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The Sugar Apple has a thick scaly rind with a creamy, sweet pulp which comes apart in segments each containing a shiny black seed. The more common Sugar Apple is green, though there is a dark red variety that is becoming more commonplace. This knobby fruit has a delicate, creamy white flesh that has a minty or custardy flavor.
The Sugar Apple is available mid-summer into fall.
The Sugar Apple (Annona squamosa), sometimes called a sweetsop or custard apple, is related to the cherimoya. Native to the tropics, the tree that bears this fruit is often a favorite of landscapers in Central America and the southern coast of Florida.
Parts of the Sugar Apple, their leaves and leaf extracts, can be used for medicinal purposes to benefit digestive problems and rheumatic pain.
The Sugar Apple is typically eaten fresh out-of-hand, served raw and chilled, as a dessert, or used to make ice cream or shakes. The fruit is almost never cooked, unless preparing for jellies or preserves. Sliced, this fruit makes a nice addition to a fruit salad. In Malaya, located south of Vietnam, the flesh is typically strained to make a puree to add to ice cream or milk for a shake. Some wine makers ferment the puree and juices into wine. The Sugar Apple is delicate and may come apart when ripe, requiring careful handling.
The seeds of the Sugar Apple are toxic and are often dried and powdered for fish poisons and insecticides in India. A paste made from the seed powder has been used as a lice killer when applied to the head. In India, the ripe fruit is crushed and mixed with salt and the concoction is applied on tumors.
The Sugar Apple is said to be native of Central America or the West Indies. Ancient Indian sculptures depict what appear to be sugar apples, making some believe the tree was indigenous there. Common in the Tropic regions around the world, you’ll also find Sugar Apples in the warmer southeast and southwest coasts of Florida. Jamaican farmers have started growing more orchards of “Jamaican sweetsop” and many locals believe that the Sugar Apple was first found in Jamaica.