Chocoholics Have no Fear, Chocolate Pudding Fruit is Here

By Anupum Pant

I’ve heard of all sorts of fruits. But this is something I came across just yesterday and I think it is worth mentioning. I bet you haven’t heard of it too. This fruit is called the Black Sapote (the scientific name is Diospyros digyna, in case you need it) also known as the Chocolate pudding fruit or Black persimmon.

Description: The chocolate pudding fruit or Black sapote (not related to the more common mamey sapote) is an apple sized, olive-green colored fruit found in eastern Mexico and Central America. When ripe, it turns from bright green to a lighter shade of green. At this stage it is plucked and allowed to soften for 3-6 days. After it is allowed to soften, the skin turns brownish and the fruit becomes very soft. Now, when it is cut, a smooth and silky textured brown colored chocolate like pulp is obtained from the inside.

Although Black Sapote is slightly larger, It looks a lot similar to the apple like fruit that grows in the world’s most dangerous tree.

Taste and Recipes: Not that I’ve eaten it. Still it is interesting to know that the fruit might or might not have seeds, is delicious and tastes very close to chocolate pudding. The texture is free from any gains and feels smooth in the mouth like papaya. It is often used as a substitute for chocolate in milkshakes, ice-creams, smoothies and juices to impart a creamy rich chocolate color and flavour. It is also mixed with orange juice and served with cream. Other times it is mixed with wine, brandy, cinnamon and sugar.

Health and Fitness: For chocolate addicts, this fruit is actually very healthy. Mostly because it does not fatten you – it is low in fat. At the same time the fruit is pretty rich in Vitamin C. One fruit is said to normally contain four times as much as Vitamin C as an Orange! I don’t have to tell you that Oranges are known for their Vitamin C content.

I wonder why it doesn’t grow in India. The climate pretty much suits it! Or do you have it in India too?

Article In a sentence: There exists a fruit that goes by the name of Black Sapote or “chocolate pudding fruit”. It  tastes, looks and feels a lot like chocolate pudding, is actually low in fat and has about four times as much Vitamin C as an Orange. [Video]

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Meet a 12-year-old Scientist – Peyton Robertson

By Anupum Pant

Today we meet a 12-year-old ‘man’ who has been on an invention spree since he was just 8 years old. If I may use a pop-culture reference, this adorable boy is a Sheldon Copper in the making.

Peyton Robertson from Fort Lauderdale, Florida, presently has 3 patents pending:

  1. A case (box) to maintain a resting golf ball’s temperature – Peyton loves golf. And on one cold day, when he observed that his golf balls weren’t bouncing the way they should have been, he, instead of sleeping on the problem, thought of finding a solution.
  2. Retractable training wheels: This one is a pair of retractable training wheels connected to a lever mechanism on the handle of a bicycle – you press the lever and the training wheels rise up. A perfect solution for kids who want to experience the joy of biking while they are learning to ride. He invented this to help his sister when she was learning to ride a bicycle. Today, bike manufacturers are flocking around him to buy his idea.
  3. A sand-less sand bag: When the super-storm Sandy struck 24 US states in October last year, the entire eastern sea-face from Florida to Maine suffered great losses. It caused a damage of around $65 billion. Peyton saw this and figured that the sand bags that were being used for flood defense contributed to a lot of inefficiency. These bags were 40 pounds each; moving them from one place to another was tough. But they had to be heavy to stop the water. Besides that, the bags when stacked left undesirable gaps in between, which caused a leakage. Peyton felt a need to contribute to make people better equipped for floods in the future.

His solution – A sand-less sand bag – is better than the traditional bag in two ways. Firstly, weighing around 4 pounds, it is significantly lighter than the sand bag. It contains a mixture of, a polymer that expands when it comes in contact with water, and salt which makes it heavy when it wets. Secondly, this bag comes with an interlocking fastener which keeps the bag in place when it expands – Removing any gaps which could create a leak during the floods. Moreover these bags can be dried later to be reused.

The witty sandbag made him the youngest ever person to win the Discovery Young Scientist Challenge. The prize – $25,000 and a trip to Costa Rica!

In an interview with TED blog he said:

Failure is progress and a normal part of the process. Whether it’s science or life, you have to start, fail and just keep pushing. In a football game, time runs out, and a golf match ends after the last hole. But when you are working on something and it doesn’t work, you just extend the game – and give your experiment or your prototype another go.

It was a delight to watch the charming boy speak on The Ellen DeGeneres Show. Sadly, that video no longer exists, here’s a replacement with the guy’s own pitch: