Sugar-apple is the fruit of Annona squamosa, the most widely grown species of Annona and a native of the tropical Americas and West Indies. The Spanish traders and others brought it to Asia where its old Mexican name ate may still be found in Bengali ata, Nepalese aati, Sinhalese katu atha, Burmese aajaa thee, and atis in the Philippines. It is also known as custard apple (mainly Annona reticulata) in the Philippines.
The fruit is round to conical, 5–10 cm (2.0–3.9 in) in diameter and 6–10 cm (2.4–3.9 in) long, and weighing 100–240 g (3.5–8.5 oz), with a thick rind composed of knobby segments. The color is typically pale green to blue-green, with a deep pink blush in certain varieties, and typically has a bloom. It is unique among Annona fruits in being segmented, and the segments tend to separate when ripe, exposing the interior.
The flesh is fragrant and sweet, creamy white to light yellow, and resembles and tastes like custard. It is found adhering to 13–16 mm (0.51–0.63 in) long seeds to form individual segments arranged in a single layer around the conical core. It is soft, slightly grainy, and slippery. The hard, shiny seeds may number 20-40 or more per fruit, and have a brown to black coat, although varieties exist that are almost seedless.
There are also new varieties being developed in Taiwan. The atemoya or "pineapple sugar-apple", a hybrid between the sugar apple and the cherimoya, is popular in Taiwan, although it was first developed in the USA in 1908. The fruit is similar in sweetness to the sugar apple but has a very different taste. As the name suggests, it tastes like pineapple. The arrangement of seeds is in spaced rows, with the fruit's flesh filling most of the fruit and making grooves for the seeds, instead of the flesh only occurring around the seeds.
As a result of its widespread cultivation, many local names have developed for the fruit.
- In English, it is most widely known as a sugar apple or sweetsop as well as a custard apple, especially in India and Australia (custard apple also refers to Annona reticulata, a closely related species).
- In Hispanic America, regional names include anón, anón de azucar, anona blanca, fruta do conde, cachiman, saramuyo, grenadilla (little grenade) and many others.
- In the Middle East, it is called قشطة (qishta / ishta / ashta), the English translation being "cream".
- In Aceh, it is called "seureuba".
- In Angola, it is called fruta-do-conde or fruta-pinha.
- In The Bahamas, it is called "sugar apple".
- In Brazil, it is called fruta-do-conde, fruta-de-conde, condessa, fruta-pinha, pinha (lit. cone), ata or anona.
- Its name in Burmese is aajaa thee.
- In Cambodia, regional names include "plae teib".
- In Ethiopia, it is called Gishta (ጊሽጣ) in Amharic.
- In Germany, it is called Zimtapfel, because of its taste.
- In Ghana, it is called "Sweet Apple".
- In Greece, it is called γλυκόμηλο (sweet apple).
- In Haiti, it is called kachiman.
- In Hong Kong, it is called foreign lychee (番鬼荔枝).
- In Iceland, it is called hvaðerþetta.
- In India it is known as:
In Bengali: ata (আতা)
In Gujarati: sitaphal (સીતાફળ)
In Hindi: sharifa or sitaphal (शरीफ़ा/सीताफल)
In Kannada: sitaphala (ಸೀತಾಫಲ)
In Marathi: sitaphal (सीताफळ)
In Punjabi: sharifa (ਸ਼ਰੀਫਾ)
In Tamil: sitappalam (சீதாப்பழம்)
In Telugu: sita phalamu (సీతా ఫలము)literally meaning Sita's fruit.
- In Indonesia, srimatikiya or, as mostly people call it, srikaya.
- In Kenya, it is called matomoko.
- In Madagascar, it is called conicony in Malagasy.
- In Malaysia, it is called buah nona.
- In Mali, Africa, it is called hairico.
- In Martinique it is called pomme cannelle.
- In Nepal, it is called "aati" as well as "saripha" (सरीफा).
- In Nicaragua, it is called "annona guatemala".
- In Northern Nigeria, it is called fasadabur in Hausa
- In Pakistan, it is called Sharifa (شريفا)
- In the Philippines, it is called atis.
- In Sri Lanka, it is call "Anoda" or "Katu Atha" in Sinhalese.
- In Taiwan, it is called sakya (Chinese: 釋迦; pinyin: shìjiā; Taiwanese: sek-khia, sek-kia) because one cultivar resembles the top part of Shakyamuni's (釋迦牟尼) head.
- In Tanzania, it is called matopetope.
- In Thailand, it is called noi-na (น้อยหน่า).
- In Vietnam, it is called mãng cầu ta or na.
- In Yemen, it is called Khirmish (خرمش).
Nutrition and uses
|Nutritional value per 100 g (3.5 oz)|
|Energy||393 kJ (94 kcal)|
|Dietary fiber||4.4 g|
|Percentages are roughly approximated using US recommendations for adults.
Source: USDA Nutrient Database
Sugar-apple is high in energy, an excellent source of vitamin C and manganese, a good source of thiamine and vitamin B6, and provides vitamin B2, B3 B5, B9, iron, magnesium, phosphorus and potassium in fair quantities.
For uses of other fruit from the Custard-apple family see:
Sugar apple (right), with Taiwanese "pineapple shijia" (atemoya) (left)
- Morton, Julia (1987). "Annona squamosa". Fruits of warm climates. p. 69. Retrieved 6 March 2013.
- "Annona squamosa". AgroForestryTree Database. Retrieved 16 September 2013.
- Bernd Nowak, Bettina Schulz: Taschenlexikon tropischer Nutzpflanzen und ihrer Früchte. Quelle&Meyer, Wiebelsheim 2009, ISBN 978-3-494-01455-5, p. 57–59.
- "Benefits of Custard apple". 22 December 2014.
|Wikimedia Commons has media related to Annona squamosa.|
|Wikisource has the text of a 1911 Encyclopædia Britannica article about Sugar-apple.|