If you know me, you know that I love trying out the not-so-common fruits, and Chikoo is one of them. On the outside, Chikoo is not so attractive.
It looks like a cross between a potato and a kiwi, but we all know that looks can be deceiving. Chikoos have an oval shape and their skin is brown in color, but they taste great.
An average Chikoo fruit is 4-5 inches long. Chikoo fruits can bear fruits twice a year when they are fully mature.
Chikoo fruits were originally grown in Mexico, but they are now grown all over the world.
If you have never tasted it, you are probably wondering what Chikoo tastes like. Well, this article is exactly what you need.
We will discuss everything you need to know about Chikoo including the flavor, uses nutritional benefits, storage, and so much more.
What does it taste like?
Chikoos have a malty and sweet flavor with a pear undertone. The flesh of Chikoo is normally yellow in color with orange streaks when fully ripe. The texture is soft and pulpy and the fruit itself is very juicy. Chikoo also has a pleasant aroma that is very similar to that of cooked squash.
The brown skin of Chikoo is very thin. I personally prefer not to eat the skin although it is perfectly edible. If you are like me, you can easily peel off the skin before eating.
Chikoos usually have two or three large seeds inside them. The seeds have hooks which make them inedible since the hooks can easily stick to one’s throat and choke him or her. They also taste weird, so just discard them.
It is important that you only eat ripe Chikoo. When ripe, the flesh is soft and sweet. Unripe or partially ripe Chikoo contains a significant amount of saponin.
Therefore, the fruits are unpleasantly astringent and will leave your mouth feeling dry. The bottom line is you will never enjoy unripe or partially ripe Chikoo.
Choosing the best Chikoo
Like I mentioned above, the only way you will enjoy Chikoo is if you choose the ripe ones. Do not shy away from Chikoo that has wrinkled skin.
If Chikoo has soft and wrinkled skin, it is ripe and ready to eat. To be sure that it is fully ripe, you can poke it. It should be soft and the skin should be brown in color.
Green Chikoos are unripe and should be left at room temperature to ripen.
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How to use Chikoo
Here are a few culinary uses of Chikoo.
- Eat out of hand
Most people enjoy eating Chikoo on its own. The best way to eat Chikoo out of hand is to slice it in half, removing the seeds, then using a spoon to scoop out the flesh.
- Make a smoothie
You can make a smoothie using Chikoo. Mix other ingredients bananas, milk, and greek yoghurt for the perfect results.
- Juice them
Chikoo can be juiced. The juice tastes amazing.
- Add them to your garden salad
You can add Chikoo flesh to your garden salad for that extra sweetness.
- To make ice cream
Churn Chikoo with cream, milk, and eggs for the perfect ice cream.
- In pies
Chikoo is a great addition to pies.
Is Chikoo nutritious?
Chikoo is packed with nutrients. It contains antioxidants, fiber, as well as vitamins A, C, and E. All these nutrients are very essential for the body.
How to properly store Chikoo
The best way to store Chikoo is to place them inside a plastic bag and then store the bag inside your refrigerator.
The Chikoo will stay fresh for approximately 10 days. If you want them to last longer, you can freeze them. Simply scoop out the ripe flesh, place it in a freezer-safe container, and freeze.
You can store Chikoo at room temperature but be warned that the fruits continue to ripen when left at room temperature. Therefore, they are likely to go bad at a very fast rate.
Interesting facts about Chikoo
- Chikoo fruits grow on evergreen trees that grow up to 100 feet in height. The trees normally have small flowers that are seen all-year-round and the flowers eventually transform into Chikoo fruits.
- Chikoo fruits go by many names including; sapodilla, sapote, sofeda, Manilkara zapota, sawo, and naseberry.
- The origin of Chikoo can be traced back to Mexico, but it is currently grown in most places that have warm climates including; India, Central America, Southeast Asia, Florida, and the Caribbean.
- Chikoo fruits are very sweet because they have high levels of fructose and sucrose.
- The bark of the Chikoo tree produces sap called chicle which is used in many things including making chewing gum.
- When burned, the wood of the Chikoo tree gives off incense fragrance.
Chikoo, also known as sapodilla is an amazing fruit. I am yet to meet anyone who does not like its flavor.
I believe the reason is that its malty and sweet flavor is not overwhelming. Additionally, it does not have a strong aroma which is a common trait with other tropical fruits.
I am of the opinion that you can only enjoy Chikoo if you eat it when it is fully ripe. If eaten when not fully ripe, the taste will not be good because of the astringent tannin-like properties.
Pretty sure you have eaten unripe pineapples at least once in your life. That unpleasant sensation that it leaves on your tongue that interferes with your taste buds and leaves your mouth dry is the same sensation that unripe Chikoo will give you, or even worse. Stay far away from unripe Chikoo.
Chikoo will always be a great dessert option, just like most tropical fruits are. You can add it to your pies, ice cream, tarts, and any other sweet dessert. The options are limitless.
In case you have been wondering whether you should try Chikoo for the first time, go ahead.
There is nothing to lose. Who knows, it may just end up being one of your go-to tropical fruits. If you don’t like it, you can always try other exotic fruits discussed in this blog.