Where Did Chikoo Come From? Find Out

Chikoo is one such fruit that has the least number of haters, thanks to its sweet taste and several health benefits. Have you ever wondered where did it come from? If you think that this fruit is native to India, you are wrong my friend. This fruit may sound desi but isn’t! Chikoo or sapota is actually a fruit native to Central America, Southern Mexico, and the Caribbean. But how can this be possible as this fruit is abundantly available in India? We will tell you! 

Let us tell you that Mexico was under Spanish rule during the 16th century. At that time, European imperialists used to explore the unexplored portion of lands and took along exotic spices, fruits, and vegetables. Sapota was one of the produces they took along. Sapota word is derived from an Aztec word ‘tzapotl’. ‘Tzapotl’ turned into ‘zapote’ in Spanish and ‘sapota’ in English. But where did the word ‘chikoo’ come from? This word actually derived from the Aztec word ‘chicle’ which was used for making chewing gum 'chiclet'. This natural gum was reportedly extracted from the sapota plant. Now, you know it!! 

Again, you must be thinking about how this Mexican fruit landed in India. No, it wasn’t the Europeans but a Parsi textile businessman Sir Dinshaw Maneckji Petit who brought this fruit to India. Somewhere around the 18th century, Sir Dinshaw imported chikoo saplings and planted them in his garden in Mumbai. In 1901, Sir Dinshaw’s estate manager Ardeshir Irani took some of the chikoo seedlings and planted them on his land in Dahanu, situated around 130 km from Mumbai. In no time, chikoo gained popularity and its cultivation started to flourish. At present, this fruit is cultivated on a large scale in West Bengal, Andhra Pradesh, Gujarat, Maharashtra, and Tamil Nadu. Interesting, isn’t it? 

For those who don’t know, the Gholvad Dahanu chikoo even bagged a GI tag in December 2016. Right from looking for its existence to becoming a widely consumed fruit in India, chikoo or sapota has travelled a long way. Not only this fruit is widely consumed in India but India is also one of the largest exporters of this fruit in the country. Thanks to Sir Dinshaw Maneckji Petit! 

Since we have talked a lot about chikoo and gained quite some knowledge, let us see a quick and easy recipe of chikoo halwa. Are you ready???