This Central and South American favorite is an excellent, underutilized fruit. The lemon-sized tan-skinned fruit is universally described as tasting like “pears with brown sugar”.
The fruit is usually picked hard and allowed to ripen on the shelf. It’s ready to eat when there is some softness on all sides. Those with an extreme sweet tooth can wait until it is very soft, but the sweetness can become overpowering. The skin is actually edible, but is usually removed for eating. Preparation is easy— after peeling, cut into halves or quarters lengthwise, remove the central core and the large inedible seeds, and it’s ready to go. It does well as a sweetener in cereal or oatmeal, in fruit salads, or just eaten out of hand.
Sapodilla trees are attractive and easy to grow. After reaching production size, good varieties are extremely productive and have long fruiting seasons. Seasons vary with variety, making this almost a year-round fresh fruit.
There are several excellent varieties. Most people consider Alano to be the top choice, and the dwarf Makok or insanely productive Silas Wood are also first-rate. At SweetSong Groves, we have two Alanos, SW-G-3 and EG-D-2, a fruiting Makok NW-E-2, a Campeche (Cam-PAY-chay) SW-E-3, and a Tikal EG-E-5. We expect it to be a major commercial crop for SweetSong in coming years.