Chikoo’s biological classification is Manilkara in the family Sapotaceae. This specific species is M. zapota. It is a long lived tree and has leaves throughout the year and is always green. Chikoo is native to Southern Mexico, Central America and Caribbean. It was introduced to Philippines during Spanish colonization. India, Thailand, Malaysia, Cambodia, Indonesia and Mexico grows it in large quantities.
This tree is wind- resistant. Its bark produces milky fluid called chickle, which is a natural gum and is used to make chewing gum. The leaves are medium green and glossy. They are alternate, elliptic to ovate long with entire margin. It has bell like flowers. An unripe fruit has firm outer skin when picked and releases white chickle. When the fruit is fully riped, it has saggy skin and chickle is not released , when picked.
Its flesh, inside has grainy texture and color ranges from pale yellow to earthy brown. Each fruit contains one to six seeds which are black, glossy and hard with a hook at one end. It has sweet and malty flavor.
The trees only survive in warm temperature and die if the temperature goes below zero degrees. It takes 5-8 years to bear fruit. It fruits twice a year and flowering continues all year around.
It has many names all around the world. For eg. It is known as Mispel in Virgin Islands, Zapote in Hondruas, Nispero in Dominican Republic, El Salvador, Costa Rica, Cuba, Puerto Rico and Venezuela.Dilly in Bahamas, Naseberry in Jamaica, Sapoti in Brazil and Chico in Philippines. It is known as Chikoo in Northern India and Pakistan, Sapota in some parts of Southern India.
It has several culinary and health benefits as listed below.
Chopped or sliced chikoo can be added to fruit salads and desserts.
Its pulp has a rich flavor and can be used in milkshakes, smoothies and ice creams, as it is naturally very
I have written more articles for Food Blogger’s Association of India. To read them click here.
Hope you enjoyed reading about chikoo and it’s culinary and health benefits.