Native to the Americans, it is an oval or heart-shaped variety of cherimoya with delicate and bumpy skin. As the scientific name suggests, this variety is the result of interbreeding of the cherimoya and sugar-apple varieties. When it comes to producing high-quality atemoya fruits from seed, hand pollination is often required. The pineapple sugar apple is a popular variety in Taiwan, where it is referred to as such. Anón in Cuba, chirimorinon in Venezuela, and achta in Israel and Lebanon are all variations on the same fruit.
Annona Squamosa, or sugar apple, is a small shrub that produces sweetsops or sugar apples. Cherimoyas like this one are popular in tropical markets. Its white pulp or flesh has a sweet flavor. At the base of its greenish-yellow flower, it has three green petals that are tinged with purple. The leaves are 5-17 cm long and 2-4 cm wide, and they are thin and simple. This type of cherimoya is indigenous to the Caribbean and tropical regions of the United States. As a result, the fruit is now widely grown in tropical and subtropical regions like Thailand, Indonesia, and Southern Asia.
In the Annonaceae family, they are known as Custard Apples. There are more than 2,000 members of this family scattered across the globe. Australia’s commercial cultivars are descended from an atemeoya, an Annona hybrid.
Large, green drooping leaves cover Custard Apple trees, which are wide and spread out. The tree produces many trumpet-shaped yellow flowers that emit a pungent, sweet smell when the male pollen sacks open in the late afternoon. Only a few of these flowers will produce fruit.
In subtropical climates, the fruit takes between 20 and 25 weeks to mature, depending on the temperature of the day and night.
In terms of Custard Apples, the Pinks Mammoth, also known as Hillary White, and the African Pride are the two most common varieties. Both are juicy, sweet, and flavorful.
It’s not uncommon for growers to hand pollinate Pinks Mammoth in order to improve fruit shape. These trees are capable of producing fruit that weighs up to 3 kilograms. In the 500g to 800g range, African Prides are a well-shaped, medium-sized fruit that sets well.
The bumps on both fruits are smoothed out when they are fully ripe. To a lighter green, they also change their color. It is also possible for Pinks Mammoth to show yellowing between the fruit carpules when it is mature.
Custard apple can be found in the following types:
1. Soursop Mountain
The Amazon, Central America, and Caribbean islands are all home to these fibrous, edible fruits. When ripe, the fruit looks like a lemon, with yellow flesh and green or yellow skin. It tastes like a combination of sour and bitter. There are some similarities between Annona Montana and Annona muricata, but the latter is more durable. Its crown is also wider than the other, and the leaves are glossy. Potassium, Iron, Calcium, Folate, Vitamin B1, B2, B3, and C are all found in the fruit.
2. Cherimoyas in white
White cherimoya trees can reach a height of 30 feet, but their fruit is smaller than those of other cherimoya varieties. The white flesh of the fruit is juicy and sweet, similar to that of papaya. Fruit stands and supermarkets both sell this delectable treat.
3. P. Cherimoya
This cherimoya variety is sweet and juicy, with a distinctly tropical flavor. Cherimoyas are known to be native to Peru, Ecuador, and Northern Andress, but the pierce tree is slightly larger. There are also farms in Mexico that grow this variety.
- El Bumpo
With other cherimoya varieties, this green and bumpy cherimoya is known as “fruit that tastes heavenly.” The El Bumpo tree produces large, creamy-tasting fruits that are a delicacy in their own right. UC Master Gardeners and members of the California Rare Fruit Growers gathered at the UC South Coast Research and Extension Center to sample 15 cherimoya varieties.
4. McPherson Cherimoya
A popular variety in California, McPherson cherimoya has darker green skin and smaller seeds than other varieties. McPherson trees produce large, high-quality cherimoyas with a sweet flavor and a texture similar to a banana. During the season, the fruits are most plentiful.
When you gently squeeze a custard apple, and it gives slightly under your hand, it is ripe. This fruit is similar to avocado in many ways. Custard apples can be purchased ready to eat, or they can be allowed to ripen for a few days after purchase.
Put the fruit in a brown paper bag with a banana and leave it on the kitchen counter to speed up the ripening process. You can also put a couple of bananas beside this fruit, as the banana will help the custard apple ripen more quickly.
To eat a custard apple, it must be soft. You should not consume the skin or the seeds of this fruit. Only the flesh is to be consumed. Scoop out the white flesh after slicing in half. There should be a pleasant sweetness to the Custard Apple. For up to three days, custard apples can be kept in the refrigerator. Once the skin has turned a deep shade of purple or black, they are no longer fit for human consumption.
Both varieties are nutritious and delicious, making them ideal for daily consumption. A custard apple smoothie or mashed custard apple for toddlers might be a good way to introduce the fruit to your child. They’ll keep coming back for more of this flavorful and nutritious option.
Importance of Custard Apple
Custard-apple is a nutritional fruit that has many uses. Let’s discuss them.
Uses of Custard Apple
A fully ripe fruit is one that is soft to the touch and can be easily removed from its stem and core. The flesh can be eaten straight from the skin, or it can be topped with whipped cream and sugar for a sweeter treat. In milkshakes, custards, and ice cream, it’s a popular flavoring.
The following are some indigenous uses of custard-apple:
- The leaves have been used to produce a blue or black dye in the tanning process. It is preferable to use the bark fiber of Annona squamosa, the Sugar Apple, for fiber.
- This fruit has also been used to make ox yokes because of its yellow color, softness, fibrous nature, and durability.
- Many varieties of custard apples are grown commercially for edible fruits, which are used in traditional medicine in the region where they originate.
They are evergreen or semi-deciduous plants that are unable to withstand freezing temperatures. The custard-apple varieties are known to be hairy or leathery – the leaves of which have a generally smooth exterior. These fruits can be found in a variety of colors. In two whorls, they have unusual flowers that have around eight petals curved around the center, as well as a large number of pistils and stamens to draw attention. Many of the fruits are scaly and juicy, with some even being segmented.
An infusion of the root bark is used as a febrifuge, while the gums are packed with root bark fragments to alleviate toothache and soreness. The decoction of the bark, which is highly astringent, is used as a tonic and as a remedy for diarrhea and dysentery.
Diarrhea and dysentery are treated with the unripe dried fruit. In extreme cases, a highly potent decoction is made by simmering the leaves, bark, and green fruits for five minutes in one liter of water.
Is Custard Apple Toxic?
Even though custard apple has various uses, this fruit can be toxic. Studies have shown that the kernels of the seeds are extremely poisonous. Insecticides can be found in the seeds, leaves, and young fruits. It is so poisonous that you can use the leaf juice to kill lice. Moreover, it is also said that acrid sap from the branches can injure the eyes severely. Anonaine is found in trace amounts in the bark (0.12%). Toads were rendered paralyzed after receiving an injection of a bark extract.
There are a variety of shapes and sizes to choose from, including heart-shaped, lopsided, irregular, nearly round, or almost flat. The base of the compound fruit is either deep or shallowly depressed. When ripe, the fruit’s skin is thin but tough, with a pink, reddish, or brownish-red blush that can be yellow or brown. The juicy segments are surrounded by a thick, cream-white layer of custard-like flesh beneath the skin. Oblong and smooth and less than a half-inch long are the oblong and smooth seeds in each segment.
- The number of seeds in a fruit ranges from 55 to 76. The ripe fruit has a mellow, sweet taste. There is a lot of tannin in the unripe fruit.
- An inedible core extends through the center of the fruit from the thick stem, which is inserted into a depression at the base.
The Annona reticulata, custard-apple, or Bullock’s hearth (because of its reddish color) and the importance of the fruit’s location on the branch are emphasized by Mr. Har Mahdeem, a popular, horticultural circuit speaker and expert on Annonaceae. Instead of growing at the ends of branches, fruit should be located closer to the tree’s trunk, regardless of the variety you opt for. The fruit will reap the benefits of the sap that travels from the leaves exposed to sunlight. An additional benefit is that it reduces the risk of branch fracturing.
How Can You Harvest Different Varieties of Custard Apple?
A healthy, mature tree can produce up to 100 pounds of fruit per year. When the fruit reaches full size and loses its green color, it is harvested. As the fruit ripens, the skin becomes more pliable and can be gently pressed. When handling the fruit, you must take care of the plant and harvest it delicately. This is because the skin is frail and can be ruined without care.
Propagating Custard Apple Varieties
In the majority of cases, seeds are used to propagate plants. The tree can be grown by inarching, budding, or grafting onto its own seedlings or soursop, sugar apple, or pond apple rootstocks. Lutescens or soursop rootstocks resulted in the best results, while custard apple on self- rootstocks was the least successful. Rootstocks for soursop, sugar apple, and atemoya are often made from custard apple seedlings.
Bag the fruit as soon as possible to keep the annona seed borer from eating it. The fruit will be large, so you will need a big bag to accommodate the plant.
This article includes all the information about custard apple varieties. If you want to grow these fruits in your home garden, you can do so. However, you need to be extra careful with the growth process, and harvesting of this plant as the skin of this fruit is very delicate.