One of the nicest things about living in Southern California is the endless, year-round bounty of mouthwatering, local produce. This week my CSA box came with peaches and something called a black sapote, all of which were picked the day before from a local farm.
I’m from Washington, D.C. originally, so enjoying a fresh, locally grown, tropical fruit at the beginning of winter is nothing short of awesome to me.
I had never had a black sapote before, so I didn’t know what to expect. They were green when I got them, and took about a week to ripen. A sapote can feel hard one day, and be soft and ready to use the next; therefore it should be carefully watched.
You know it is ready when its skin turns dull olive green and breaks in small grainy pieces, and the flesh turns black and soft: In other words, when it looks like it’s ready to be thrown out, that’s when you slice the sapote open and eat it with a spoon.
Sometimes called the “chocolate pudding” fruit, the taste and flavor of black sapote is indeed uncannily like chocolate pudding. But make no mistake, this is fruit. Sapote tastes like fruit that tastes like chocolate pudding—delicious and just a little strange.
Sapotes are related to persimmons, and contain a fair amount of vitamin A. They are a good source of vitamin C, have a relatively high amount of potassium, and small amounts of other vitamins and minerals.
To prepare a black sapote, cut it into 4 to 6 wedges cutting from blossom end towards stem. With spoon, gently scoop out pulp, discarding seeds. The pulp tends to break up easily, and can be used immediately or frozen.
It makes a great substitute for bananas in your favorite smoothie or banana bread recipe. Here are two other sapote recipes to help you enjoy this unusual fruit.
- 3 to 4 ripe black sapotes (sapotes must be very soft; an unripe sapote is inedible)
- ¼ to ½ cup light honey, to taste
- 1 tsp. grated orange rind
- 2 cups orange juice
- 2 Tbsps. finely shredded orange rind
- Remove stems from sapotes.
- Pull off green skin with your fingers. You now have a dark brown, thick pulp.
- Inside are hidden almond-shaped seeds. Remove these with your fingers.
- In food processor, combine sapote pulp, honey, orange rind, and orange juice. Pulse until mixed well.
- Chill. Mixture should be shiny black-brown.
- Garnish with a few fine shreds of orange rind on each serving.
- Dulce de Sapote Negro can also be frozen as a sherbet.
- Mixture for Dulce de Sapote Negro
- orange slices
- orange juice
- pure water
- Using the mixture for Dulce de Sapote Negro, add enough orange juice and water (to taste) to bring to beverage consistency.
- Chill thoroughly. Serve on ice in chilled tall glasses.
- Garnish with an orange slice on the rim of each glass.
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