black sapote

Pronunciation: [sah-POH-tay]

This exotic fruit (Diospyros digyna) is actually a member of the persimmon family and unrelated to either the mamey sapote or the white sapote. It's grown in tropical regions including Eastern Mexico, Central America, Hawaii and southern Florida. Black sapote resemble green persimmons and range in size from 2 to 5 inches in diameter. As the fruit ripens, the skin turns from olive to deep yellow-green. Inside the inedible skin is a pulp that's brownish black, glossy and exceedingly soft; it may be seedless or contain up to 10 flat, brown seeds. The black sapote's texture and flavor have been compared to chocolate pudding (chocolate lovers might disagree), which is why this fruit is sometimes called the chocolate pudding fruit. It's also known as sapote negro and zapote negro and—in Hawaii—as a Black sapote are typically available from December to April and only in specialty produce markets (except in the regions in which it's grown). Choose firm, olive-green fruit free of bruises. Let ripen at room temperature until the fruit feels quite soft to palm pressure. Refrigerate ripe fruit in a plastic bag for up to 5 days.

From The Food Lover's Companion, Fourth edition by Sharon Tyler Herbst and Ron Herbst. Copyright © 2007, 2001, 1995, 1990 by Barron's Educational Series, Inc.

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