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All about Egg fruit



Pouteria campechiana or canistel is a tropical fruit and belongs to the family Sapotaceae. It is native to the southern parts of Mexico in the Yucatan Peninsula. Canistel is distributed well around the region including Nicaragua, Costa Rica, Panama, Puerto Rico, Jamaica, and Cuba. When the fruit introduced to India is not known exactly, though it was likely around the time the Philippines received the fruit in 1924. Eggfruit’s popularity is limited to the regions of its origin, as it’s not well known in Europe and in most countries in Asia. Eggfruit cultivated in Maharashtra throughout the Western Ghats, Kerala, limited parts of Tamil Nadu, and it’s also a hobby fruit in a few gardens of Auroville. The fruit does not have any serious farming efforts, and it generally sulks in the shadow of its immensely popular brother, the sapota.

Distribution and cultivation of this fruit are widespread to many countries, and often sold in the markets, thus the common names of this fruit are assigned based on the yellowish to yellow-colored flesh, the shape, and also the taste and texture of the aril. In English, this fruit is known as yellow sapote, egg fruit, and canistel due to the texture of the ripen pulp is buttery and a milky taste. The canistel is a drupe with a single seed, wrapped inside fleshy aril or pulp.

FRUIT CHARACTERISTICS

The fruit is variable in shape with uneven bulged, from round to egg-shaped, nearly round, oval, ovoid or spindle-shaped. Length varies from 7 to 12.5 cm, and width from 5 to 7.5 cm. Young fruit has green skin, leathery textured peel, and contains latex. The flesh of young fruit is hard to gummy with a bitter and sour taste. Ripen or matured fruit has yellowish to yellow-colored skin, soften texture peel, and the aril of matured fruit is soft with few fine fibers and creamy, with a sweet taste. Freestone seeds range in size from 5 to 7.5 cm long. Fruit pulp thickness makes up 77.11% of total fruit weight. Seeds and peel made approximately 16.5% and 6.39% of total fruit weight. It has the highest moisture recorded for seeds, containing 50.17% of moisture. Meanwhile, pulp and peel composed 46.1% and 48.8% of moisture, respectively.

Checking for Ripeness in Eggfruit Canistels ripen on the tree and turn from green to gold. Unripe fruits may still bear a golden sheen, so the best indicator is the skin’s gloss and texture. Look for fruits with a dull, velvety texture that resembles a mango. Eggfruits should give to the touch, indicating that their smooth pulp is ready for consumption. Some canistels develop small brown spots and a slight reddish blush. Neither of these factors will adversely affect the fruit’s taste. Avoid eggfruits with wrinkled, sunken, decayed skin. Spoiled fruits also develop brown and black discoloration.

Note: cut the fruit in half and check the pulp before discarding it—if it’s still golden and soft, consider holding on to it. Like mango, canistels may develop an ugly exterior but still maintain their rich taste.

Health Benefits of Egg Fruit

Like other orange-colored fruits, eggfruit is high in beta-carotene. This nutrient protects eyes, gives hair its lustrous sheen, and maintains glowing skin. Additionally, carotenoids fight cancers, age-related degeneration, depression, headaches, heartburn, and high blood pressure.

One serving of eggfruit provides a good quantity of iron, a mineral essential for blood health due to its ability to facilitate proper oxygen circulation. Iron also promotes good memory, stable energy levels and overall strength.

Few scientific studies have been conducted on the health benefits of canistel, but studies report the following benefits of closely related variants:

According to a 2013 study published in Metabolic Brain Disease, canistel’s relative Pouteria ramiflora extracts exhibit neuroprotective benefits against streptozotocin-induced rats.

A Rutgers University study published in the Journal of Cosmetics Dermatology found potential in Pouteria Lucuma nut oil’s ability to promote skin regeneration.

According to a 2009 study published in the Latin American Journal of Pharmacology, Pouteria ramiflora root extracts have pronounced antinociceptive and anti-inflammatory properties.

SENSORY CHARACTERISTICS

The young fruit of canistel has greenish mesocarp with sticky latex, and often has a bitter sour taste. The ripened fruit mesocarp turns from yellowish to creamy yellow color. Matured canistel is often eaten fresh as a dessert fruit, and its fleshy pulp has a buttery or creamy texture, sweet and milky taste. The consistency of ripened canistel pulp quality is similar to a hard-boiled yolk.

HARVEST SEASON

Egg fruit is often cultivated in home gardens in Sri Lanka, India, Malaysia, and the Philippines as a fruit tree. The mature period for this fruit varies from one locality to another; in Sri Lanka the fruiting season is from September to February, meanwhile, in Mexico, the blooming period is from June to February, and in Cuba the flowering starts in April and May and the main fruiting season is from October and February (Orwa et al., 2009). Egg fruit season in India is June through July. Farmers have to pick individual ripe fruits of the tree, as they do not ripen uniformly. The estimated annual production of a tree can produce fruits up to 136 to 250 kg/year and the weight of a fruit is about 175 g.

POST HARVEST

Canistel is often eaten fresh as a dessert fruit, and also as fruit salad with condiments such as salt, pepper, lime juice, or mayonnaise. The pureed canistel can be added to cake or ice cream as a flavor and used as a filling for the pie. This fruit is also used in drinks, fresh-pressed juice, milkshake, or eggnog. The blended drink is enriched with milk and sugar, flavored with vanilla, nutmeg, and spices. The pulp can be dried, make into powder, and use in pudding mixes. The ripened pulp can be mashed, flavored with sugar, heated, and prepared as butter or a spread. Additional to the use of the fruit, the latex of the canistel tree has been used as material in the production of traditional chewing gum in Central America. In Sri Lanka, a canistel fruit meal is used as a poultry feed to enhance growth performance and carcass parameters in broiler chickens. The grown tree has been used as a shed for the coffee plants, for shelter and it can be exploited as timber and wood plank as a building material for house frames, cart, or furniture. The bark of the tree can be simmered and the mixture has been used as an antipyretic medication to lessen fever in Mexico, and in Cuba, it has been used to treat skin blisters or soreness.


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