Tejocote

Other names: Mexican Hawthorn

General Information: Mexican Hawthorn or Tejocote is a species of hawthorn native to Mexico. It is a large shrub or small tree with a dense crown. The fruit is a globose to oblong orange-red pome 2 cm long and 1.5 cm diameter, ripening in late winter only shortly before the flowers of the following year.

The fruit is eaten in Mexico cooked, raw, or canned. It resembles a crabapple, but it has three or sometimes more brown hard seeds in the center. It is also a main ingredient used in Ponche, the traditional Mexican hot fruit punch that is served at Christmas time and on New Year's Eve, as well as being used on Day of the Dead, where the fruit as well as candy prepared from it are used as offerings to the dead, and rosaries made of tejocote fruit are part of altar decorations. The mixture of tejocote paste, sugar, and chili powder produces a popular Mexican candy called rielitos, because it resembles a tiny train rail. Rielitos are manufactured by several brands.

Due to its high pectin content, the fruit is also industrially processed to extract pectin, which has uses in the food, cosmetic, pharmaceutical, textile and metal industries.

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