The Mamey Sapote tree grows 40 to 60 feet (12 to 18 metres) tall, occasionally up to 140 feet (42 metres.) Its leaves grow up to 12 inches (30 cm) long and 4 inches (10 cm) wide. The tree is evergreen, but may occasionally lose its leaves during some winters. Young trees will die when the temperature hits 32 F (0 C); even mature trees can’t stand temperatures below 22 F (-6 C.)
The tree doesn’t grow true to seed. A tree grown from seed needs seven years of growth before it starts producing fruit; trees grown from grafting can produce fruit in three to five years. An average tree will produce in the range of 200 to 500 fruits a year, though very large trees may double that.
There many cultivars, flowering at different times of the year with small white blossoms. The trees then produce fruit that can be 3 to 8 inches (7 1/2 to 20 cm) long, and weigh 3/4 to 6 pounds (1/3 to 2 3/4 kg.) An average-sized Mamey Sapote fruit is the size of a large potato. In fact, its thick, coarse russet-brown skin makes it look like a sweet potato.
Mamey Sapote fruit bruises easily when ripe, so it is usually picked and shipped when only partially ripe.
There will be one large, glossy black seed at the centre (occasionally up to 4 seeds.) Both the skin and the seed are inedible.
The flesh inside is a pale green when unripe, ripening to a salmony orangey pink. It has a slightly grainy texture.
Some describe the taste as a bit like pumpkin and almond; others describe the taste as pumpkin, avocado and honey, or peach and apricot. The truth is, the flavour varies by cultivar, though it will always be sweetish.
Named cultivars include Magaa, Pac, Pantin, and Tazumal.
Not closely related to other fruit called sapotes.
You can just peel and eat the fruit fresh, or use it to make smoothies, milk shakes or ice cream.
Allow to ripen at room temperature for 3 to 5 days. Once ripe, store in fridge and use within 3 days. When ripe, it will yield to a gentle squeeze.
Native to Central America. Introduced into Florida in the late 1880s.