Sapodilla fruit for sale


Physical and chemical characteristics of sapota fruit at different stages of maturation(1)

Edy Sousa de Brito(2) and Narendra Narain(2)

Abstract ¾ In the present work, the physical and chemical characteristics in three stages of maturation of sapota (Manilkara zapota L.P. Royen) fruit were studied as well as its post-harvest behavior during storage at ambient and refrigerated conditions. With the advance of maturation, the concentration of the reducing sugars increased while the total acidity and tannin contents decreased. The fruits which did not have their pedicel removed during the post-harvest presented the storage time superior when compared with the fruits having their pedicels removed. The fruits stored under refrigeration had higher weight retention as compared to the fruits stored under ambient conditions.

Index terms: analysis, post-harvest, quality, storage.

Características físicas e químicas do fruto da sapota em diferentes estádios de maturação

Resumo ¾ No presente trabalho foram estudadas, em três estádios de maturação, as características físicas e químicas da sapota (Manilkara zapota L.P. Royen), bem como o seu comportamento pós-colheita durante o armazenamento, no seu ambiente natural e sob refrigeração. Com o avanço do amadurecimento, foi verificado um aumento no teor de açúcares redutores, acompanhado pela redução dos teores da acidez total e de taninos. Os frutos que não tiveram o pedúnculo removido durante a pós-colheita apresentaram um tempo de armazenamento superior aos frutos que tiveram o pedúnculo removido. Os frutos armazenados sob refrigeração tiveram uma maior retenção do peso em relação aos frutos armazenados em condições ambientais.

Termos para indexação: análise, pós-colheita, qualidade, armazenamento.

Sapota fruit (Manilkara zapota L. P. Royen) is a native of tropical America and it probably originated from Southern Mexico or Central America. The sweet tasting fruit possesses a delicate characteristic aroma, sometimes slightly astringent (Balerdi & Shaw, 1998). There is apparently no varietal classification of sapota fruit. Shape, size, weight, pulp colour, seed number, taste and flavour determine the cultivars characteristics. In Brazil, the cultivars are not well defined, however, in the State of Pernambuco, a study undertaken over a period of seven years recommended the cultivar Itapirema-31 for large scale plantations in the Northeast region of Brazil, since it produces better organoleptic characteristics, agronomic suitability for the region, with an average production of 208 kg of fruit/tree/year and the fruit weighs on an average about 187 g (Moura et al., 1983). Based on this study a large scale propagation of this cultivar was supported and now it is widespread in the Northeast of Brazil.

The sapota fruit is very much appreciated, but the production and commercialization of the fruit is limited. Furthermore, there is lack of information on the physical and chemical characteristics of the fruit during post-harvest storage.

The objective of the present study was to investigate changes in the physical and chemical characteristics of the sapota fruit at different stages of maturity and to evaluate the effect of the removal of the pedicel and of storage conditions on the shelf life of the fruit.

Sapota fruits, cultivar Itapirema-31, were harvested at the Experimental Station of the Instituto de Pesquisas Agropecuárias of the State of Pernambuco, situated in Goiana, Brazil. The fruits were harvested manually and transported to the Laboratório de Bioquímica de Alimentos of Universidade Federal da Paraíba, João Pessoa, Brazil. At the laboratory, the fruits were washed, selected and classified into three stages of maturation (green mature, half-ripe and ripe) (Table 1).

Fruit diameter and length were measured with a vernier calliper. The measurement of the length was made in the polar axis of the fruit, i.e. between apex and stem. The maximum width of the fruit, measured in the direction perpendicular to the axis was defined as diameter. The weight retention was verified daily for fruits in the mature green and the half-ripe stage with or without the pedicel, stored at ambient conditions (27±2oC and relative humidity between 65 and 75%). The half-ripe fruits with the pedicel were also stored under refrigerated conditions (9±2oC and relative humidity between 40 and 60%).

To conduct chemical analysis, the edible portion of the fruit was separated manually from the skin using a stainless steel knife, and triturated in a mortar until complete homogenization. The analysis except that of the alcohol insoluble solids was performed according to the standard methods presented in Ranganna (1986). The alcohol insoluble solids were analysed according to the method of Roe & Bruemmer (1981).

Five samples obtained from fruits of each maturity were analysed in triplicate. Results were compared by the analysis of variance. Significant differences amongst means were confirmed using the Tukey test for multiple comparisons at P<0.05.

The average diameter and length of the half-ripe sapota fruit were 7.5 and 6.4 cm, respectively, and there was a significant difference in these parameters between the mature green and the half-ripe stages (Table 2). There was a greater increase in diameter than in the length during the change from mature green to half-ripe. The fact that the diameter was greater than the length classifies the fruit more towards round in shape. In a total of twentythree cultivars studied, only six had round fruits, and all these six fruits had a higher standard deviation than the fruits of cultivar Itapirema-31 (Lakshminarayana & Rivera, 1979; Moura et al., 1983; Abdul-Karim & Bakar, 1989). From the mature green to the half-ripe stage there was a great increase in the weight of the fruit, from an average of 91.9 to 198.4 g. Fruits of Itapirema-31 were smaller than the three Mexican cultivars (Lakshminarayana & Rivera, 1979), but the standard deviation of the Brazilian fruit was lower which leads to a more uniform fruit weight.

The sweet and pleasant taste of the sapota fruit is related to the reduced values of the titratable acidity (1.5 mEq NaOH/100 g) and pH (4.95) which was a little lower than the average value (5.2) reported by Balerdi & Shaw (1998) (Table 2). These parameters had no significant difference between the fruits of mature green and half-ripe stages, but were reduced significantly at the ripe stage. The low acidity associated with the high brix value (15.8o) resulted in an elevated oBrix/acidity ratio, characteristic of the sapota fruit. The brix changed in all the three stages of maturity with a reduction from the half-ripe to the ripe stage. The lower brix value for the ripe fruit in relation to the mature green and half-ripe fruits could be related to the latex interference in the refratometric measurement, since in the ripe fruits there was a lower amount of alcohol insoluble solids (2.4%) as compared with the mature green (9.9%) and half-green (7.3%) fruits.

The total sugars increased from the mature green (11.4%) to the half-green (14.9%) stage mainly due to the increase in the nonreducing sugars which increased from 2.2 to 5.6% (Table 2). Subsequently, during the maturation, the total sugars content did not differ significantly, however, the non-reducing sugars decreased from 5.6 to 1.0% and the reducing sugars increased from 9.3 to 12.5%, which is attributed to the sucrose inversion.

The moisture and the ash contents were the only parameters that did not significantly change in the fruits of different stages of maturity (Table 2). Lipids decreased from the half-ripe (1.1%) to the ripe stage (0.5%). Tannins had a greater decrease between the mature green (4.6%) and the half-ripe stage (0.3%), which was attributed by Lakshminarayana & Rivera (1979) primarily to the increase in the fruit size. Mature fruit is not a good source of vitamin C because of its great reduction from the half-ripe to the ripe stage. The sapota fruits are considered a good source of fiber (Balerdi & Shaw, 1998) but the fruits of the cultivar Itapirema-31 had a lower fiber content in the mature fruit (0.6%), the value being almost four times lower than that in the green and half-ripe stages.

Mature green fruit retained less water than the half-ripe fruits which have a lower surface area/volume relation (Figure 1). The halfripe fruits with and without the pedicel had a similar behaviour in relation to the weight retention, but the fruits without the pedicel got rotten on the eighth day while the fruits with the pedicel remained adequate for consumption until the fourteenth day. The manual removal of the pedicel causes a mechanical injury that makes the fruits susceptible to infestation, accelerating the ethylene production and consequently resulting in an early senescence. It was also observed that the use of scissors to cut the pedicel resulted in an improvement in the quality of sapota fruit. The storage of the halfripe fruits under refrigeration led to a greater weight retention as compared with the fruits stored under ambient conditions (Figure 2). This behaviour was also noted for sapota fruit stored in dry ambient conditions (Broughton & Wong, 1979). Furthermore, refrigerated storage extended the shelf life of the fruits by approximately ten days.

LAKSHMINARAYANA, S.; RIVERA, M. A. M. Proximate characteristics and composition of sapodila fruits grown in Mexico. Proceedings of the Florida State Horticultural Society, Goldenrod, v. 20, p. 303-305, 1979.

Experience Miami on a Food Tour

The Tropical Fruit Growers South Florida; is an association of farmers that specialize in growing tropical fruits. You can find these tropical fruits at our website or at specialty markets.

We’re in The Redlands, an agricultural area southwest to Miami, Florida, in a Sapodilla grove and this is how Sapodillas look like. Sapodillas are known by many names, they’re known as naseberry, nispero, zapote and chikoo. They grow very well in tropical and subtropical climates all over the world, and especially here in South Florida.

Sapodilla grows in a beautiful tree here in South Florida. The fruit grows along the branches, as you can see, and the farmers know when to pick it when it’s mature. They pick it kind of hard and when it gets to your house you just let it sit in the kitchen on the counter and let it get soft, they’re delicious. So let’s go to the kitchen and check them out.

Hi I’m Louise King with the Tropical Fruit Growers of South Florida and I’m here to tell you a little bit more about Florida Sapodilla. When you get your Sapodilla from one of the growers on our website or at the specialty market it may not be ready to eat, especially if it’s firm, you need to let it ripen a little bit before you eat it. So to let a Sapodilla ripen just keep it on the counter for a few days and let it ripen slowly until it gives a little bit like a peach.

The easiest way to eat your Sapodilla is to take a knife, cut it in half across the middle and scoop out any seeds you find, as you can see the seeds are dark and shiny, and then just scoop out the flesh with your spoon. So what does this Sapodilla taste like? Imagine a pear soaked in brown sugar, that’s the Sapodilla.

After you fruit is ripe, if you can’t eat it all, store your Sapodilla whole in a plastic bag and put it in the refrigerator, it’ll last about a week. You can also scoop out the flesh, put it in a plastic bag and it freezes very well. Sapodillas make great jams, syrups, custards and even wine.

Contact one of our growers at to get the freshest Florida Sapodilla around.

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Currently operating on 20 acres of growing grounds and nursery space, California Tropical is proud to provide landscape professionals an extensive selection of tropical fruit, nut, spice, and flower trees and shrubs, all of which are available in a variety of sizes.

The California Tropical Fruit Tree nursery staff is happy to provide personal assistance in the selection of tree varieties for every-sized project, whether commercial or residential. We always welcome you to Contact Us with questions on the type and number of trees that would work best for you.

What Is Sapodilla Fruit: How To Grow A Sapodilla Tree

Like exotic fruits? Then why not consider growing a sapodilla tree (Manilkara zapota). As long as you care for sapodilla trees as suggested, you’ll find yourself benefitting from its healthy, tasty fruits in no time. Let’s learn more about how to grow a sapodilla tree.

What is Sapodilla Fruit?

The answer to, “What is sapodilla fruit?” is quite simply a delicious tropical fruit ranking amongst the likes of mango, banana and jackfruit. Sapodilla answers to quite a few monikers such as Chico, Chico sapote, Sapota, Zapote chico, Zapotillo, Chicle, Sapodilla plum and Naseberry. You may recognize the name ‘Chicle,’ which refers to the latex excreted by the sapodilla fruit and is used as a chewing gum base.

Growing sapodillas are thought to have originated in the Yucatan peninsula and nearby southern regions of Mexico, Belize and into northeastern Guatemala. It was then introduced and since cultivated throughout the tropical Americas, West Indies and the southern part of Florida.

Information Regarding Growing Sapodillas

Growing sapodillas are not strictly tropical and adult sapodilla fruit trees can survive temperatures of 26-28 F. (-2 to -3 C.), for a short period of time. Sapling trees are more likely to sustain major damage or even die at 30 F. (-1 C.). Growing sapodillas are not particular when it comes to water requirements. They may do equally well in arid or humid environments, although more severe conditions may result in lack of fruiting.

Despite its temperature tolerance, if you want to grow a sapodilla tree in a less than semi-tropical area, it would be prudent to either grow it in a greenhouse or as a container plant that can be moved to a protected area in case of inclement weather. If such weather occurs, the tree may also be covered with sheeting to aid in protection.

This evergreen fruit bearer hails from the family of Sapotaceae in the genus of Manilkara with a calorie rich, easy-to-digest fruit. The sapodilla fruit is sand colored with a skin similar to a kiwi but without the fuzz. The interior pulp is of young sapodilla fruit is white with a heavy concentration of sticky latex, called saponin. The saponin abates as the fruit ripens and the flesh subsequently turns brown. The inside of the fruit contains three to 10 inedible seeds at the center.

A good reason to grow a sapodilla tree is its excellent source of nutrition within the fruit, which is composed of fructose and sucrose and is rich in calories. The fruit also contains vitamins such as vitamin C and A, folate, niacin and pantothenic acid and minerals like potassium, copper, and iron. It is rich in antioxidant tannins too and purported to be useful as an anti-inflammatory and a virus, “bad” bacteria and parasite fighter. Sapodilla fruit has also been used as an anti-diarrheal, hemostatic, and hemorrhoid aid.

Care for Sapodilla Trees

To grow a sapodilla tree, most propagation is done by seed, which will be viable for years although some commercial growers use grafting and other practices. Once germinated, use some patience as it takes five to eight years to grow a sapodilla tree of bearing age.

As mentioned, the fruit tree is tolerant of most conditions but prefers a sunny, warm, and frost free location in most any type of soil with good drainage.

Additional care for sapodilla trees advises fertilizing the young trees with -8% nitrogen, 2-4% phosphoric acid and 6-8% potash every two or three months with ¼ pound and increasing gradually to 1 pound. After the first year, two or three application a year is plenty.

Not only are sapodilla trees tolerant of drought conditions, but they can take soil salinity, need very little pruning and are mostly pest resistant.

As long as the sapodilla tree is protected from frost and patience is in abundance for this slow grower, flavorful fruit shall be the reward from this tolerant specimen.


Manilkara zapota

Other names: Zapote Chico, Chiku.

Intro: Recorded as a fruit that is almost universally eaten. The sap from this plant was used as the base for chewing gum. When burned, the wood gives off an aroma of incense.

History: Originates from Central America.

Shape: Round to egg shaped.

Weight/size: Typically 5-10cm in diameter and varies from 75 to 200g in weight

Colour: Thin-skinned and heavily rusted brownish grey with orange flesh. The core of the fruit contains seeds which have a hook, so care should be taken when eating.

Taste: Very rich, sweet caramel taste. Some varieties have a slightly gritty texture.

Buying/serving: Ripe sapodillas have brown skin and give slightly when pressed. Unripe fruits are hard and unpleasantly astringent, with a smooth greenish skin under the brown exterior. Rubbing will reveal the colour of the skin. They exude a sticky sap if cut before they are fully ripe. Unripe fruit will ripen at room temperature. Sapodillas can be stored in the refrigerator, frozen or dried.

Preparing/serving: Sapodillas can be eaten fresh by simply cutting them in half, scooping out the flesh and removing the seeds. A squeeze of lime or lemon will enhance the flavour. The flesh can be mashed and stirred into cream or custard or made into ice-cream and mousses. It can also be added to cake and pancake mix. Excellent when dried.

The skin can also be eaten.

Variety: Wide range of selections.

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