On a trip to the extensive Berkeley Bowl supermarket, I came across a variety of fruit I'd never seen before, white sapote. A store grocer stocking produce nearby was so convinced I'd love this mystery fruit that he cut one open on the spot for me to try. After I commented that it was remarkably sweet, he told me that the fruit I'd sampled wasn't even fully ripe yet. At $4 a pop, it was definitely pricey, but he was right: I loved it so much that I wound up bringing some home with me. To learn more about this fruit and how it tastes,
Native to Mexico, the white sapote is a tropical fruit in the citrus family. Although it was introduced to the United States 200 years ago by Spanish monks, the fruit still remains relatively unknown in America, where it's occasionally grown as a backyard fruit tree and commercially harvested in certain regions of Florida and California.
The white sapote reminded me of another tropical fruit, the cherimoya, because both have notes of pear, vanilla, guava, and banana. Its off-white flesh was sweet, creamy, and custardy, and reminded me of a favorite dessert, flan — with a slight grittiness in texture that one might find in a pear or guava. Although I enjoyed the fruit alone, I would love to try it as an addition to a simple salad or blended in a smoothie.
My only complaint? The tropical specimen is extremely soft when ripe, making it a mess to eat (watch out for the one to five inedible seeds that you may encounter in the center!). Have you ever had white sapotes? How do you enjoy them?