Last weekend, my mom bought some naseberries during her visit to the parish of Manchester; these fruits are lovely, and delightful to eat.
The naseberry (Manilkara zapota) is popularly known as the Sapodilla; it is also called zapote, chico, níspero, and sapodilla plum.
The naseberry fruit is is spheroid to ovoid in shape, rusty brown on the surface, and approx. 5 – 10 cm (2 – 4 inches) in diameter. The flesh of the immature fruit contains both tannin and milky latex, and although it is nontoxic, it is unpalatable.
This milky juice or latex (Chicle) is also found in the bark of the Naseberry (Sapodilla) tree. At one time, Chicle was used as the base for all chewing gums; and although natural Chicle is still used, most of today’s chewing gums are made from a synthetic vinyl gum base.The naseberry fruit is mature and ready to be picked when the little ‘pin’ at the end of the fruit farthest from the stem falls off.
The mature fruit is at first slightly hard to the touch and must be wrapped in newspaper or brown paper to ripen. The ripe fruit is firm, yet soft, and not mushy. The juicy flesh of the ripen naseberry, varies from yellow to shades of brown and sometimes reddish-brown, and may be smooth or of a granular texture. The flavor is sweet and pleasant. The fruit can be seedless, but usually contain from three to six (and even 12) hard, black, shiny, flattened seeds about ¾ inch long in the center of the fruit. I read that each seed has a hook at one end that can catch in the throat if swallowed.The naseberry is one of the high calorie fruits, and is a very good source of dietary fiber. Dietary fiber is proven to relieve constipation episodes and helps protect mucousa of colon from cancer-causing toxins.This fruit is also rich in the antioxidant poly-phenolic compound – tannin. I read from this source that research studies found that tannins have astringent properties and shown to have potential anti-inflammatory, antiviral, anti-bacterial, and anti-parasitic effects.
Tannins are used to limit conditions like erosive gastritis, reflux-esophagitis, enteritis, and irritating bowel disorders. They are also used as a remedy for hemorrhoids. A fresh ripe nasberry is a good source of minerals – potassium, copper, iron; and vitamins like folate, niacin and pantothenic acid. These compounds are essential for optimal health. View more photos of naseberries below: