Sugar Apple: The Custardy Sweet Fruit

Addictingly sweet, buttery, and fragrant, sugar apple is a tropical fruit that’s unusually attractive and flavor-packed. Although sugar apples are eaten out of hand, and rarely cooked, we’ll try to uncover many ways you can expand their culinary applications with simple and delectable recipe ideas. 

What is Sugar Apple?

Sugar apple (Annona squamosa), also known as sweet-sop, cachimán, or Sitaphal, is one of the many species from the genus Annona. It’s native to the West Indies and the tropical regions of the United States, and now grows widely in the Middle East, South Asia, and Southeast Asia. It’s a circular-conical fruit that’s thick and rough-skinned, having several knobby segments that are pale green to deep pinkish depending upon the variety. The flesh inside is light-yellow and custard-like in appearance. 

Once the sugar apples are ripe, they become soft to touch, and the segments slightly separate from the rest of the skin, exposing the pale interior. They contain several black oblong seeds that are inedible and potentially toxic. The seeds are removed simultaneously while consuming the pulp. 

Image Credit: Flickr user wuestenigel ( CC BY 2.0 )

Sugar Apple Taste

Sugar apples taste very much like fragrant, creamy custard. The flesh is soft, juicy, buttery, or semi-hard in texture. Some people describe its taste as a mix of sweet tropical fruits, mint, and cinnamon. It’s often confused with custard apple as the two look and taste so similar, however, both are different species from the same genus Annona, with little to no differences in taste and texture.

How to Use Sugar Apples in Cooking?

Image Credit: Flickr user h-bomb ( CC BY-NC-SA 2.0 )

Sugar apples taste delicious on their own, but can be used to add a tropical punch to sweet and savory recipes. They’re quite popular for flavoring ice creams, milkshakes, sorbets, eggnog, and cocktails. But we like to make crumbles, cobblers, and trifles with soft, ripe sugar apples – so delicious! 

These super-sweet tropical fruits go very well with rhubarb and lime, especially in baked desserts as they cut through their tanginess, giving off a pleasant sour-sweet combination. Try out our recipes for Rhubarb Upside Down Oatmeal Bake, Strawberry Rhubarb Crumble, Rhubarb and Coconut Cream Parfait but make sure to add pureed sugar apples to these recipes for added fragrance and flavor.

Besides the sweet sugar apple recipes, many savory recipes can benefit from sugar apples, especially in a sauce or sweet-glaze form. You can incorporate sugar apple sauce to any of these recipes for a savory-sweet take on them.

      Spiced Seared Pork Chops

      Honey and Garlic Glazed Pork Chops

●      BBQ Chicken Breasts with Rice and Beans

Feature Image: Flickr user g.wu. ( CC BY-NC-ND 2.0 )

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