Jocote, a Surprisingly Delicious Fruit.
Have you tried Jocotes?
The fruit tree, member of the cashew family, is indigenous to Central America and grows wild in the area that stretches all the way from southern Mexico to northern Peru and includes parts of north-coastal Brazil. Jocotes are most commonly enjoyed in Costa Rica, Guatemala, Honduras, El Salvador and Panama. Spanish explorers later brought Jocote fruit to the Philippines, where it is also very popular.
Although small, jocotes pack a flavourful punch!
You can enjoy the jocote fruit at any stage during the ripening process. When the skin is yellow or red the jocote will be sweet and ripe, tasting of citrus and mango. You can also enjoy a jocote with an unripened green skin. The green jocotes are mouth-puckeringly tart and most locals will add a dash of salt in an attempt to balance the acidity and tart flavours.
Though jocote fruit are most often enjoyed as-is, raw and fully ripe, you can also boil whole fruits in water with sugar and sometimes other fruits to make a syrup or “honey”. This is often used as a delicious topping for an ice cream dessert.
The skin is the thickness of a plum skin but it is very tender, making it easy and pleasant to chew. In the center of the fruit is a large pit, or stone, which is inedible. There are many different varieties of jocote fruit - up to 50 recorded in Central America alone - but they are all good for you!
Nutritional Value and more…
Jocote fruit are rich in vitamin C and carbohydrates. They are a source of calcium, phosphorus, iron and a small amount of fiber. They contain carotene, B-complex vitamins, and several important amino acids.
Jocote trees have been used by the people of Central America for hundreds of years, for both food and medicinal uses. The trees are also used to create living fences and to help staunch soil erosion. A sap or gum from the tree is used as a glue and the same material is combined with sapote or pineapple to make a treatment for jaundice.
If you are visiting Costa Rica during August and September you will find Jocotes everywhere, make sure you don't miss the opportunity to taste them in all of its versions: ripe, with salt, green, tronadores and with some chilli too!