In Season: Mamey

Now selling from a wheelbarrow near you…

For the past two years, I have been lucky enough to encounter a vendor selling mamey out of his wheelbarrow. Last year I met him on Avenida del Sol Nuevo in Guayabitos, and this year, on the Avenida in La Peñita. With my limited Spanish, I asked him if these were a local fruit and he informed me they were from Chiapas, and take almost a year from flower to mature fruit. It is well worth the wait for this delicious fruit.

Mamey, oval objects looking more like little footballs than fruit, can weigh from a quarter to a half pound, and have a very large, lustrous, black pit or hueso that accounts for about 10% of its weight. When choosing a mamey, press on the fruit with one of your fingers. If the skin gives a little, it is ripe. They sell for 30 pesos a kilo.

A sturdy hard, brown skin protects a meat that is pink to orange in colour, creamy in texture – like an avocado, and pleasantly sweet. I would describe the distinctive flavour as a subtle combination of peachy pumpkin and sweet potato with a hint of chocolate. If you do not like papaya or avocado, chances are you won’t like mamey as they have the same texture. You really have to develop a taste for these. They are so good in smoothies.

The Mamey Sapote (Pouteria sapota) is a species of tree native to southern Mexico, but also grown in Central America, the Caribbean and southern Florida.

The mamey is a very healthy fruit, being high in vitamins A and C, as well as potassium. It is also an excellent source of dietary fibre and calcium.

It is a winter/early-spring fruit, and every year at this time I indulge myself. Keep your eyes peeled, and if you are lucky, you might find the wheelbarrow of melon-like fruit. Treat yourself to a mamey and celebrate the end of winter.

by Ken & Bea Rauch

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