Custard apple also known as the “aristocrat of fruits”, is a fruit that can be found in places with a warm and humid climate. The fruit comes from a tree that occurs in many parts of the world such as South East Asia, India, Australia, Taiwan & Africa. It would normally take about 20 to 25 weeks prior to reaching maturity in these regions.
The fruit comes in various shapes but more commonly as the oblong shape with sizes that ranges from 7 centimetres to 12 centimetres. The custard apple has a sweet flavour and when ripe, the fruit becomes brown or yellowish.
With many uses of the fruit, it is not surprising that it can be used as food, or for medicinal purposes. There are times when the fruit is made into a sweet drink as well as a substitute for milk. The unripe fruit however, has been used to aid against diarrhea and dysentery. The bark of the tree can be used as a skin and mucosae medicine as the seeds from the bark has been known to contain important and useful tannins as well as astringents. To fight against patients beset with tumors or cancers, leaves from the custard apple tree can be used as they are known to have healing properties. In treating anemia, the fruit of the custard apple tree can also be used as they are served as an expectorant, a coolant, a stimulant and a haematinic. It is also believe that pastes made from a custard apple can be used in the treatment of boils and ulcers. Besides medicinal usages, leaves from this tree are known to provide hydrogen cyanide that would prove useful in the production of dyes, inks, stains, mordants and tattoos.
Custard apples are an excellent source of vitamin C, a fantastic source of dietary fibre as well as a useful source of minerals such as magnesium and potassium. The custard apples are so rich in magnesium that the consumption of only 100g of custard apple flesh will amount to almost 10% of your daily needs. As it is packed with vitamic C, custard apples can be used to combat free radicals in a human body as well as to protect the heart from cardiac diseases with its rich source of magnesium. With low levels of fat, the custard apple is good for consumption.
There are many ways that a custard apple can be consumed. The flesh of the custard can be eaten raw or used in fruit salads. But first of all, how would you know if the custard apple is ripe? Gently squeezing the fruit and if it gives in slightly to the pressure from your touch, the fruit is ripe. Custard apples can be bought readily opened for consumption or just like the avocado, can be bought while it is still unripe only to allow it to ripen with days. A custard apple can be ripened speedily by putting it into a bag with a banana and to leave it for a few days.