Cooking with Caimito - Star Apple Chrysophyllum cainito
Caimitos are a delicious fruit grown on beautiful trees with leaves of shiny dark green above and undersides of a coppery hue. When the wind blows, these trees are a sight to see with beautiful shiny brown foliage. The tree produces 2-4" round fruits with a green or purple rind.
Inside, the sweet, translucent flesh is divided into 6-10 segments each encasing a seed. When the fruit is cut in cross section a star shape appears, hence the name, Star Apple.
Below are a few tips to help you choose, care for, and enjoy your caimitos.
Florida caimitos are found in Latin and Asian food markets, but they can also be ordered from our growers here.
When ordering fruit online, the growers will select fruit that is mature and will ripen when it arrives at your home. If selecting fruit at the market, choose mature fruits that are a dull purple or green color and are slightly wrinkled. Do not pick shiny, smooth, immature fruits as they are unlikely to ripen.
Fruits are picked mature, but not ripe. Place your caimitos on the counter at room temperature and lightly squeeze each day until the fruit gives under gentle pressure. At this point, your fruit is ready to open and enjoy.
Most caimitos are eaten fresh. Cut the ripe fruit in half across the equator and then gently separate the two halves. The pulp then may be spooned out, leaving the inedible seeds, rind, and core.
You can keep ripe, uncut caimitos in the refrigerator in an open plastic bag for a few weeks. If the fruit is cut, it will keep in a plastic bag, in the refrigerator about a week. You can freeze the fruit, but the texture will be altered. As with many other fruits, do NOT store an UNRIPE caimito in the refrigerator, as it will not ripen properly, if at all, after you remove it.
Counts and Weights
Florida caimitos yield approximately 1/3 - 2/3 cup of pulp, depending on fruit size.
Caimito is a nutritious fruit and contains moderate amounts of calcium, phosphorus, ascorbic acid and is a good source of anti-oxidants.
100g of pulp has the following nutrition:
Calories – 67,
Carbohydrates -14.7g ,
Calcium – 7-17 mg,
Phosphorous – 16-22mg,
Iron – .3-.7g,
Ascorbic Acid – 3-15mg
Data from: Morton, J. F. 1987. The star apple. in: Fruits of Warm Climates. J. F. Morton Publ., Miami, FL P. 408–410.
Caimitos are usually eaten fresh cut in half and scooped out with a spoon. but try them also in smoothies and other frozen desserts.
3 cups ripe caimito, seeded and mashed
1 12 oz. can (354 ml) Evaporated Milk
1 cup sugar
2 cups water
1. Mix all ingredients and place in a plastic container. Freeze until partially set.
2. Beat thoroughly and freeze overnight. Serve in ice cream cups.