture to an avocado.
An Overview of the White Sapote Tree
The trees can reach somewhere up to 16-52 ft in height and are evergreen. You can easily recognize them by the large palmately compound leaves that make for a full and reach canopy. The fruit themselves are ovoid drupes, reaching 5-10 cm in diameter, with a thin and inedible skin. The color of the skin turns from green when raw to yellow when ripe. The pulp is rich and has a creamy texture. The fruit becomes pungent when overripe, so it needs to be consumed at the right time in its development.
This fruit will thrive wherever the climate allows for oranges to thrive as well. This however doesn’t mean it does well in the cruel heat of the summer. On the contrary, the tree poorly manages the torrid heat of the Southwest desert, as well as the high-humidity climate of the tropical lowlands of Florida and Hawaii. Apart from this, it’s a pretty resilient tree. The more established trees can withstand occasional frost to 22F.
The growth of the tree is very rapid and the canopy is so dense that it casts a lot of shade. This is why people in Mexico choose to plant this tree in their backyard, as a means to stave off the scorching heat and offer themselves a cooler respite from the harsh climate conditions. However many will find some challenges along the way as the flowers of the white sapote trees tend to attract bees, ants and hoverflies.
Once the bloom is formed, it will take another 6-9 months for the fruit to ripen. Different white sapote cultivars have different growth characteristics and their fruits will slightly vary in color, shape and size. The tree needs deep irrigation so as to maintain the roots at an optimum depth in the ground. On the other hand, if watering occurs on a more shallow level, these roots will find their way up to the surface and destroy lawns, pavements and everything else that stands in their way.
Some cultivars of this fruit will ripen all year long, while others will ripen in October (in the South) to February (in the North). There are several white sapote cultivars out there, but some of the most important ones are:
- Lemon Gold
- Malibu No. 3
- Reinecke Commercial
This old California is liked by most people who give it a try and taste it. You can usually find the white sapote in local stands and luxury or health food stores. The fruit must be picked when it’s fully ripe and needs to be transported with minimum handling.
What’s In a White Sapote?
Due to its relatively local profile, this fruit keeps an exclusive image and it hasn’t reached other parts of the world yet. This means that researchers have yet to discover all its wonderful properties and health benefits. However there is plenty of information still, indicating the white sapote is not only an interesting and pleasant-tasting tropical fruit, but also a fruit that’s packed with nutritional value.
Let’s take a closer look at the white sapote nutritional value to better understand how including this fruit in your diet can boost your immune system and contribute to your overall well-being. In a 100g of white sapote you’ll also find:
- 62% water – this fruit contains a large amount of water, making it a very hydrating snack to have at any time of the day.
- 2 grams of protein – Protein is typically much needed by the body for sustenance. It increases the mass and strength of your muscles.
- 0.6 grams of fat – At this little fat, the white sapote becomes a main option among those who want to eat a tropical fruit and not think about a negative impact on the body.
- 34 grams of carbohydrates – Carbohydrates are the ones that offer your body the boost of energy it needs to carry on through the day.
- 344 mg of potassium – Potassium is a mineral that’s indispensable to the human body since it helps regulate fluid levels, which is particularly useful in tropical areas where dehydration may become a constant issue. Apart from this, potassium also regulates nerve signals and muscle contractions.
- 20 mg of vitamin C – This vitamin is essential to building, maintaining and repairing all tissues in the human body. Apart from this, it will also play an active role in building collagen and healing wounds.
- 410 IU of vitamin A – Vitamin A plays a key part in maintaining eye health all throughout your life and decreasing the effects of macular damage. Vitamin A also plays an important part in maintaining the health of your bones. It may also have a positive impact when you’re battling acne.
- Phosphorus – This mineral is crucial in the human body, since it helps it better manage the energy levels it has. So by eating a phosphorus-rich diet, you can rest assured your energy levels will be optimized with nothing going to waste.
- Iron – This mineral is responsible for the proper management of nerve signals in the body. If you’re low on iron, you’ll immediately feel it, since you may have symptoms like dizziness, weakness and difficulty concentrating.
- Folic acid – Your body cannot create folate, so it needs to get this B vitamin through dietary intake. Thankfully you can also find it in white sapote. Its benefits include an improvement of your brain health and a decrease in heart disease risk factors.
Researchers have had their eyes on this fruit for almost 50 years. In that time they have studied it for it’s cancer fighting properties. This fruit with unique antioxidants shows great potential specifically against colon cancer due to the seeds containg N-methylhistamine, N-dimethylhistamine and zapotin.
The benefits and uses of fruits have been well documented with this one being known for making people sleepy and the seeds have been said to be an alternative to narcotic painkillers.
As you can see, the white sapote boasts a myriad of health benefits that very few people know about. By introducing this fruit in your diet, you’ll most likely have better energy levels, you’ll be protected against the damaging action of free radicals thanks to its antioxidant content and you may also be protected against heart disease. At the same time, the folic acid will also guard your brain against degenerative diseases. What’s not to love about this fruit? Travel to Mexico or South America and enjoy everything this fruit has to offer.
How to Store White Sapote
White sapote is relatively perishable, which means that you need to be careful with it once you get it home. If you bought it unripe, you can still leave it a couple of days more on the counter to ripen. Check if it’s ripe by pressing your thumb on its flesh – if it yields, it means it’s ripe and ready to be eaten.
Leave it unwashed and store it in the refrigerator for an additional 3 to 5 days. If you’ve already cut it, it’s important to know that it will quickly lose its freshness and will turn brown. It’s best if you wrap it in cling foil and store it in the refrigerator.
However it’s important to remember that white sapote does not freeze or can well, so it’s best that you don’t attempt this at all. Simply eat it as soon as you can and enjoy it in all its freshness.
How to Use White Sapote
White sapote is a fruit that can be enjoyed in many ways, it’s only up to you to choose the version that suits you best:
- People tend to use this exotic fruit simply as is. This means most people like to consume it raw, straight off the branch. The texture, taste and aroma make it perfect for you to enjoy it like this – you don’t need to add anything more to it or subtract from it.
- However you do have the option to add some sugar to it, after you slice it and enjoy it as a light and delicious snack. You can also put the slices in a bowl and add ice cream on the side – this combination is both sublime and invigorating on a hot summer day.
- This wonderful fruit also works really well with other fruits. Since it already has a pleasant taste, it will blend quite well with lots of other fruits in a giant, delicious fruit salad. Combine to your own taste until you get something that thrills all your senses. You need to peel off the skin though, as it is inedible. You will then also need to remove the seeds for an optimum experience.
- You can also add the white sapote to classic salads as a twist to an otherwise pretty familiar taste. Use your imagination and go for riskier combinations.
- You can always also cook this fruit, but it will take away from its powerful mesmerizing aroma.
- You can also prepare it as a jelly, combining it with lemons or limes.
- Drying up this fruit is also a good idea, since it enables you to enjoy it weeks or even months later as a casual and healthy snack.
These are just some of the ways you can use white sapote. Since this is still a rather unexplored territory, it’s recommended that you take this fruit and combine it with whatever your creativity sparks in you in terms of ideas. You may come up with new recipes and pave the way for new culinary experiences that other people can enjoy as well.
As you can see, white sapote is pretty unique in a number of ways. Its taste, its aspect and its storing requirements – it needs to be eaten as soon as possible and inspires you to live fully in the present with it. It’s filled with health benefits that can keep your body on your toes, functioning well, energized and protected from certain conditions that may affect you throughout your lifetime. It’s no wonder this fruit is so beloved in its place of origin, Mexico, Central and South America, where you can find it flooding the streets and local stands. If you travel there, make sure to fully immerse yourself in the experience by sampling every white sapote you get the chance to, together with other specific antioxidant fruits that you can’t easily find anywhere else in the world.
It’s fruits like white sapote that makes us marvel at the wonders of nature, at everything it has to offer and how well-thought out it seems to be. Eating white sapote will make you feel like you’ve landed in a sort of paradise on Earth and will offer you an experience that you’ll surely be able to remember for years to come. Make sure to consume it in as many ways as possible, to fully embrace it in all its possibilities – raw, cooked and in salads. Jot down a few recipes just in case you’ll be able to find these wonderful fruits when you travel back home and you’ll want to eat them just as you did on your vacation.