The flesh with soft brown of the sapodilla tastes a bit like a sweet mix of brown sugar
Manilkara zapota, commonly known as the sapodilla is a long-lived, evergreen tree native to southern Mexico, Central America, and the Caribbean. Spanish colonization. Sapodilla can grow to more than 30 m (98 ft) tall with an average trunk diameter of 1.5 m (4.9 ft). The average height of cultivated specimens, however, is usually between 9 and 15 m (30 and 49 ft) with a trunk diameter not exceeding 50 cm (20 in). The ornamental leaves are medium green and glossy. They are alternate, elliptic to ovate, 7–15 cm (2.8–5.9 in) long, with an entire margin.
The fruit is a large berry, 4–8 cm in diameter. Inside, its flesh ranges from a pale yellow to an earthy brown color with a grainy texture akin to that of a well-ripened pear. Each fruit contains one to six seeds. The seeds are hard, glossy, and black, resembling beans, with a hook at one end that can catch in the throat if swallowed. The fruit has an exceptionally sweet, malty flavor. The unripe fruit is hard to the touch and contains high amounts of saponin, which has astringent properties similar to tannin, drying out the mouth.
Sapodilla is one of the high-calorie fruits; 100 g provides 83 calories (almost the same as that of calories in sweet potato, and banana). Additionally, it is an excellent source of dietary fiber (5.6 g/100g), which makes it a good bulk laxative. This fiber content helps relieve constipation episodes and helps protect the mucosa of the colon from cancer-causing toxins.
The fruit is rich in antioxidant polyphenolic compound tannin. Tannins are a composite family of naturally occurring polyphenols. Research studies suggest that tannins possess astringent properties, and shown to have potential anti-inflammatory, antiviral, antibacterial, and anti-parasitic effects. Hence, these compounds may found useful applications in traditional medicines as antidiarrheal, hemostatic (stops bleeding) and as a remedy for hemorrhoids.
About 50 kg. of farmyard manure, 1 kg. N (1.5 kg. in case of rainfed varieties), 0.5 kg. P2O5 and 0.5 kg. K2O /tree/year are applied and the dose is regulated on the basis of the age of the tree and status of nutrients in soil especially of P and K. Under rainfed conditions, fertilizers are applied before the onset of the monsoon. Under irrigated conditions, it should be applied in two splits, one half at the beginning of the monsoon and the remaining half in the post-monsoon period (September-October).
The fruits are handpicked or harvested with a special harvester that has a round ring with a net bag fixed onto a long bamboo. The crop bearing commences from the fifth year. As such intercropping like vegetables may be taken up in the first four years of the project to make it viable. In high-density plantation, the production increases from 4.0 tonnes/acre in the fifth year to 6.0 tonnes/acre in the 7th year. Thereafter, the yield stabilizes at 8.0 tonnes/acre from the 8th to the 15th year.