WHAT IS CHIKOO OR CHICKOO? SAPODILLA: HEALTH BENEFITS, USES AND HISTORY OF CHIKOO: SAPODILLA FRUIT SALAD RECIPE
The chickoo or chikoo fruit as it is known in the Asian subcontinent is elsewhere called the sapodilla (plum) or sapota. It originated in Yucatan, Mexico, Eastern Guatemala and Belize. The Spanish explorers took it to the Philippines and from there it spread through Asia.
It looks a little like a round potato or a kiwi fruit, but if you scratch the skin if one and it’s green underneath, don’t buy it, it’s not good to eat. I think that these are an acquired taste, as they are not, like ber (Indian jujube), my favourite fruit. They have a brown-yellow flesh and contain seeds; the texture is mushy.
They are, however, extremely good for you and have a myriad health uses. The Aztecs used to chew on the gummy latex of the tree bark, and called it chicle. The main purpose of cultivating the trees is now to use this latex in chewing gum.
Eating the fruit will give you an almost instantaneous energy boost as it contains the simple sugars, fructose and sucrose, and as it is a rich source of vitamin A (like bilberries) it is good for he eyesight. It also contains some of the B-complex vitamins and a lot of vitamin C, as well as minerals such as copper, iron, potassium, phosphorous, manganese and zinc. It has a high fibre content so is good for relieving constipation and helping to lower the risk of colon cancer and piles.
It is very good to eat during pregnancy as it helps prevent morning sickness. Because of the electrolytes in it the nervous system functions are boosted, and it also helps give you a feeling of well-being. It’s one of nature’s “happy” foods, like the kiwi. It also helps promote collagen production and will help rejuvenate the skin; so chikoo is good at slowing the aging process of the skin and can help prevent the formation of deep wrinkles. Try some of the pulped fruit as a face mask. It has a high tannin content and so is useful in curing diarrhoea and dysentery. The antioxidant properties of sapodilla help lower the risk of breast and colon cancer. The fruit also has anti inflammatory properties so eases the pain caused by gastritis and Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS).
Paste made from the seeds is applied to stings and bites, and the juice from the seeds has antihistamine qualities. Actually the juice extracted from the seeds is also an effective sedative and has been used to treat anxiety and depression. The liquid from the seeds is also a diuretic and will help remove stones from the internal organs.
A decoction of the young fruit and flowers is said to be good for the lungs and will help with pulmonary problems. You need young fruit and leaves from this evergreen tree and boil them so that the liquid is reduced by half, then leave to steep overnight, strain and use a small cupful at a time, no more than four times a day. This is also an expectorant and will get rid of phlegm and mucus. To prevent colds, coughs and flu, a tisane made from the yellow leaves (the older ones) will assist. Take a handful of leaves and boil them in two pints of water, until it boils down to 1 pint. Leave to steep for a few hours, then strain and drink as for the decoction above. This is also a diuretic, so don’t take too much of it.
The wood from the Archas zapota tree or Manilkara zapota is hard and durable and is used to make furniture, farming implements and tools. The tannins from the tree are good for the preparation of dyes, so almost all parts of the tree, which can grow up to 40 metres high, are useful.
Chikoo are good in milk shakes with bananas, make sure all the skin and seeds are removed from the chikoo before blending with milk and one or two bananas. You won’t need to add extra sugar!
4-6 sapodillas (chikoo)
2 ripe mangoes
2 red-skinned apples
100 gr walnuts, chopped
juice of 1 orange
Remove the pith and seeds from the sapodillas and the skin and stone from the mangoes and cut into cubes or slices. Wash then core the apples and slice.
Remove the pith from the orange segments and put them in a bowl with the rest of the fruit and walnuts. Cover with the juice of an orange and chill for an hour before serving with ice cream or whipped cream, or natural yoghurt.
This has Taste and is a Treat.