The manilkara zapota. Hmmm... not many folk would know this fruit by its scientific name, rather preferring to refer to it as just the plain ol' ciku, or chiku. At least in Singapore, it's that time of year, when the fresh ciku is ripe enough to eat. It's familiar yet unique sweetness, with an ever slight pear flavour with a mixed taste of honey and brown sugar - that makes it an absolute delight to eat! Its flesh is soft and reddish-brown; and its seeds, by contrast are hard, black, elongated, flat and shiny. I always enjoy the chiku (manilkara zapota) fruit, and recall growing up eating this wonderful fruit as a young person.
Who would have known. This humble, local fruit has actually got lots of miles to its name(s), with a string of nicknames including sapodilla, sapota, chicoo, chico, naseberry, or nispero - see the current list by country in the photo below. This fruit is known by as many names as there are countries in which it has now called home; quite distant from its original home, Yukatan in Mexico (when its genetics are traced - Germplasm Information Resources Network) database
The manilkara zapota produces a latex that coagulates into what is known as chicle, which I am reliably informed, can be used to form the base for chewing gum; i.e. before synthetic material came to be used.
And, as if to keep us all in anticipation each time, the ciku is seasonal - flowering between October- November, and then again from February to March each year in Singapore. The fruit then takes nearly four months from flowering to maturity.
Cannot wait to sink my teeth into this one!