The Caimito tree is a tropical evergreen that grows up to 50 feet (15 metres) tall, with a trunk up to 24 inches (60 cm) wide. It has glossy, green leaves up to 2 inches (5 cm) wide and 7 inches (18 cm) long, and bronze on their undersides. The sap of the tree is very sticky.
The tree is not frost tolerant: a temperature of 28 F (-2 C) will damage it.
The tree blooms with small, purplish-white blossoms. If it has been grown from seed, it will start producing fruit in 5 to 10 years. If it has been grafted, it may start producing some fruit in the very first year.
The colour of the fruit’s skin can be green developing to light green or green ripening to purple, depending on the variety.
The two best-known purple varieties are “Haitian” and “Griemeil.” They are round, and 2 1/2 to 4 inches (5 to 10 cm) wide.
The skin is inedible: it’s rubbery, tough, and doesn’t taste good.
When cut in half, a star shape appears inside the fruit. The pulp is soft and sweet, and somewhat slimy. It can be dark purple with a bit of white at the centre. There will be 4 to 10 glossy hard-brown small seeds.
Caimito fruit doesn’t ship well as it bruises easily.
The Caimito fruit is best eaten when chilled. Try not to allow any of the latex that can ooze out of the skin to get onto the pulp, because the latex is bitter.
Cut the fruit in half, spoon the flesh out. Leave behind the sides and the core.
Makes a good jelly.
3 fruit = 1 kg / 2.25 pounds
Store Caimito at room temperature for up to 1 week, or in refrigerator for up to 2 weeks.
Caimito is native to Central America and the West Indies but is now grown throughout tropical and subtropical regions. Caimito was introduced n the Philippines in 1905 and now grows throughout the country.
In Spanish, white camito is “caimito blanco”; purple camito is “caimito morado”.