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How to Eat Custard Apples


how-to-eat-custard-apple

How to Eat Custard Apples



Custard apples are a strange fruit. Figuring out how to eat them can be hard if you've never had them before. Always wash produce well before consuming and remove any damage. If the fruit doesn't look right, is the wrong colour or the smell is off, discard the fruit.


You will need to wait until your custard apple is ripe before eating it. Otherwise, it will be crisp like an actual apple and without flavour. Be patient, I promise you it's worth it. To eat custard apples or prepare them for a recipe, start by cutting them open. The seeds of a custard apple are large and black, you do not want to eat these. Discard the seeds.


Scoop out the flesh, or put the flesh in your mouth and suck off the flesh and then discard the seeds. The flesh of a custard apple is soft, creamy, and custard-like in texture, hence its name. Custard apple flesh is usually white or pale yellow and juicy. It can be a messy job to eat a custard apple, but they are tasty.


Here is a video on how to eat a sugar apple like an expert. Thank you to Our Tropical Soil for the video.



What Does Custard Apple Taste Like?


The custard apple is a fruit with a rich, tropical taste. It combines hints of banana, pineapple, mango, and papaya.


The blend of flavours people of vanilla custard, hence its name. When you bite into a custard apple, you experience a smooth and creamy texture. Each bite is juicy and soft, like the sensation of biting into a ripe pear.


Are Custard Apple Seeds Edible?


Custard apple seeds have toxic compounds, including alkaloids, and should not be consumed. Alkaloids can be harmful if ingested in large quantities. Although you wouldn't want to eat the seeds in large amounts, you should play it safe and consider them inedible.


Is the Skin of Custard Apples Edible?


The skin is not typically consumed. You know why if you have ever tasted even a tiny amount of the skin. The skin is very bitter and is a jarring contrast to the creamy sweet internal flesh.


how to eat custard apple - unripe example

How to Ripen a Custard Apple

I stored my custard apples in my crisper, and they remained firm. If a custard apple is firm, it is not ripe. I cut open my first custard apple before it was ripe and found it crisp and flavourless.

I was not planning to waste my second and final custard apple and put it in a bowl with a banana and persimmon on the counter.


I then forgot about it for a couple of days, remembered this post, and returned to it. At this point, the flesh was so soft that it almost split apart as I picked it up.



how to eat custard apple - ripe example

What is a Custard Apple?

A custard apple, often called a sugar apple, is a tropical fruit that belongs to the Annona family of plants. Annona are fruit-bearing trees and shrubs belonging to the family Annonaceae.


The edible fruits of the Annona family have a unique appearance. Custard apples are heart-like in shape. The skin of custard apples is bumpy, almost like scales. Their fleshy interiors have segments and contain black seeds.

Custard apple is the general or broader term used to describe Annona fruit. There are subtle differences and regional variations between Annona fruit.

Some of the better-known members of the Annona family are:


  • Cherimoya (Annona cherimola)

  • Custard apple/sugar apple/sweetsop (Annona squamosa)

  • Bullock's heart (Annona reticulata)

  • Soursop (Annona muricata).


Where Are Custard Apples From?


The exact origin of the custard apple has yet to be uncovered. This is because of its cultivation and naturalisation in regions over time. Generally, Annona is accepted as being native to the Americas. Today it's cultivated in various tropical and subtropical regions worldwide.

Custard apples prefer warm climates with high humidity levels. Because of this cultivation is most prevalent in tropical and subtropical climates.


Examples of countries that cultivate custard apples are:

India, Thailand, Australia, the Philippines, Brazil, Mexico, and parts of Africa.


Why Is It Called Custard Apple?


Occam's Razor, the most straightforward answer, is most likely correct. Custard apples get their name because of their similarities to the texture and consistency of custard.


how to eat custard apple plantzmatter.com

Types of Custard Apples

There are several varieties of custard apples. Here are some popular types:


African Pride: Large in size, creamy texture, and sweet flavour. It has a greenish-yellow skin and is grown in various countries, including Australia, South Africa, and Israel.


Geffner: Small to medium-sized fruits with smooth green skin. They have a rich, custard-like texture and sweet flavour. This variety is often preferred for its compact tree size, making it suitable for smaller gardens.


Hillary White: Hillary White custard apples are characterised by their smooth, creamy white flesh. They have a sweet and tangy flavour and are grown in various countries, including India and Australia.


KJ Pinks: KJ Pinks custard apples have pinkish-red flesh and a sweet taste. They are popular in Australia for their excellent yield and disease resistance.


Late Gold: Late Gold custard apples are known for their late-season harvest. They have golden-yellow skin and creamy, sweet flesh.


Lisa: custard apples have greenish-yellow skin and creamy white flesh. They are grown in various regions, including Australia and Israel.


Pinks Mammoth: Pinks Mammoth is a popular variety in Australia. It is known for its large fruit size, sweet taste, and pinkish-red flesh.


When Is Custard Apple Season?

Custard apples are usually in season in late summer and autumn (fall) months.

In the Northern Hemisphere, it can extend from August to November. In the Southern Hemisphere, the fruiting season is February and May. The fruiting season depends on geography, growing conditions, and fruit variety.


Where to Buy Custard Apples


Where can I buy a custard apple? Availability will largely depend on your location and if the demand for lesser-known fruits is present in your community. For example, I have never seen where to buy a red custard apple. It is not a common variation in my location (yet).

You can find fresh custard apples in local markets or grocery stores when the fruit is in season. I found the ones I purchased from a grocery store that tends to stock harder-to-find items but also at one of the bigger chain supermarkets.


What to Look for When Buying Custard Apples


Choose firm but not soft custard apples. They can be ripened on the countertop if they are a little underripe. Avoid discoloured, damaged or fruit that smells unpleasant.

Why Custard Apples Turn Black

When I bought the custard apples for this blog, they were green. Then I noticed that they started to turn black. I was mildly concerned and wanted to find out why if it was natural or my fault. Luckily it was harmless, and I could still eat my apples.


The skin of custard apples can turn black for several reasons; natural ripening, oxidation, or fungal infections.

Ripening: As custard apples ripen, their skin colour may change from green to dark brown or blackish. This natural colour change is a sign of maturity and indicates that the fruit is ready to be consumed.


Oxidation: When the flesh of a custard apple meets air, it undergoes oxidation, which can lead to discolouration. The exposed areas of the fruit may turn black or brownish. This process is like how apples or bananas can turn brown when exposed to air.

Fungal infection: Custard apples are susceptible to fungal infections. They are particularly susceptible if damaged or improperly stored. Fungal growth can cause dark spots or black patches on the fruit's skin or flesh. These areas may become soft, mushy, or develop an unpleasant odour.


How to Store Custard Apples

To prevent custard apples from turning black, be gentle with them, store them in a cool and dry place, and eat them before they become overripe. Once they are overripe, their skin will break easily.

Custard apples can be stored in the refrigerator to extend their freshness. I stored mine in the fridge for several days until I put them in a bowl on the bench to ripen enough to eat. The custard apple flavour was still full, but be aware extended fridge time can affect the quality and flavour of the fruit.

Tip: Avoid storing custard apples near strong-smelling foods as they may absorb odours, which means no exposure to onions or garlic.


What is Custard Apple Good For?

Custard apples offer several potential health benefits:

Nutrition: Custard apples contain vitamin C, B6, potassium, magnesium, and dietary fibre.


Antioxidants: Custard apples contain vitamin C. Vitimin C helps protect us from oxidative stress. It can also improve skin, and support the immune system. This means custard apples are good for colds, and you have a great excuse to eat them when unwell.


Digestion: The fibre in custard apples helps promote healthy digestion and prevent constipation.


Heart Health: Custard apples are low in saturated fat and cholesterol. The potassium content in these fruits may help maintain healthy blood pressure levels, reducing the risk of heart disease.


What is the Nutritional Profile of Custard Apples?


Here's a breakdown of their nutritional profile per 100 grams of fruit:


Calories: About 94 kcal

Protein: 2.1 grams

Carbohydrates: 23.64 grams

Dietary Fiber: 4.4 grams

Sugars: 12.87 grams

Fat: 0.29 grams


Vitamin C: 20.6 mg (about 34% of the daily recommended intake)

Vitamin B6: 0.2 mg

Vitamin A: Equivalent to 2 IU

Riboflavin (Vitamin B2): 0.113 mg

Niacin (Vitamin B3): 0.883 mg

Calcium: 17 mg

Iron: 0.6 mg

Magnesium: 32 mg

Phosphorus: 26 mg

Potassium: 382 mg


Enjoying the Unique Flavour of Custard Apples


Custard apples, with their creamy flesh and sweet flavour. Unlike regular apples, custard apples have a tough skin and bumpy texture, concealing their soft flesh inside. They are an excellent source of vitamins and antioxidants. They are good for healthy vision and digestive health. This exotic fruit offers not only a unique taste but also health benefits. The sweet custard apples can eaten raw or included in many delicious recipes like custard apple puree or custard apple muffins.



Can Custard Apples Be Eaten During Pregnancy?


Custard apples can be safely consumed during pregnancy as part of a well-balanced diet. They offer various nutritional benefits that can support the health of both the mother and the baby.


Can People with Diabetes Eat Custard Apples?

This fruit has a lot of natural sugar but people with diabetes eat it in moderation. However, it's essential to do so to consider their impact on blood sugar levels. Custard apples have a high amount of natural sugars (23 grams of sugar per 100 grams). But they also provide fibre, which can help slow down the absorption of sugars into the bloodstream.


Suppose you have diabetes or are managing blood sugar levels. In that case, it's advisable to consult with a healthcare professional or a registered dietitian who can provide personalised advice based on your specific condition and overall dietary needs. They can help you determine the appropriate portion sizes and frequency of consuming custard apples to fit within your meal plan.



tape measure in article how to eat custard apple

Are Custard Apples Good for Weight Loss?

In moderation, custard apples can be good for weight loss. Custard apples have a low-calorie density, approximately 95 calories per 100 grams. They are also water-dense, full of nutrients and contain about 2.5 grams of fibre.

To give you some context, an average of 100 grams of apple has approximately 52 calories and 2.4 -2.8 grams of fibre.

When we compare sugar, custard apples have 23 grams of natural sugar, and apples only have 10 – 14 grams of sugar per 100 grams. So, while the apple appears to be the lower calorie density choice, the custard apple may be what you want to satisfy your sweet tooth.


Is Custard Apple Good for Dogs?

I wouldn't go as far as to say they are suitable for dogs, but if your dog had a small amount of flesh, I could not find information to say that it would be harmful. It could cause an upset stomach if your dog has sensitivities. Also, it is a fair amount of sugar, and your dog may have unknown allergies.


Why Is the Custard Apple Called Sitafal?


 Sitafal is the word used for custard apple in some parts of India. Sitafal is a Hindi word that translates to Sita's fruit in English. The name is from the Hindu epic Ramayana; Sita is the name of the goddess and wife of Lord Rama.


In Ramayana, Sita, Rama and Lakshmana (younger brother of Rama) are exiled to the forests. Sita becomes intrigued by the fruit and expresses her liking for it, which has since become associated with her name.



overnight oats recipe for custard apple

Custard Apple Overnight Oats

Ingredients

1/2 cup rolled oats

1/2 cup unsweetened plant-based mylk

1 ripe custard apple, peeled and deseeded

1 tablespoon chia seeds

1 tablespoon maple syrup or another natural sweetener

1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract

Optional toppings: chopped nuts, shredded coconut, or fruit


Instructions


  1. Combine the rolled oats, plant-based milk, chia seeds, maple syrup, and vanilla extract in a mason jar or a container with a lid. Stir well to ensure everything is evenly mixed.

  2. Mash half of the custard apple and add it to the oat mixture. Stir to incorporate the custard apple into the oats.

  3. Close the lid tightly and refrigerate the mixture overnight or for at least 4-6 hours, allowing the oats to absorb the liquid and soften.

  4. The following day, give the oats a good stir. Add a splash of extra plant-based milk to achieve your preferred consistency if desired.

  5. Serve the custard apple overnight oats in a bowl or enjoy them directly from the jar.

Summary

Custard apples are a popular tropical fruit that is sweet and flavourful. Custard apples are used in traditional recipes and now contemporary recipes around the world. They are often consumed fresh or used in juices, smoothies, desserts, and ice creams. If you enjoyed this post, please share. Thank you for reading.



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