Custard Apple is also known as Sugar Apple and Sharifa in Hindi. In most of the other Indian languages it is known as Sitaphal. Annona Squamosa is the botanical name belonging to Annonaceae family.
Custard Apple is a tropical fruit and is native to Amazon rainforest, America, and West Indies and want to believe to India too. There are so many of these trees growing in the Ramanagara region of Sholay fame. The environment in Ramanagara does in no way resemble the Amazon rainforest. While climbing up the Ramdevara Betta you come across many Custard Apple trees laden with fruits.
The tree grows to a maximum height of 20 feet. The green leaves are oblong. Flowers are oblong yellowish-green from outside and light yellow inside. The petals are thick and have a dark spot at the base of each of the petals.
The fruit is round or conical and has knobby skin. The fruit comprises of many black seeds enclosed in white flesh with a mild aroma.
The flesh is the edible part, which is sweet and is used to make milk share, jam, syrup, and jelly. Size of the fruit can be from 5 to 10 cm long. October – November is the season for Custard Apple in South India.
Like the other fruits, the fruit is an excellent source of vitamins, iron, thiamine, magnesium, and so on.
An Apple a day keeps the doctor away and a Custard Apple a day keeps the mood swings away.