February 20, 2010

What Is Mamey Sapote?

Description: The mamey, known as mamey sapote or mamey colorado, is an  important fruit in Florida, Mexico, Central American and the West Indies.  It is little known elsewhere.  The first recorded introduction into southern Florida was during the mid-1880s.  Cuban-Americans and Central Americans have helped to establish a small but viable industry in the U.S.

The mamey sapote grows into a handsome, open tree with a thick central trunk and a few large limbs.  These trees may grow to a height of 40 feet in Florida and up to 60 feet in some of the tropical rain forests. The fruit is a large berry, shaped like a football, varying in length from 6-9 inches.  The skin is thick and woody with a russet brown scruffy surface.  The pulp of a mature fruit is salmon pink to red, soft and smooth in texture. The flavor is a sweet, almond like, unique flavor.  The fruit will weigh from 1 to 6 pounds.  Normally, the fruit contains a simple, large, dark elliptical seed but it may have up to 4 seeds.

Availability: This will vary depending on variety and where it is grown.  The main varieties grown in Florida are available January through April and June through September.  Since this is a specialty fruit you will probably find it only in specialty markets, particularly the Cuban or Spanish markets.  Mamey puree is also available in frozen form, again probably mostly in the specialty markets.
Selection and Care:  The fruit can be harvested when the flesh begins to  redden, but for home use it should become completely reddish.  If the fruit is not completely red when purchased, allow to ripen for a few days at room temperature.   Placing the fruit in a brown paper bag will hasten the ripeness. Soft, mature fruits will store well in the refrigerator at 50-55 degrees F.

Nutritional Value: The nutritional composition of 100 g of fresh mamey, which is about 1/8 of a fruit, contains: 107 calories, 1.0 g protein, 0.3 g fat, 28 g carbohydrates, 1.4 g fiber, 86% water, 22 mg calcium, 14 mg phosphorus, 0.9 mg iron, 6 mg sodium, 226 mg potassium, 60 IU vitamin A, and 23 mg vitamin C.

Use & Preparation: The mamey sapote is usually eaten in preparations where the fresh or frozen pulp is mixed with other ingredients to make milkshakes or ice cream.  It also may be eaten fresh directly from the fruit by cutting it lengthwise and removing the seed.  It is also excellent for use in jellies, pastes and conserves.  The fruit lacks acidity and the flavor is improved by the addition of a small amount of lemon or lime juice.

Author credit: by Jean Meadows and Mary Jo Oswald. Family & Consumer Sciences University of Florida / IFAS Sarasota County Extension

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