Abiu – Pouteria caimito
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Pouteria caimito, the abiu is a tropical fruit tree originated in the Amazonian region of South America. It will grow an average of 10 m high, and can grow as high as 35 m under good conditions. Its fruits shape varies from round to oval with a point. When ripe, it has smooth bright yellow skin and will have one to four ovate seeds. The inside of the fruit is translucent and white. It has a creamy and jelly-like texture and its taste is similar to the sapodilla — a sweet caramel custard. The abiu tree is part of the Sapotaceae family and is very similar in appearance to the canistel.
The fruit of the abiu tree is edible and considered one of the best of the sapotes due to having the sweet caramel-like taste of sapodilla with a smoother texture. It is commonly eaten out of hand and, although in Colombia those eating the fruit this way are advised to grease their lips to keep the gummy latex from sticking, this hazard can be avoided by selecting fully ripe fruits and scooping out the flesh with a utensil. The tartness of a bit of added lime juice may enhance the flavor, especially when chilled. The melting sweet pulp of the abiu is also used to flavor ice cream and cut into yogurt for a light and delicious breakfast. The subtlety of the flavor limits its utility in more complex confections and salads. Abiu fruit is a significant source of calcium, phosphorus, vitamin A, and vitamin C.
The dark golden-yellow, overripe fruit develops a mucilaginous nature. In Brazil, people use this characteristic to relieve coughs, bronchitis and other pulmonary afflictions. Other folk medicine uses are as an astringent, anti-anemic, and anti-inflammatory and to relieve fever and diarrhea.