Tejocote Tejocote, Crataegus Mexicana , is a Mexican hawthorn and the name of a red fruit produced by the shrub. It has several local names: 'Corazón de Castilla' in Spanish, or 'heart of Castile', after one of its traditional places of origin; and its original Nahuatl name 'texocotl'.
The fruit resembles a small apple or quince and can be either red or yellow. It has a sweet-sour taste. Tejocote is used as an ingredient in some dishes such as mole de tejocote , a dark red sauce with the consistency of thick gravy usually served over turkey or other poultry at Christmas time. The fruit's English name is Mexican hawthorn.
This fruit has also been used to make jam, jelly, and marmalade. Tejocote is known as an anti-inflammatory plant (phytomedicine), it is mainly used for liver problems. Crushed seeds are put on wounds or skin infections to promote healing. As well, the crushed seeds can be mixed with a little oil as an analgesic for toothaches. In addition, it has been used as a sedative and diuretic for fever and kidney stones. Crataegus Mexicana is very rich in vitamin C which may explain its use as a natural preservative in jam making. Tejocote fruit is an excellent source of vitamin C, minerals, and dietary fiber. It has antibacterial, antioxidant properties in vitro.
Like the apple, it is a pome fruit, usually spherical or conical with a size similar to that of quince (about 5–10 cm in diameter). The flesh is white, granular, and crispy. The skin is smooth, bright red or yellow depending on the variety. Some varieties are completely red with an astringent taste, others are yellowish and sweeter.
Tejocote fruit has a crunchy texture which makes it a popular ingredient in fresh fruit salads. It can be eaten alone or mixed with other ingredients. It is also used as an ingredient in some dishes such as mole de tejocote, a dark red sauce with the consistency of thick gravy usually served over turkey or other poultry at Christmas time.
Tejocote fruit has been traditionally eaten during the Day of the Dead festivities and Day of the Innocents to ward off bad spirits. This fruit is popular among children. The tree has ornamental value and can be planted as a small ornamental tree. It is native to Mexico but it grows well in Spain, France, Italy, Portugal, Greece, and California. In Greece, Crataegus Mexicana grows wild in some areas.