This tree is native to Southern Mexico, Belize, Guatemala and El Salvador. During World War II, British pilots and crewmen were under training in the Bahamas, and showed great fondness for this special fruit, they bought all they could find in the market.
The tree is of medium size, generally no more than 25 ft, and slender in habit, with a dense spreading crown. The plant has abundant white, gummy latex. Fragrant, bisexual flowers are solitary or in small clusters, borne in the leaf axils or at leafless nodes.
Canistel is the showiest fruit of the family. Extremely variable in form and size, it may be nearly round, with or without a curved beak, or may be somewhat oval, spindle-shaped, or even heart-shaped. On ripening, the very smooth and glossy skin turns lemon-yellow or pale orange-yellow, Beneath the skin the yellow flesh is relatively firm and mealy. Toward the center of the fruit it is softer and more pasty. It has been often likened in texture to the yolk of a hard-boiled egg. The flavor is sweet, musky, and somewhat like that of a baked sweet potato.
The fruit can be eaten with salt, pepper and lime or lemon juice or mayonnaise, either fresh or after light baking. The pureed flesh may be used in custards or added to ice cream mix just before freezing. A rich milkshake, or "egg-fruit-nog", is made by combining ripe canistel pulp, milk, sugar, vanilla, nutmeg or other seasoning in a blender. Canistel pulp can be used as a spread on a toast, for making pancakes, cupcakes, jam, and marmalade.
Season: September - March. May fruit twice a year. Well adapted to South Florida. Eaten fresh, used in cooking, pies, excellent in ice cream. In a milk shake tastes like egg nog. Very similar in taste to Lucuma from Andean countries. This fruit taste is between Ciku and Camote (yam).
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