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A Tropical Taste of Hawaii: Eggfruit

Author:

The author lives in a quiet rural community in lower Puna on the Big Island. He's an avid gardener, traveler, and photographer.

Ripe eggfruits ready for eating.

Ripe eggfruits ready for eating.

Eggfruit (Pouteria campechiana) is a tropical fruit tree native to Mexico. It is now cultivated throughout South and Central America, the Caribbean, and Southeast Asia. In the United States, eggfruit grows in the Florida Keys and Hawaii.

When ripe, the fruit has the peculiar color and texture of boiled egg yolk, hence its namesake.

Depending on the cultivars, the fruit’s shape and size are varied: round (like an orange), heart-shaped (like a peach), or elongated oval with a pointy end (like a mango).

Each eggfruit contains two or three smooth, dark brown seeds.

Each eggfruit contains two or three smooth, dark brown seeds.

How to Eat Eggfruit

Eggfruit is delicious when it’s fully ripened. The skin turns golden yellow and soft to the touch, and it has a musky, fruity smell—like the inside of a pumpkin squash!

Just pull the ripe fruit apart with your fingers and enjoy! Or cut the fruit in half and use a spoon to scoop out the pulp.

The pulp has a rich sweet taste and can be creamy, crumbly, or chalky, depending on the cultivars. However, the flavor is debatable: some people say it tastes like sweetened boiled egg yolk, others say it’s similar to baked yams. Yet others think it’s more like cooked pumpkin.

Eggfruit usually contains two to three large brown seeds. Each seed has an outer layer of fibrous pulp. Use a knife or spoon to scrape off this edible layer and discard the hard seeds.

Apart from eating fresh, eggfruit is excellent in shakes or smoothies. The pulp can be pureed to make pudding and ice cream. It’s also wonderful in baked goods like breads, muffins, and sweet and savory pies.

A spoonful of eggfruit pulp.

A spoonful of eggfruit pulp.

Where to Find Eggfruit in Hawaii

You can find eggfruits at many farmer's markets in Hawaii. Local health food stores may also sell them, since the fruits are quite popular among vegetarians and vegans.

Fruits bought from stores or farmer's markets are often green and hard. Leave them on a sunny windowsill or kitchen counter, and they will quickly ripen in a few days.

Ripe eggfruits are fragile, easy to bruise and ferment. So keep them in the fridge if you are not ready to eat. Better yet, scoop out the pulp and freeze it in a Ziploc freezer bag for later use (you can keep up to a month in the freezer).

Unripe fruit has green, waxy skin.

Unripe fruit has green, waxy skin.

How to Grow Eggfruit

Eggfruit prefers a warm tropical/subtropical climate with plenty of rainfall, humidity, and sunlight.

It can be grown from seed, either directly in the ground or in a pot. Fill a 1-gallon pot with potting soil and compost and bury the seed about 2 inches in the soil. Water thoroughly and set the pot in a warm, sunny location. The seed will germinate in about two weeks. After four to five months, transplant the seedling to the ground to avoid the root-bound problem.

Pick the fruits when they are still hard and slightly green to avoid damage to their delicate skin.

Pick the fruits when they are still hard and slightly green to avoid damage to their delicate skin.

Eggfruit trees can tolerate a variety of soils but should be in full sun for maximum growth. Use mulch to keep the soil moist, especially when the trees are still young. Mature trees require minimum care, with some pruning to keep them in a certain desired shape and height for easy fruit picking.

In Hawaii, eggfruit's fruiting season can be anytime between October and February. Some cultivars may produce fruits several times a year.

In the Florida Keys, eggfruit grows well and may survive the occasional spells of cold temperatures.

Another cultivar with different shape.  Generally, eggfruit starts producing fruits when the tree is about five or six years old.

Another cultivar with different shape. Generally, eggfruit starts producing fruits when the tree is about five or six years old.

Nutritional Values and Health Benefits

Eggfruit is best known as a protein-rich fruit, making it extremely popular in raw-food or vegan diets. One cup of fresh eggfruit pulp contains over 5 grams of protein (same as one medium egg).

Like many other yellow-orange color fruits and vegetables, eggfruit is packed with beta-carotene (good for the eyes). It is rich in antioxidants and minerals, especially iron, calcium, phosphorous, and potassium (promotes a healthy heart and healthy bones). It contains a significant amount of vitamin A and vitamin C (natural immunity booster). It also provides an excellent source of dietary fiber (helps the digestive system).

Whether it tastes like baked sweet potato or pumpkin puree, fresh eggfruit is a delightful treat.

Whether it tastes like baked sweet potato or pumpkin puree, fresh eggfruit is a delightful treat.

Recipe for Vegan Eggfruit Shake

  • 1 cup of frozen eggfruit pulp
  • 1 small avocado (or banana)
  • 3 cups of cold water (or unsweetened hemp milk, almond milk, or oat milk)
  • 1 tablespoon of peanut butter
  • 1/2 cup of raw sunflower seeds or pumpkin seeds
  • 1/2 cup of uncooked rolled oats
  • Dash of nutmeg or cinnamon powder (optional)

Mix in a blender until smooth and enjoy! This healthy shake is perfect for breakfast or lunch—or as a post-workout snack, as it is packed with fluids, carbs, fiber, and protein.

A cold, creamy eggfruit shake is super refreshing!

A cold, creamy eggfruit shake is super refreshing!

Sources

This content is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge and is not meant to substitute for formal and individualized advice from a qualified professional.

© 2021 Viet Doan

Comments

Viet Doan (author) from Big Island, Hawaii on February 26, 2021:

Aloha Mary. I made a loaf of eggfruit bread with same ingredients as banana bread, but instead of smashed banana I used ripe eggfruit. It turned out pretty good, a little dry but quite tasty.

Mary Norton from Ontario, Canada on February 23, 2021:

This was one of my favourites as a child until I had too much of it and refused to even look at t. Now, I miss it as we can'r get it here in Canada.

Viet Doan (author) from Big Island, Hawaii on February 21, 2021:

Thanks Linda. I wish you could try this fruit and tell me what you think it tastes like. A friend told me he added raw cacao powder to my eggfruit shake recipe and voilà, chocolate eggfruit pudding!

Linda Crampton from British Columbia, Canada on February 21, 2021:

I’ve never tasted an eggfruit before. I’d love to do so. Your photos are beautiful and the recipe at the end of the article sounds delicious!

Viet Doan (author) from Big Island, Hawaii on February 21, 2021:

Thanks Liz. Glad you get introduced to this interesting fruit. Not too many fruits on this planet have high protein content like the eggfruit. Big round of applause to Mother Nature!

Liz Westwood from UK on February 21, 2021:

This is a very well-presented and informative article. I had not heard of egg fruit until I read your article. I have learnt a lot.