In the world of Annona, the sugar apple, also known as custard apple and Annona reticulata, is the most frequently grown species of sugar apple.
It can be found growing in abundance across the tropical and subtropical regions, including North America. It can grow up to 8 meters tall and is a small tree in height, or you can even call it a shrub.
What Does Sugar Apple Taste Like?
Sugar apple is typically spherical in shape, similar to a pine cone, and has a diameter ranging from 2.4 to 3.9 inches in diameter. Both in terms of size and shape, there are differences between them.
White to light yellow in color, the pulp has a highly sweet taste and has a texture that mimics custard. The pulp of this fruit lavishly coats the seeds, much like the seeds of the tomato are covered.
This fragrant fruit has a subtle, sweet scent that is quite pleasant to smell. It has a slightly grainy texture, is a little greasy, is sweet, and is extremely soft to the touch.
What Does Sugar Apple Look Like?
This fruit, also called the heart of the bull, is produced by the Annon reticulata tree, which belongs to the Annon family.
It is a small tree that can grow up to 10 meters tall and is commonly grown in tropical regions. This is because it likes a warm climate, but it can grow up to 20 meters tall.
They might be oblong or uneven, and their shape is always changeable. Between 7 and 12 centimeters in height, the sizes are available.
It will turn brown in color over time, or even yellow, depending on the variety of sugar apples growing in your county. When it is fully ripened, it tastes sweet, almost like honey.
Sugar Apple Varieties
Sugar Apples come in a variety of colors and shapes. They are distinguished from cultivars by the fact that they are botanical species. The following are the ones that are most frequently consumed:
1. Thai Lessard
The people in the subtropical and mostly tropical regions of the world are fond of this variety. They are fruits with pulp similar to custard, and they come in different sizes, the largest having a diameter of 5 inches. Besides that, Thai Lessard has bumpy brown and green skin that turns whitish when nearing maturation.
Some cultivars now have a redder peel, which is a lot more appealing to consumers. When fully mature, the fruits have small black seeds and custard white pulp, and the pulp is sweet so that it can be eaten fresh. You can also use it in ice-creams or smoothies, depending on what you like.
As container plants, sugar apples are excellent for growing in small spaces. You can grow them in a tub, and they will still produce an abundance of sugar apples.
During a warm winter, older trees may be able to continue producing fruits in January. During the coldest months of the year, sugar apple trees go into complete dormancy.
2. Kampong Mauve
They are round, heart-shaped, or look like pine cones in shape, and the diameter can range from 2 to 3 inches. Other than that, they can be yellow, purple-green, or pink. The fruit is edible and has a pleasant taste.
The surface is covered with a white substance, giving it a distinct appearance. In appearance, the pulp is white and custard-like in texture, sweet in flavor, and slightly acidic in taste.
Sugar Apples Have a Lot of Health Benefits
1. They Contain a Significant Amount of Antioxidants
Nutrients in Sugar Apple fight oxidants in the body, making it a powerful antioxidant. Certain compounds found in Sugar Apple, such as flavonoids, kaurenoic acid, carotenoids, and vitamin C, have been shown to have significant antioxidant properties. These help to lower your risk of developing heart disease and certain types of cancer.
Keep in mind that you should not consume the peel of the Sugar Apple due to it being risky for your health.
2. They Have the Potential to Improve Your Mood
Sugar Apple has plenty of vitamin B6. Dietary B6 is needed to produce neurotransmitters such as dopamine and serotonin, which are responsible for regulating your emotions. Make sure you take adequate levels of this vitamin in your diet as lack of this may play a role in developing mental illnesses.
3. They Are Beneficial to One’s Eye Health
It is high in the antioxidant lutein, which is the most important antioxidant needed for healthy eyes. It also helps keep your vision healthy by fighting off free radicals.
4. They May Possibly Prevent High Blood Pressure
Sugar Apple is full of nutrients that aid in controlling high blood pressure. These fruits contain nutrients such as magnesium and potassium, which are both found in high concentrations.
In addition, potassium and magnesium both aid in the dilation of vessels in the heart, which directly aids in reducing blood pressure. Constant high blood pressure may result in those people developing heart disease or having a heart attack.
5. They Have the Potential to Aid in Digestion
Because fiber is difficult to digest, it contributes to the bulk of stool and aids in the movement of stool through the intestine.
Furthermore, soluble fibers, such as those in Sugar Apple, can help to feed the beneficial bacteria found in your stomach.
Sugar Apple and other fiber-rich foods can help you achieve optimal digestive health by helping regular bowel movements and providing nutrients to your gut bacteria.
6. They Have Anti-Cancer Properties
Some nutrients and compounds found in Sugar Apple may be beneficial in the fight against cancer.
Sugar Apple contains flavonoids such as epigallocatechin, catechin, epicatechin, which have been proven in laboratory studies to inhibit the growth of cancer cells.
7. They Reduce Inflammation
It has been shown that chronic inflammation increases the likelihood of developing various diseases, such as cancer and heart disease.
The Sugar Apple fruit, in particular, contains several anti-inflammatory composites, such as kaurenoic acid.
8. They Boost Immunity
As is the case with other tropical fruits, Sugar Apple is high in vitamin C. This nutrient helps boost immunity by helping the body fight infections and illnesses.
It is simple to maintain adequate immune function by consuming Sugar Apple and similar fruits high in vitamin C.
Side effects of Sugar Apple
Although Sugar Apple has numerous benefits to the health, it also contains trace amounts of harmful compounds.
The toxin annonacin found in Sugar Apple and similar fruits of the Annona types may hurt the nervous system and your brain functions.
Many studies conducted in different areas have found a link between a high intake of Annona fruits and a high risk of developing a unique type of Parkinson’s disease that fails to respond to standard treatments.
Although annonacin can be found in the Sugar Apple plant, it is highly concentrated in the skin and the seeds of the fruit.
Remove and throw away the skin and seeds of the Sugar Apple before eating it to enjoy it while limiting your exposure to annonacin.
However, if you have Parkinson’s disease or a similar condition affecting the nervous system, it may be a good choice to avoid eating Sugar Apple.
Sugar Apple During Pregnancy
Sugar Apple is high in copper, which is necessary for the body to produce hemoglobin. This is especially beneficial for pregnant women, who require approximately 1000 micrograms of copper per day. As a result, eating sugar apples while pregnant is beneficial to both the mother and the child.
It is beneficial to drink an infusion of sugar apple leaves to relieve pain during pregnancy, but consult your doctor first. However, because the root and seeds contain a small number of abortifacient properties, it is recommended that you consume them in moderation.
How to Eat Sugar Apple?
Once soft, it is best to store sugar apple at room temperature, and it can stay at this temperature for around 3 days before putting in the fridge to finish off.
To prepare Sugar Apple, first, remove and throw away the seeds and the skin from the fruit, slice the fruit with a cutting knife, and cut the pieces into bite-sized chunks.
Sugar Apple goes great in fruit salads or can be eaten as a topping on oatmeal or yogurt, blended into delicious smoothies, or used as a sauce to add to salad. It is also delicious in smoothies and salad dressings. If you want to eat a chilled Sugar Apple similar to a custard, cut the fruit in equal halves and use a spoon to scoop out the pulp from the middle.
Sugar Apple is a sweet fruit with a soft texture that is popular in the United States.
It’s packed with valuable nutrients that may help to improve your digestion, mood, immunity, among other things.
On the other hand, Sugar Apple contains trace amounts of harmful compounds, which are concentrated primarily in the seeds and skin. To safely consume Sugar Apple, peel off the skin first and discard the seeds from the fruit.