For folks living out at the beaches of Jacksonville you may have noticed a new produce stand that has opened on Atlantic Blvd. just west of The Ditch and on the south side of the street. Peaches, boiled peanuts, veggies, local muscadine/scuppernong grapes and… mamey sapote? For those that are intimidated by new foods, have no fear, mamey is your friend. Mamey are native to Mexico but they have been transplanted to tropical and sub tropical climates like South Florida. The fruit can range from the size of a small avocado to up to a foot in length. The skin of the fruit is brown with the texture of flaky sandpaper. The fruit is ripe when it gives to slight pressure. The ripeness can be determined by slicing a thin layer of the brown skin off. If it reveals deep orange the fruit is ripe… light pink/green, let it ripen. Don’t rush a mamey and try to eat it when it’s firm or you may have an unpleasant experience. When unripe the flesh of the fruit it rubbery and very tannic… bitter tasting. A soft ripe mamey on the other hand is quite the magical experience. You can split it in half as you would an avocado. In the center of the fruit should be a medium sized seed. The soft custardy flesh of the mamey has a vibrant orange/pink similar to that of a baked potato. Now comes the good part, the taste. Mamey reminds many of pumpkin pie with a dash of vanilla and almond extract. The flavor has been likened to sweet potato, cherries, chocolate and almonds. Eat it right out of the skin or add it to smoothies or ice cream recipes. Mamey is high in vitamin C, beta carotene, iron and fiber. The carb/fat/protein profile is 88%/8%/4%. Some might say a near perfect balance.
Recently I made a mamey gadget by scooping a medium sized mamey into a bowl and adding:
1 t maca, 1 T mesquite, 1 t carob, 1/4 C cashew pieces and a pinch of salt
The cashews add a cruchy surprise. It may take a little searching to find mamey in your area but it’s worth the hunt. Asian markets, flea markets are you best bet. If you happen to be in Jax and visit the produce stand on Atlantic, ask if they have any mamey and also encourage them to carry organic produce.