Jocote, Red (Spondias purpurea)
Jocote fruit (pronounced ho-CO-tay) grow on deciduous trees in warm tropical climates. They begin to develop following tiny red flowers, before any leaves appear on the tree. Jocote fruit grows along thick, knobby branches in clusters or alone.
Young Jocote fruit are green or yellowish-green and ripen to a purple or red color; some variants of the species will ripen to a yellow color. The thin skin has a waxy appearance and is edible. The pulp is yellow when ripe and sweet. In the center of the fruit is a large pit, or stone, which is inedible. The flavor of a Jocote fruit is said to be similar to a plum, sweet with a bit of an acidic aftertaste.
Jocote fruit is also known as Purple Mombin, Jamaica Plum, Ciruela (Spanish for “plum”), Siniguelas, or Hog Plum. They're related to mangoes and to cashew apples, from which we get cashew nuts.
Jocote fruit are rich in vitamin C and carbohydrates. They are a source of calcium, phosphorus, iron and a small amount of fiber. They contain carotene, B-complex vitamins, and several important amino acids. Jocotes are high in antioxidants, which help rid the body of free radicals.
Jocote trees are native to the area that stretches from southern Mexico to northern Peru and parts of north-coastal Brazil. They are most commonly in Costa Rica, Guatemala, Honduras, El Salvador and Panama. Though, they can be found growing throughout the West Indies and in the Bahamas as well. Spanish explorers brought Jocote fruit to the Philippines, where it is popular.