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The fruit is a large globose berry, 4-8 cm in diameter, very much resembling a smooth-skinned potato and containing 2-10 seeds. The fruit has a high latex content and does not ripen until picked. Inside, its flesh ranges from a pale yellow to an earthy brown color with a grainy texture akin to that of a well-ripened pear. The flavour is exceptionally sweet and quite delicious. The seeds are black and resemble beans, with a hook at one end that can catch in the throat if swallowed.
Chickoo can be peeled or unpeeled, as desired. Dice or cube it by cutting it into uniform strips. Line up the strips with your non-working hand and cut them into square pieces. Cube them as per the recipe's need regarding the size of the cubes, (for example, "cut into ½-inch cubes").
Select a sharp chef's knife. Before you begin, you can either peel or unpeel the chickoo as per one's choice. Chop the chickoo into half and scoop out the seeds from the center. Place the chickoo on a chopping board. Hold your knife comfortably, with your forefinger running down one side of the blade and your thumb pressed against the opposite side, chop it triangular in cross section. Chickoo wedges are wonderful to garnish any cake, smoothies, milkshakes, desserts or a fruit platter.
How to select
Chickoo can be peeled or unpeeled, as desired. Take a sharp knife, slice it from the top to remove the top and then cut it into half from the centre. Cut the half portion into another half and remove the seeds from centre. Chop by cutting them in small pieces approximately ¼ inch in diameter, although the chopped food doesn't need to be exactly the same size. If the recipe calls for the ingredients to be "chopped," make the pieces slightly larger whereas if it says "finely chopped" chop them smaller.
Purchase well ripened, round or oval and most importantly firm chickoos with fresh and sweet aroma. Its skin should be thin and dark brown in colour with no bruises.Culinary Uses
· Naturally sweet and pulpy fruit is used as a weaning food for babies; its soft pulp is mashed and given to small babies.
· Being a poor man's fruit (as available round the year at cheaper rates compared to other fruits) it is the best snack.
· It can be chopped or sliced and can be added to fruit salads, desserts etc. besides this its pulp can be used to make milkshakes, jam, barfi etc. How to store
Store them in your refrigerator (do not stack them one over the other). You can store its pulp in an air tight container in the deep freezer to relish its flavour all round the year.Health Benefits
· Contains energy giving carbohydrate hence a healthy food option for kids, small babies, pregnant women etc.
· It is also rich in protein, calcium, iron and other minerals.
· Should eat chickoo for its anti-cancer properties due to the presence of antioxidants.
· Its peel contain a good amount of fibre, hence it is advisable to eat it with the peels.