jatoba fruit

What is Jatoba Fruit? & (Stinking Toe Fruit Recipes)

South America, Central America and Caribbean are home to one of the most useful trees on the planet; the courbaril. From the resin that is used to make perfume to its wood and fruit, there are plenty of uses for this huge tree.

In the article below we’ll take a closer look at one of its products; its fruit, the jatoba. Widely found in Central and South America, the jatoba has a lot of nutritional and health benefits.

What is Jatoba Fruit?

The jatoba is a fruit that comes from the largest tree in Central and South America. Where does stinking toe come from? The west Indian locust tree or Hymenaea courbaril.

How can you identify this fruit? Jatoba fruit is about 3-5 inches in length with a hard brown outer shell when ripe. Jatobas are oval shaped with a glossy-woody cover.

What is the other name for Jatoba fruit?

This tropical delicacy has different names. Common name are:

Caribbean: West Indian Locust, Jamaican stinking toe fruit, Jamaican locust fruit

Central and South America: Brazilian copal, Jatoba, jatobá, amami-gum, courbaril, guapinol, Brazilian Cherry, South American cherry

North America: Jatoba, stinking toe, old man’s toe fruit, stinky toe fruit

How do you open the stinking toe fruit

To open the jatoba fruit, you’ll need something to break open the woody skin. Locals use stones to break it open but a hammer will get the job done. Be careful not to damage the flesh of the fruit while you are opening it. Once you have opened the shell, you can eat the flesh of the fruit raw or cook it in order to enjoy its sweet taste.

What does stinking toe fruit smell like?

The stinking toe fruit, otherwise known as the jatoba, is notorious for its incredibly pungent smell. Some say it smells like rotting flesh, while others say it smells like stinking feet. Regardless of what it smells like to you, there’s no mistaking the powerful smell of the stinking toe fruit.

If you can get past the smell, the fruit is actually quite delicious. So if you’re brave enough to try it, don’t let the smell deter you!

What does jatoba taste like?

The flesh of the locust fruit looks like a thick clump of powdered sugar. The taste has been described as similar to that of vanilla milk. The strong odor of the fruit can be off-putting to some, but others find it pleasantly tropical. But other than the off putting smell, the powdery flesh is something to look forward to.

Related Read: Learn about another Brazilian fruit; Jilo fruit

How can you use Jatoba?

When visiting Brazil or Jamaica, you’ll notice the kids consume them raw. And you can also have them raw but if you can’t get past the smell and the dryness, here are some favorite jatoba recipes.

Stinking Toe Fruit Recipes

Before you start start preparations, here are a few things to keep in mind:

Always use mature jatoba fruit. Check that the hard fruit pods are dry.

No matter how you want to use the fruit, always make sure to remove the shell first. So hammer in hand, break a few or depending the recipe and you good to go

Carefully check the edible pulp inside before use. It should be light brown or yellow in color.

The raw fruit is sweet. But you can add other sweeteners as needed

Jatoba Broinha (Baked Goods)

Best way to describe a broinha is; if a biscuit and a cake had a kid. It’s firm on the outside but soft on the inside which makes it enjoyable for people of all ages.


2 cups all purpose flour

1 cup stinking toe powder

2 cups sugar

2 eggs

1 teaspoon bicarbonate soda

½ cup cold milk

1½ cup maize flour

½ cup shortening

½ teaspoon salt

If you do not have jatoba powder, you can always take a few mature fruits, break them, take out the edible dry pulp surrounding the hard shell and blend it.

Prepare Dough

You’ll start with dry ingredients. In a bowl, sift and combine all the dry ingredients. Add the egg and melted butter. Finally add the cold milk. I think I need to mention that we use cold milk because it helps add moisture and flavor to the jatoba biscuit.

Kneading and Rolling

Gently mix the ingredients and add milk if necessary. When the dough does not stick to the side of your bowl, it’s time to move it to your work table. Continue kneading it for about 3-4 minutes. Next, roll the jatoba dough; ½ an inch thick will do.


Cut the desired shape or roll small balls and slightly flatten with your palms. Lay on a baking sheet. Brush with egg. Place them in a preheated oven (450 degrees F) for 20 minutes.

What to serve with

These baked goods can be served with meats such as sausage and bacon or homemade jam or sausage gravy.

Broinha storage

Yes you can freeze jatoba broinhas. Like other biscuits, place them in a freezer bag. Ensure all to suck out air, seal and freeze.

Jamaican stinking toe punch


1 Pound Jatoba fruit (remove shell before use)

1 ripe banana

1 Mature turmeric root

¼ pound Pumpkin

½ cup Oats

3-4 medium size potatoes

½ cup Peanut

Condensed Milk


Start by prepping the jatoba fruit. Break the shells and blend to get the powder or you can grate them in a large bowl.

Next, prepare vegetables. Jatobas can be paired with any vegetable. For the punch, we recommend you use potatoes and pumpkin. Remove the skin and boil until soft. Let it cool.

Put the jatoba flour, boiled vegetables, peanuts, and half the milk and blend. Add the oats, and banana and continue blending to a thick paste. Want a kick? Add some rum.

Where to buy stinking toe fruit

If you’re looking to try this unique fruit, here are a few places you can buy it:

1. There are online stores that offer a wide variety of fruits from all over the world, including stinking toe fruit in both dried and fresh form.

2. Your local grocery store: While not all stores carry jatoba fruit, it’s definitely worth checking out your local grocery store to see if they have it in stock.

When are stinking toe fruits in season? During summer months, jatoba fruits can be found in plenty.

Nutritional Value

How beneficial is this kidney-shaped fruit? Every 100 g of raw or stinking toe powder contains Calories 309, 5.9 g Protein, 2.2 g Fat, 75.3 g Carbohydrates, 13.4 g Fiber, 28 mg Calcium, 3.2 mg Iron.

How to Store

Because of the hardened outer shell, the fruit can be shelved for a few weeks or you can refrigerate for a month.

Final Thoughts:

Jatoba or the west indian locust fruit or the stinking toe fruit has a lot of benefits. Yes, its smell is off-putting but hold your nose and enjoy this tropical delicacy. And, if you have some patience, the recipes above will help you prepare some nice jatoba biscuits or locust fruit punch. Enjoy!


jatoba study

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