Introduction: The sapote fruit tree is a tropical addition to any garden, offering not only delicious fruit but also ornamental value. In this article, we look at how to care for sapote fruit trees in both warm and cold climates, discuss the different species (Mamai Zapote, Canistel, Abiu and Sapodilla) and find out why gardeners should grow this unique tree.
- Caring for Fruit Trees Sapote in warm climates.
To plant a sapote tree in warm climates, choose a well-drained spot with plenty of sunlight. Water the tree regularly, making sure the soil remains moist but not waterlogged. Fertilize the tree with a balanced slow release fertilizer according to package directions. Prune the tree to maintain a dense, medium-sized canopy and improve early yields.
- Caring for sapote fruit trees in cold climates.
In cold climates, sapote should be grown in pots with proper drainage. Choose a pot size that allows the tree’s roots to grow comfortably, and make sure the pot has drainage holes to prevent waterlogging. To protect sapote trees from freezing temperatures, move the pots indoors or to a sheltered location during the winter months.
- Types of fruit trees Zapote:
- a) Mamey Zapote (Pouteria sapota) – Mamey Zapote is native to Southern Mexico and Northern Nicaragua. The tree produces fruits with rough, dark brown, leathery skin and soft salmon pink to deep red flesh. Popular varieties include Pantin (Key West), Magana, Pace and Florida Handsome.
- b) Canistel (Pouteria campechiana) – Also known as egg fruit or cupcake fruit, canistel is native to Southern Mexico, Belize, Guatemala and El Salvador. The tree bears egg-shaped fruits with a glossy skin and a creamy, mousse-like texture. It is relatively cold hardy and fast growing, producing its first crop within one to two years.
- c) Abiu (Pouteria caimito) – Abiu grows in the Amazon region of South America. The tree produces round to oval fruits with smooth bright yellow skin and translucent white juicy flesh. The taste is sweet, reminiscent of caramel or maple syrup. Abiu fruit is rich in vitamins A, B and C, as well as calcium and phosphorus.
- d) Sapodilla (Manilkara zapota) – Sapodilla, also known as Chikoo or Naseberry, is native to Central America and Mexico. The tree bears round to oval fruits with a rough, brown and slightly wrinkled skin. The soft, sweet and aromatic pulp of the fruit has a unique taste reminiscent of brown sugar and pear. Popular cultivars include Alano, Silas Woods and Molix.
- How to care for different types of sapote:
- a) Mamey Sapote – This tree prefers heavy soils with excellent drainage and does not tolerate prolonged drought. Protect young plants from the cold, as they become more hardy with age. Mamey Sapote trees may shed their leaves in April, making fruit counting easier.
- b) Canistel – Canistel trees are easy to grow and relatively hardy. They prefer well-drained soil and regular watering. The trees can be grown in pots and are suitable for small yards due to their non-invasive roots. Use a balanced fertilizer to encourage flowering and fruiting.
- c) Abiu – Abiu trees require well-draining soil and a warm, moist environment. Water regularly and keep the soil moist. Abiu trees can be grown in pots but need to be moved indoors or to a sheltered location during the colder months. Apply a balanced fertilizer to promote healthy growth and prune the tree to maintain a manageable size.
- d) Sapodilla – Sapodilla trees are relatively drought tolerant but prefer regular watering for optimum fruit production. Plant them in well-drained soil and provide full sunlight for best results. Sapodilla trees grow slowly, so be patient before expecting fruit. Use a balanced fertilizer to support growth and fruiting.
- Collecting and enjoying the fruit sapote:
- a) Mamey Sapote – Harvest the Mamey Sapote fruits when their skin color is getting darker and the fruits begin to soften. Allow fruit to fully ripen at room temperature before use. Mamey Sapote can be eaten fresh, in smoothies, or used as a base for ice cream and other desserts.
- b) Canistel – Canistel fruits should be harvested when their skin turns from green to yellow and the fruits become slightly soft. Let the fruits ripen at room temperature. Kanistel can be eaten fresh, mixed into smoothies, or used as a spread on toast or pancakes.
- c) Abiu. Harvest Abiu fruits when their skin is bright yellow and the fruits are slightly soft to the touch. Abiu can be consumed fresh or used in smoothies, desserts, or as a topping for yogurt or ice cream.
- d) Sapodilla. Harvest sapodilla fruit when the skin is slightly wrinkled and the fruit yields to light pressure. Let the fruits ripen at room temperature. Sapodilla can be eaten fresh, added to fruit salads, or used in smoothies and desserts.
Conclusion: Sapote fruit trees provide gardeners with a unique and rewarding gardening experience. By understanding the specific care requirements of each type of sapote, you will be able to grow these tropical delicacies successfully in a wide variety of climates. Delicious and versatile, the fruit offers numerous culinary possibilities, making the sapote tree a must-have addition to any fruit tree enthusiast’s garden. Recipe: Canistel Custard
3/4 cup ripe Canistel, mashed
2 1/4 cups milk (scalded)
1/2 cup sugar
1/4 tsp salt
1 tbsp lime juice
1 tsp cinnamon
- Lightly beat the eggs. Add sugar, fruit and lime, salt and cinnamon.
- Slowly add hot milk while stirring. Pour into buttered moulds.
- Set in a pot of hot water about 1 inch deep.
- Bake at 350F for about 30-40 minutes until the custard is done.
And last but not least, Canistel is a sweet treat: Canistel Custard!
1 cup ripe Mamey sapote, peeled and diced
1 banana, chopped
1/2 cup mango, diced
1/2 cup Greek yogurt (or dairy-free alternative)
1/2 cup unsweetened almond milk (or milk of choice)
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon ground ginger
1 tablespoon honey or maple syrup (optional, for extra sweetness)
Toppings: muesli, chia seeds, chopped almonds, grated coconut and fresh fruit (berries, banana, mango or kiwi)
In a blender, combine the diced Mamey Sapote, banana, mango, Greek yogurt, almond milk, cinnamon, ginger, and honey or maple syrup (if using). Blend until smooth and creamy. If the mixture is too thick, add a little more almond milk to reach your desired consistency.
Pour the smoothie into a bowl and top with your choice of muesli, chia seeds, chopped almonds, shredded coconut, and fresh fruit.
Serve immediately and enjoy the nutritious and delicious Mamey Sapote Smoothie!
This Mamey Sapote smoothie bowl is a refreshing and healthy breakfast or snack filled with vitamins and nutrients from fruit, yogurt and toppings. The unique taste of Mamey Sapote pairs perfectly with tropical fruits, warm spices and creamy yogurt for a truly satisfying meal.