Saturday, November 8, 2008

Rambutan and Sapodilla--Farmer's Market Exotic Fruits

The next two fruits I picked up last week in my Farmer's Market bag were a personal favorite; the Rambutan and one I have seen before but had not yet tried; the Sapodilla.

The rambutan is a small, red, "hairy" fruit, native to Southeast Asia. As a matter of fact the word rambutan (or rambut) means hair in Malay. For that reason they remind me of "tribbles", the hairy little creatures from the show Star Trek, that purr and keep reproducing. I have never had a bowl of them get bigger or heard Rambutan purr but they are little and cute.

Rambutan are related to the lychee and the longan and have a similar taste but are a bit sweeter and have more flavor. They grown in clusters on an evergreen tree on various Hawaiian Islands as well as Puerto Rico, the Caribbean, Central America, Australia and many Southeast Asian countries like Thailand, Malaysia, and the Philippines.

You can cut the top of the skin off, or simply peel them, eating around the single brown pit. You can stuff them or make jams or jellies from the Rambutan, but they are so good that I prefer to just eat them, after chilling them in the refrigerator.

Next we have the Sapodilla which is also known by the names Chico, Sapote, Zapote or Chicle, is native to Mexico, the Yucatan, Guatamala and Belize and is now grown in much of the tropics. It is described as "a uniquely flavored fruit, the soft brown flesh of the sapodilla tastes a bit like a sweet mix of brown sugar and root beer."

Looking like a smooth-skinned potato, the sapodilla grows on a tall tree with glossy green leaves. The sapodilla tree is also the source of chicle, a chewing gum component and bears fruit about twice a year.

It is very sweet with a slightly grainy-textured flesh and is usually cut open and eaten fresh as a dessert fruit. The fruit has anywhere from 3-12 brownish black seeds with a little "hook" on one end that should not be swallowed as the hook could catch in the throat.

To me it did taste a lot like brown sugar and was maybe a bit too sweet and grainy for my preference but I am glad I finally tried it.

Hope you are having a great Saturday. (Max is hanging out with his favorite friend "Mr. Froggy, who gets drug all over the house).
Join me tomorrow for Souper Sundays, making and posting soups, stews and chilies each week. Leave a comment if you have a soup you want in the round up.


  1. That is some crazy fruit. Has anyone notified Mulder and Scully?
    We had a guinea pig named tribble, blonde furry thing. Gotta love Shatner - he's Canadian too!
    I would be interested in trying rambutan sometime - I am intrigued.

  2. wow sapodilla is one I've never heard of, sounds really sweet. nice that you got to try it and share your experiences :)

  3. I don't know about hairy fruit, but Max is gorgeous. He seems to be saying, "Forget the fruit; look at me!!!"

  4. Natashya--Love those Canadians!

    Kat--it is a bit sweet for me but interesting to try.

    Arlene--Max thanks you for noticing! He's happy it was his good side!) ;-)

  5. I picked up some rambuten at the grocery store last year...I thought they looked a little scary!! Their texture reminded me of a big firm grape...but you mentioned lychees, I've never tried one of those and I want to but can't find them!

  6. Aggie--yes, the rambutan do look scary don't they?! They are very similar to lychee. You can often buy lychee canned--not as great for just eating but the work well in a drink or sorbet.

  7. I love both of these fruit. I am sorry to hear that you did not like the sapodilla so much. I absolutely adore it. BTW my husband and I call them hairy balls:-)

  8. yeah I like rambutan ,more than sapodilla myself!!! very sweet and alot like lycee and chennet(i.e guinep) !!


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