IT IS so frustrating how everything goes up around Valentines Day, with roses tripling or quadrupling in price.
How then, do you find a way of showing your appreciation of a loved one without being caught up in the commercialism of the day or paying an arm and a leg? If you want to avoid the typical presents that everyone gives, like flowers or chocolates, then why not consider buying something completely different, something that is enduring, like a plant? The plant I’m thinking of is the Chocolate Sapote tree, also known as the Chocolate Pudding Tree. Now you know why it’s perfect for Valentines Day!
Diospyros digyna is actually a type of persimmon that is native to eastern Mexico and Central America, extending as far south as Colombia. It is a lush evergreen tree that looks beautiful even without the added bounty of its fruit. The leaves are 10 to 30cm long, tapered at both ends and a dark glossy green. Mature trees can grow very tall but if the tip is cut out of the tree when it is about 2m high, it will promote bushier, wider growth and make it easier to pick the fruit. As they are frost sensitive and like a well drained soil, they do very well on the Fraser Coast.
The fruit resembles a tomato and grows from 5cm to 13cm, with a thin but firm rind. It is low in fat and high in Vitamin C, containing about 4 times as much as an orange. The green fruit is picked when hard and allowed to soften and go brown within 3-6 days. When it is ripe, pressing the skin with your fingers should leave an indentation.
The flesh inside a ripe fruit is a rich, dark brown colour and custard-like, with a sweet, nut-like flavour that resembles chocolate. Fruit can be cut in half and eaten fresh, or used as a chocolate substitute in recipes or milkshakes. Fruit pulp can be blended with yoghurt, milk, cream or ice-cream for a delicious dessert. Sounds scrumptious, doesn’t it?
So this year, why not consider a Chocolate Sapote? Dare to be different and skip the roses. You would still be giving your loved one chocolate, but without the calories or caffeine. That is sure to be well received.