Producers seek more commerical uses for the jocote fruit

File photo Ripe jocotes are sweeter than green, but both are great.

Jocote growers soon will have a processing plant to make other uses of the fruit.

The jocote (Spondias purpurea) is a small green fruit that frequently is seen in bags at ferias and in the stalls of street vendors. There is a large seed inside, so the usual way to consume them is by nibbling the outside pulp perhaps with some salt and lime juice. The ripe fruit can be processed further into jams, syrup and other food products.

There are more than 350 jocote producers in León Cortes and Aserrí. But the producers worry about the fluctuations in prices and are seeking other uses for the fruit to safeguard their harvest. Costa Rica produces about 2 million kilos of jocote a year.

The new processing plant is in La Uruca de Aserrí. It is being promoted by the Asociación de Desarrollo Integral de la Uruca de Aserrí and the Asociación de Productores de Jocote. The 45-million-colon plant was financed by the Ministerio de Agricultura y Gandería and the Instituto Mixto de Ayuda Social. The dollar amount is $90,000. Inauguration is Friday.

With commercial production of various bottled food products, the jocote can be an exported.

Sometimes the pulp is mixed with that of the mango and other tropical fruits to produce a syrup. Local producers see the fruit being used in chileras, ceviche and even wine.

There are about 500 hectares (about 1,240 acres) in jocote trees, said the ministry.

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