Sapota – nutrition, proven benefits and recipes

The scientific name of sapota are Manilkara zapota and Achras sapota. It is also known as Ausubo, Chiku, Khirni, Baramasi, Buah chiku and Chikoo. Other name include:

CHINESE: Ren xin guo.
FRENCH: Nèfle d’Amérique, Sapote, Sapotier, Sapotillier.
GERMAN: Breiapfel, Breiapfelbaum, Kaugummibaum , Sapote, Sapotille, Sapotillbaum.
JAPANESE: Sabojira, Sapojira.
KHMER: Lomut.
KOREAN: Kkom na mu.
MALAY: Ciku, Sawo londo (Indonesia), Sawo manila (Indonesia).
NEPALESE: Gudalu, Saapotaa.
SPANISH: Níspero, Sapote (Latin America), Zapote, Zapotillo.
THAI: Lámút farang
VIETNAMESE: Hông xiêm, Hong xuan dinh, Xabôchê.

Chico is a much-branched tree can grow up to a height of 8 meters. Fruit is brown, fleshy, ovoid to round, 3 to 8 centimeters long, containing 5 or more shiny blackish-brown seeds. Flesh is brown, soft, slightly gritty, sweet, and very agreeable in flavor.


Sapota nutrition value

Sapotas fruit is rich in sugar fruits, but contains a healthy dose of iron, which keeps energy levels sustained and transports oxygen to the blood. Chikus contain magnesium, which keeps bones healthy, stabilizes blood pressure, and maintains nerves. Niacin, also found in chikus, reduces arthritic pain, promotes healthy circulation and assists with the body’s natural energy production.

A 100 gm of sapota contain about 134 calories. It has

33.8 g Carb

2.6 g Fiber (10% RDI)

.6 g Fat

2.1g Protein (4% RDI)

410 IU Vitamin A (8% RDI)

20 mg Vitamin C (33% RDI)

1.8 mg Niacin (9% RDI)

39 mg Calcium (4% RDI)

1 mg Iron (6% RDI)

30 mg Magnesium (8% RDI)

28 mg Phosphorous (3% RDI)

344 mg Potassium (10% RDI)

Traditional medicinal benefits and uses of sapota

• Decoction of the bark used for diarrhea and fever.

• Fruit soaked in melted butter overnight, is thought to be preventive for biliousness and fevers.

• Seed kernel oil used as skin ointment and as dressing for falling hair.

• In Mexico, used for kidney stones and rheumatism.

• In West Indies, seeds considered aperient and diuretic; the bark as tonic and febrifuge.

• In Cuba, seed infusion used as an eyewash.

• In Konkan, fruit soaked in melted butter overnight, considered an excellent preventive for biliousness and febrile attacks.

• In Antilles, astringent fruit used for dysentery.

• Leaf decoction used for fever, hemorrhage, wounds and ulcers.

• For neuralgia, leaf with tallow or oil, applied as compress to the temples.

• Seeds used for fever; when ground with water, acts as diuretic.

• In Indonesia, flowers are one of the ingredients in a powder rubbed on the woman’s body after childbirth.

• In Cambodia, tannin from the bark used for diarrhea and fever.


• Bark: Used for tanning sails and making fish tackle.

• Gum chicle: Derived from the bark juice, is used in the manufacture of chewing gum. Gum chicle is also used for transmission belts, dental surgery, and a substitute for gutta-percha.

• Lambanog flavoring: fruit is also a popularly used in the aging of the coconut liquer, lambanog.

Scientific proven health benefits of sapota

A study has shown that the sapota fruit is rich in antioxidants and sapota juice has multiple radical-scavenging potential due to its nutraceutical components, viz., phenolics, carotenoids and ascorbic acid.

In a study the seeds of sapota has shown significant antibacterial activity against gram-positive, as well as gram-negative bacteria.

Another study has shown that the leaf of the sapota has strong antioxidant and liver protection properties, that can provide protection against liver damage and free radicals.

A study concluded that the stem bark of sapota possesses significant antitumour activity.

A study has shown that the roots of sapota tree has anti-diabetic potential.

Another study suggest that Sapota fruits has potential in inhibition of tumor development and progression leading to cancer prevention.

A study has shown that freeze dried unripe sapota fruit extracts has some anti-fungal properties.

Another study has shown that the leaves of sapota tree possesses analgesic effect, that helps to ease pain.

A study finds that the leaves of sapota has both anti-inflammatory and antipyretic activities, which could be the therapeutic option against inflammatory disease, pyrexia and helps in fever relief.

According to another study the aqueous extract of unripe fruits has antioxidant, antihyperglycemic and hypocholesterolemic effects. It helps to counteract high levels of glucose in the blood and balances the cholesterol level in the body.

Caution !
Seeds contain hydrocyanic acid and should be removed before eating the fruit.

How to check for Ripeness of Sapota

Sapotas are climacteric,  which means that they need to be ripened artificially. Mostly, sapotas sold on markets should be already ripe. A good chiku has a round, uniform shape with no wrinkles or signs of bruising to touch. It should not be hard and light, although these can be purchased with the expectation that they’ll soften in a few weeks’ time.

Pick the fruit from the plant when it is fully brown or tan and shows no sign of green. Scratch gently to verify there’s no green below the skin. Sapotas will get softer once picked, but not sweeter; therefore, if the sapotas are brown but hard, they may be picked with the expectation of growing more pliable and consumption-friendly.

Eating an unripe sapota has bitter latex which permeate the overall taste. Though the latex residing near the skin never goes away completely (even in the ripest fruits), it subsides considerably as it ripens. The flesh should not be green, but rather a caramel brown.

Overripe chikus have a withered, shrunken look. The flesh inside is discolored, water-sunken and near black; the smell is slightly fermented. The taste is the biggest indicator, as it’s no longer sweet but musky and sour.

How to open or cut

The soft fruit can be easily cut in to half, and scoop out the flesh. A few shiny black seedsare present in the middle of the fruit, which can be easily removed.

Storage tips

Ripe sapotas last at room temperature for roughly a week, but refrigeration keeps them preserved for up to two weeks. Hard yet mature sapodillas can keep for up to six weeks in very cold refrigeration, and eight when fully frozen. Chilling sapodillas reduces their quality significantly. Only freeze fully ripe sapotas and ideally, consume at room temperature.

Sapota Recipe Ideas and Uses:

Blend mashed sapota into breads, muffins, pancake batters.

Make a sweet sauce by straining the flesh through a colander and adding other fruit juice (pineapple or orange). Adding a nut based whip cream to further enhance the taste.

Boil the fruit and make a jam, though it requires frequently skimming the gummy green latex froth from the mixture.

Blend a bit of banana and avocado with sapota for the filling to make a raw vegan sapota filling pie.

Make a sapota milkshake by blending frozen banana, sapota, and nut milk.

Many researchers in Thailand discovered that seed coat of this fruit has potential to use in cosmetics as an anti-wrinkle.

Note: The seeds are quite toxic, so avoid ingestion.

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