Other names: Spanish Lime
Availability: Year Round
General Information: A small oval green-colored fruit grown on trees related to the Evergreen family. This fruit typically grows in clusters of twelve or more from a single stem. Similar in shape and size to an large green olive, the outer flesh of the Mamoncillo is hard and brittle. Because of the leathery skin, the fruit remains fresh for a long time and ships and markets well. It is easily peeled away to expose a pinkish to cream colored flesh, which provides a very sweet tasting meat. Also known as a Spanish Lime, this fruit is often served in beverages like a lime, or served as a fresh flavored snack to eat out of hand. For eating out-of-hand, the rind is merely torn open at the stem end and the pulp-coated seed is squeezed into the mouth, the juice being sucked from the pulp until there is nothing left of it but the fiber. With fruits that have non-adherent pulp, the latter may be scraped from the seed and utilized to make pie-filling, jam, marmalade or jelly, but this entails much work for the small amount of edible material realized. More commonly, the peeled fruits are boiled and the resulting juice is prized for cold drinks. In Colombia, the juice is canned commercially.
The mamoncillo is native to Colombia, Venezuela, and the island of Margarita, also French Guiana, Guyana and Surinam. It is commonly cultivated and spontaneous in those countries, also in coastal Ecuador, the lowlands of Central America, the West Indies and in the Bahamas. In Florida, it is occasionally grown as far north as Ft. Myers on the West Coast and Palm Beach on the east; is much more plentiful in Key West, especially as a street tree. There are some specimens in California and in botanical gardens in the Philippines, Zanzibar, Hawaii and elsewhere.