Mamey fruit – or in Spanish, sapote fruit, is native to Mexico and Central America. And in Belize, like many fruits, it is only available seasonally. Every year – the late spring and early summer is the time for FRUIT. When our year-round steady supply of oranges, bananas, papaya, limes, pineapple, and watermelon is supplemented by delicious seasonal fruits from the mainland. (Man…I hate papaya)
Like one of my favorites: the mamey. Which I just saw yesterday, for sale all around San Pedro town.
Pronounced MAH-may. Not mommy.
If you see this pile…grab one! Well…grab one and pay for it. You should find them for $2-4bzd depending on how plentiful they are on the island Mine yesterday was $3bzd. It’s a meaty fruit…and can last me a few days, once open, in the fridge.
What Does Mamey Fruit Taste Like
This fruit is absolutely delicious. Wikipedia accurately describes the taste as a mixture of “sweet potato, pumpkin, honey, prune, peach, apricot, cantaloupe, cherry, and almond”.
That sounds ridiculous but SERIOUSLY – you can taste the pumpkin, almond, honey, and prune. It is almost like a pie filling – creamy and sweet. And most tasty, to me, chilled and spooned from the skin/shell. It’s like dessert.
If you do not like it, it has been described to me as “cold sweet potato”.
How To Tell If Your Mamey Is Ripe
Mamey – both the shape and the seed – look somewhat like avocado but with thicker, tougher, non-shiny skin. And like an avocado, you need to press lightly on the outside (by the stem seems best to me) and it will give. It tastes best when it feels like an overripe avocado. That’s when the inside is at its custardy, smoothest best.
As ALWAYS with a new fruit or even a familiar one like pineapple, I ask for help. If I want a pineapple that will be ready tomorrow, I ask for it. TRUST ME WHEN I SAY that my judgment in such matters is inferior…plus, I LOVE to chat up fruit merchants. Become friends with your fruit and veggie merchant. It pays great dividends and they know very cool things.
When it is ripe, you can cut it like an avocado. And eat wedges or slices…like a cantaloupe. The shiny, very pretty seed comes out easily and the delicious fruit comes easily out of the rugged skin.
Other Type of Mamey
Mamey is technically a berry. Allegedly. I spent way too much time this morning trying to figure out what makes a berry and stopped when I got to this article from a well-regarded university: Bananas are Berries and Raspberries Are Not.
My conclusion? A drupe…a berry…I do not care about this classification. They are all fruit!
Let’s get down to types of mamey. In Belize, the most frequently seen mamey is the red mamey. But there is also yellow mamey. I’ve only run into those ONCE. On the island of Guanaja (one of the most beautiful places I’ve ever visited MINUS the killer sand flies)…
They called it Cannonball Fruit.
But back to Belize’s red mamey fruit.
It’s THE most gorgeous color. I am going to officially rename Pantone 171C – Mamey.
Keep your eyes peeled for the mamey – pull over, chat to your fruit vendor and buy one.
I also saw Sour Sop yesterday – an even more interesting fruit – and even more popular in Belize…at least as a flavoring. This one is a bit trickier to eat but you can read all about that in my post about the SourSop, Graviola, Guanabana…
Try new fruits! And definitely let me know what you think.