Sapodilla Manilkara zapota van Royen, Chicozapote
The sapodilla is believed native to Yucatan and possibly other nearby parts of southern Mexico, as well as northern Belize and Northeastern Guatemala. The sapodilla is found in forests throughout Central America where it has apparently been cultivated since ancient times. The Sapodilla comes from chicle tree from which white latex is taken for making chewing gum. Nowadays North American chewing gum base is synthetic, but the persnickety Japanese still buy the natural thing.
Sapodilla was introduced long ago throughout tropical America and the West Indies, the Bahamas, Bermuda, the Florida Keys and the southern part of the Florida mainland. During their occupation of the Philippines, the Spaniard brought this fruit to the country and eventually it was exported to the rest of region.
Sapodilla has a thin peel and brown and the flesh itself is light brown. It is best eaten a couple days after it is picked, to wait for its resin to dry. When ripe, the fruit is juicy, very sweet, and has a pear or molasses-like taste. Generally, the ripe sapodilla, unchilled or preferably chilled, is merely cut in half and the flesh is eaten with a spoon. It is an ideal dessert fruit as the skin, which is not eaten, remains firm enough to serve as a "shell".
The fruit may be nearly round, oval, or conical; varies from 2 to 4 in (5-10 cm) in width. When immature it is hard, gummy and very astringent. Though smooth-skinned it is coated with a sandy brown scurf until fully ripe. The flesh ranges in color from yellowish to light- or dark-brown or sometimes reddish-brown; may be coarse and somewhat grainy or smooth. Some fruits are seedless, but normally there may be from 3 to 12 seeds which are easily removed.