Mamey Fruit – What it is and how to eat it – complete guide
If you have never heard about mamey fruit, then this guide is just for you.
Known for its sweet flavor and rich texture, mamey fruit is a staple in Mexico and is also gaining popularity all around the world.
What is mamey fruit and how do you eat it? Mamey fruit can be best compared to other fruit like canistel, sapodilla, and chicozapote. They are large and have tender flesh when fully ripe. Mamey has a delicious dessert-like flavor that is akin to pumpkin pie or sweet potato pie!
Read below to learn more about mamey fruit, what it is, how to eat it, and some tips on how to store it.
What is Mamey Fruit
Mamey fruit, also known as sapote, has been around for centuries and its origin can be traced back to the Maya civilization.
Mamey were grown for their nutrition, flavor, and culinary and medicinal uses.
The fruit is generally enjoyed on its own, but its sweet flavor can also be used to flavor several dessert recipes.
Today, mamey fruit is a staple in New Mexico and Central America. Thanks to the recent boom in its cultivation, this fruit has gained worldwide recognition and can be found in several regions around the world.
Mamey fruit is usually compared to sapodilla, which shares some characteristics but, mamey is a completely different fruit with its own unique characteristics.
Characteristics of Mamey Fruit
Here are some of the main characteristics of mamey fruit:
Mamey is quite popular because of its delicious flavor!
It is known to have a sweet dessert-like flavor when the fruit is fully ripe.
Unlike other fruits, like sapodilla, that usually present with a range of sweetness levels, mamey fruit remains pleasantly sweet once ripe and you can expect every ripe sapote to deliver on the same custard-like notes!
Unripe mamey fruit is almost inedible because of its bitter flavor.
When the fruit is harvested earlier, it presents with a firm flesh that is predominantly green and astringent.
As the fruit begins to ripen, chemical processes break down the bitter compounds, which gives the fruit its iconic flavor!
Sapote has a slightly textured outer surface – but some varieties can also be smooth.
The skin of the fruit is thin, and you can easily breach it using a sharp knife.
Depending on the variety, the exterior can have a range of colors but in most cases, sapote is known to have a light to medium-brown color.
It can also grow in a shade of light green and medium brown!
When you cut through the soft skin, you will immediately notice the orange-colored flesh inside!
The flesh is creamy and can be scooped very easily using a small spoon. The center of the fruit also contains an oblong black seed.
In some cases, the seed may have even sprouted inside the fruit! If this happens you can use the sprouted seed to try and grow your very own mamey fruit tree.
Unripe sapote has a very rough and thick skin with a predominantly green color.
Cutting open an unripe sapote can be challenging and maybe even dangerous since the blade may slip off the hard and smooth surface of the fruit!
The flesh of unripe sapote is also quite firm and may even be powdery if the fruit is very unripe.
The best thing about mamey fruit is that it can be enjoyed in several ways!
Not only do people enjoy this fruit for its health benefits and nutrition, but it has also been used in ancient times as a medicine for various ailments.
Ripe mamey fruit can be eaten on its own but it is also usually used as a base for several dessert recipes.
Since this fruit is very sweet and has a custard-like flavor, you can use it as a filling for pies or for virtually any other baking project that requires a sweet fruity flavor.
Picking the Right Fruit
Eating a ripe sapote is very easy. But first, you will have to learn the basics about picking the ripest fruit!
Here is what you should look out for:
Inspecting the Texture
Ripe sapote is firm but also tender. The key here is to look for the right balance. If the exterior of the skin dents easily then the fruit is likely going to be overripe.
You can still eat a slightly overripe sapote, but it will likely not last long once you bring it home.
Lightly press down around the surface of the fruit to check for firmness.
If you feel that the skin is tender but remains uniform even when you apply a bit of pressure from your thumb, then this would indicate that the fruit is perfectly ripe and ready to eat!
Although most reputable stores will never store overripe fruit, you will still have to check for a few key flaws before purchasing the fruit.
We have already highlighted the importance of texture, but you should also look for black or mushy spots.
These spots will give you a hint about the quality of the fruit and how long they have been sitting on the shelf.
Sometimes, fruit that ends up at the bottom of the crate will ripen quickly – and if you purchase the fruit at an odd time, then it’s likely that you might come across a slightly ripe sapote.
Try to go with a flawless fruit for the best experience. While an overripe texture is generally considered okay, you should avoid purchasing fruit with visible flaws and spots.
How to Eat Mamey Fruit
If it’s your first time eating a sapote, then here is a quick guide to help you get the most out of this delicious fruit!
Step 1) Firmly hold the sapote in one hand and position it so that the stem or tip of the fruit is facing away from you.
Step 2) Use a small, dry, and clean knife. Place the blade vertically at the top of the fruit. Tilt the blade up so that the blade breaches the skin of the fruit first.
Step 3) Push down on the tip and then slowly bring the knife down. Now carefully push the knife into the fruit until you feel resistance. This will happen when the blade hits the hard seed at the center.
Step 4) Cut around the fruit until you reach the other side. Gently separate the halved sapote.
Step 5) Remove the seed from the center.
Step 6) Enjoy fresh sapote by using a spoon, or by cutting the thin skin around the flesh!
Recipe Ideas for Mamey Fruit
Even though you can enjoy mamey fruit on its own, it can also be used as an ingredient for a range of delicious and healthy recipes. Here are two great recipe ideas that showcase the versatility of this fruit:
Mamey Fruit Smoothie
- 1 Ripe sapote. Peel the fruit according to the guide above and then chop the flesh.
- 1 Banana – Chopped.
- 1 cup milk – full-fat milk works the best!
- 1 tbsp honey.
- 1 cup of ice.
- 1 tsp vanilla extract.
Step 1) Add all the ingredients, except for ice, to the blender.
Step 2) Blend everything at the highest setting. We recommend blending for at least 30-45 seconds until smooth. You can also adjust the blending time to change the texture of the smoothie as per your preference.
Step 3) Add the ice and then blend again until the ice is pulverized.
Step 4) Immediately pour the smoothie into a tall glass and enjoy!
Mamey Fruit Pie
Here is another great recipe that uses mashed mamey as a delicious filling for a pie!
Here is what you will need:
- Ripe mamey fruit – mashed, 2 cups.
- Pie crust.
- Sugar – ½ cup.
- Cornstarch – ¼ cup.
- Milk – ¼ cup.
- Vanilla Extract – 1 tsp.
- Ground cinnamon – ¼ tsp.
- Ground nutmeg – ¼ tsp.
- Melted butter – 2 tbsp.
- Beaten egg – 1.
Prerequisite) Preheat the oven to 375F.
Step 1) Take an 8-9 inch pie dish and line it with the pie crust.
Step 2) In a bowl, mix the mashed sapote, cornstarch, milk, sugar, vanilla extract, cinnamon, butter, and nutmeg. Combine everything until fully incorporated.
Step 3) Quickly pour the combined mixture over the pie crust and spread evenly.
Step 4) Finish up the pie by brushing it with an egg wash.
Step 5) Put the pie in the oven (middle rack) and bake for about 45-50 minutes. We recommend that you bake the pie until the filling is cooked and the crust is golden brown.
Step 6) Once baked, carefully remove the pie and let it rest undisturbed for about 25-30 minutes. Cut into the pie and enjoy!
How to Store Mamey Fruit
Storing mamey fruit is very easy and you can also extend its shelf life by a few days if you use a few best practices.
Room Temperature Storage
This is the default way most people store mamey fruit. Keep in mind that this fruit is meant to be enjoyed when it is at the peak of its ripeness.
If you store it for longer then you may end up with a slightly less desirable and overripe fruit.
As soon as you bring the sapote home, store it in a cool and dry place away from moisture and sunlight. In optimal conditions, sapote will last about 3-4 days at room temperature.
Never wash fresh fruit if you don’t intend to eat it immediately.
The best way to ensure that they maintain their characteristics for longer is to store them dry. Do not store fresh mamey fruit at room temperature in an enclosed container or plastic wrap.
Refrigeration is by far the best way to keep this fruit at its best! The cool temperatures inside the fridge will prevent the fruit from going bad quickly and the cold air will also keep the fruit dry.
But be careful! If you leave the fruit in the fridge for too long, it may even start to dry up.
The best way to store mamey fruit in the fridge is to first store it in a dry plastic bag.
The reason why we suggest storing the fruit in the bag when using this method is that the bag will keep air away and will slow down oxidation. It will also keep the fruit away from moisture.
Store the mamey fruit at the back of the fridge at 40F. Never store fresh fruit near the door of the fridge as that area is likely to experience significant temperature discrepancies.
You can also store the fruit in a crisper drawer. Crispers are specially designed to maintain the quality of fresh produce for longer.
In either case, we recommend that you consume refrigerated sapote within a week. If the fruit is already cut, then you should aim to eat the rest of it within 2-3 days.
Want to store mamey fruit for longer? Then you will need to freeze it.
The best way to freeze sapote is to first remove the skin of the fruit.
Cut the flesh into small pieces and then store them in a freezer-safe container or food-safe plastic bag.
Put all the pieces in the bag and remove the excess air by squeezing the space in the bag. Seal it shut and store the bag at the back of the freezer at 0F.
Frozen mamey fruit will last about 4-6 months but for the best flavor and texture, we recommend eating it within 2-3 months.
To defrost the pieces, simply move the container/bag to the fridge and let it defrost at 40F overnight.
We don’t recommend going for microwaves for defrosting as this may negatively affect the texture of the fruit.
Signs of Spoilage
Mamey fruit can go bad quickly, especially if it is overripe or if it is not stored properly.
Here are some common signs of spoilage:
Change in Texture
As explained above, some textural changes can be normal. For example, when the fruit starts to ripen, it will develop a softer exterior that may even dent easily.
But if the fruit has several mushy parts around the surface, then this could indicate that it has started to go bad.
Ideally, you could cut around the mushy parts if they don’t show any of the other signs of spoilage listed below.
Change in Color or Growths
Sapote is not known to change color once it is harvested. So, if you notice any deep color changes then this will indicate that the fruit has gone bad.
Carefully check the surface as well! If you notice any growth, then we recommend discarding the fruit because it might make you sick.
This is a dead giveaway! If you notice any foul odor with the above signs of spoilage, then this would definitively mean that the sapote has gone bad.
Never try to salvage fruit that gives off a foul odor as they might be heavily infested by bacteria.
Mamey fruit is beloved for its sweet and dessert-like flavor. If you have never tried this fruit before then you are missing out!
Now that you know what mamey fruit is and how to eat it, here are some related questions:
What can you do with the seeds of mamey fruit?
The seeds are not eaten as they are very hard and may even cause stomach problems. The best way to utilize the seeds is to grow your very own mamey fruit tree at home.
If you don’t have any use of the seeds, then you can either discard them or give them to someone who would want to plant them.
How much sugar is in a serving of mamey fruit?
Mamey fruit consists of fructose and glucose, both of which are natural sugars. A typical 165-gram serving of fruit can have about 28-30 grams of sugar.
It is important to note that if you are watching your sugar intake, then you should only consume this fruit in moderation.