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What is a sapote tree?

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Quick Answer

The sapote tree is a tropical plant native to the lower elevations of Central and South America. It grows between 60 and 130 feet tall and boasts a leathery fruit with orange flesh.

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The sapote tree has also been cultivated throughout parts of Asia, the Caribbean and parts of North America. There are groves of sapote trees that have been established in Florida for the last 100 years. The sapote tree needs a warm and humid environment and only grows in locations without frost. It grows best in sandy, well-drained soil.

This tree has evergreen, deciduous leaves that have thin oval shapes. When the sapote blooms, it produces white or pale yellow flowers with five petals. The sapote fruit is shaped like a football and weighs up to 2 pounds depending on the variety. Its unimpressive brown exterior hides the salmon-colored, succulent flesh prized for its rich flavor and creamy texture, especially by expatriate Cubans. The fruit has a sweet flavor when mature, although it can take up to a year to ripen on the tree. Usually it is eaten raw and fresh, but it's also popular in salads, desserts, milkshakes and fruit drinks. Sapote fruit is becoming increasingly popular for cooking.

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