The taste of abiu is hard to compare to any other fruit you’ve had. It’s kind of got the texture of a grape, but is the size of oblong tennis ball. Read more about this exotic fruit below.
Latin name and family: Pouteria caimito, Sapotaceae
Other names: emperor’s golden fruit, yellow sapote. Trinidad=caimitt or yellow star apple, Colombia=caimo, Ecuador=luma and cauje, Venezuela= temare, Portugal =abieiro, Ghana=alasa.
The fruits are the size of tennis ball to a baseball, or an average of 2-4 inches. It has a smooth skin, which contains irritating latex when it is still green or under ripe. As it matures the abiu becomes bright yellow. It is either round or slightly elliptical and may have one pointed end. The flesh is like a translucent and white gel. One fruit has up to four brown elliptical seeds that are 1 and 1/2 inches by 1/2 inch.
Abiu Taste and Culinary Uses:
Abiu has succulent, refreshing flesh, which tastes pleasantly sweet. Some people describe it as a mix between maple syrup and caramel. The texture of the pulp is like gel, it is smooth and not grainy (like chico). Although abui has a unique flavor, the flavor is still subtle and may be overpowered by combining it with many ingredients. A little lime juice will bring out the flavor more. Most people consider abiu best when eaten slightly chilled. It also has applications for juices, smoothies, ice cream, sorbet etc.
Harvest and Storage:
You can pick abiu while still slightly under ripe to almost bright yellow. Yet, they bruise easily. Thus, they should be put in padded containers when you transport them to markets. Fruits ripen in up to 5 days and have a shelf life of 7-14 days at 40-50° F. Moreover, you should keep the stored fruits out of direct sunlight.
Abiu fruit is a significant source of calcium, phosphorus, vitamin A, and vitamin C (180% the RDI of Vitamin C). The fruit is rich in vitamins and minerals: thiamine 0.2 mg, riboflavin 0.2 mg, niacin 3.4 mg, Vitamin C 49 mg, calcium 22 mg and iron 1.8 mg. Brazilians use abiu medicinally to help with coughs, bronchitis and other lung complaints.
This fruit tree thrives in tropical areas. In Hawaii it will grow up to 3,000 feet elevation. Whereas, in South America it has been known to grow at up to 6,000 feet elevation. These trees grow from 30-120ft tall. Mature trees may produce anywhere from 100-1000 fruits a year. Abiu has multiple bearing times throughout the year.
Abiu is generally propagated by seeds, although grafted varieties ensure less variation. Seeds should be planted as soon as possible. Some people dry the seeds in shaded, open air for a few days and then plant the seeds 2 inches deep. Abiu seeds germinate in 15-20 days and they should be planted 20 feet apart. From fruit set to harvest, the abiu takes around 3 months.
Seedlings produce fruit in as little as 3 years, with a full harvest in 5 years. Young grafted trees used for superior varieties may start bearing in 18 months. Known as a hardy tree, the abiu doesn’t need a lot of attention. However, some people like to give the lower branches a little pruning after about 1 year.
- Morton, Julia. (1987). Fruits of warm climates https://hort.purdue.edu/newcrop/morton/abiu.html
- K. Lim. Abiu. A Botanical and Agronomic Review. May 1991. https://dpif.nt.gov.au/__data/assets/pdf_file/0004/233545/tb169.pdf