Appears in

Oxford Companion to Food

Oxford Companion to Food

By Alan Davidson

Published 2014

  • About

sapota or sapote is the Anglicized form of the Latin American name zapote. These names are applied to numerous American tropical fruits, of which some but not all are related to each other within the family Sapotaceae. The word was taken up by the Spanish in Mexico from the local term tzicozapotl or tzapotl.

The best-known fruit in the group, sapodilla, is sometimes called just ‘sapote’. It belongs to the genus Manilkara.

Some other sapotes belong to the related genus Pouteria. P. sapota bears large fruit: generally oval in shape, from 8 to over 20 cm (3 to 8") long, with a rough, russet-coloured rind, and a soft, sweet, salmon-coloured pulp which is generally made into jam. The species is found in the wild from S. Mexico to northern Nicaragua, but has been brought under cultivation in a much wider area, including parts of SE Asia. There are a number of named cultivars.