Exotic fruit, Bahamian Sugar Apple

The Bahamian sugar apple is a rare treat. At least that is how we felt as children. We looked forward to every season where we could pluck the fruit from the tree and enjoy while playing outside during the summer.

The scientific name is Annona squamosa, it is a widely grown species of the Annona plant genus

It is well worth spitting seeds to taste the sweet creamy flesh.

It can also be fun!

Since i grew up eating them it makes me a good witness to the fact of how much fun you can have eating your food..

Sugar apples while enjoying something nutritious was also a reason to play a spitting game that both nourished and entertained.

They are not exactly apples as you may know it. Everything from it's skin to it's core is different from what you would recognize as a regular apple.

Taste

  • sweet
  • creamy
  • smooth
  • rich

Tidbit

There is a drawing of a sugar apple that dates back to 1655, by Michal Boym.

This fruit is known is ancient civilizations of the Middle East, Hong Kong, Taiwan, Ethiopia and Mali.

Nutritional value

Since sugar apples are sweet they are high in natural sugars and are also high in calories.

They are well worth eating though!

They are rich in Vitamins B6, B2, B3, B5 and B9. Also in Vitamin C, actually nutritional information lists sugar apples as containing over 90% vitamin C.

They are excellent sources of manganese. As well as iron, magnesium, phosphorus, potassium and thiamine.

Visiting the Bahamas what would you eat?

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Looks like

It is really hard to describe a sugar apple because it actually doesn't look like anything else i have ever seen. Not even it's relation the soursop!

The skin or rind is non edible, and when it is young it's typically hard and green. As it ripens it blackens becomes soft and breaks apart easily at the cream colored softer covering that expands as the fruit ripens.

The sugar apple's shape is slightly rounded or conical, which means that at the tip of the fruit it becomes slightly pointed.

The flesh is pale, white, thin and juicy. Each segment is elongated to fit around the seed and form the ball like shape which is also attached to the inner core or stem.

The seed is black, shiny and hard in proportion to the edible flesh that surrounds it, it is large.

The stem or core, runs through the center of the sugar apple to which all the segments are attached forming the overall shape. It looks like a pale spear head or like the tip of an asparagus.

When ripe a sugar apple will easily split apart when gently squeezed. Plucking it apart by individual sections is fascinating and satisfying!

Sugar apple
Sugar apple | Source

How to eat it

There are two ways primarily in which a person consumes a sugar apple.

  • Scooping it out with a spoon, this way allows you to eat more than one segment at a time.
  • Plucking the individual bumps and sucking the flesh and seed into one's mouth.

Either way is kosher depending on who you are with and where you are.

If outside and with your friends etiquette is out the window, and the fun with spitting seeds is included.

If inside and with mom you may have to exercise restraint and use a spoon. Maybe?

Other ways to eat it

  • in a sorbet
  • in a drink
  • cooled in the fridge
  • Sugar apple wine

Best time to eat

Best is allowing a sugar apple to ripen on the tree, typically the best month to pick or harvest them is September, when they prove to be most plentiful.

Yet, they can be picked, and left to ripen in a dark cool place in your kitchen or pantry.

How to tell if their ripe

  • soft to touch or squeeze
  • signs of white showing separations between bumps or segments
  • the blackening of the rind or skin

Tips of recognition

  • Tropical environments in the Americas like South Florida and the West Indies like the Bahamas
  • Season - July to September
  • Grows on trees
  • Round conical shape
  • Segments or bumps, individual pieces
  • Hard green or pink rind or skin
  • large black seed
  • white creamy flesh
  • cone shape core
  • sweet
  • soft when ripe, breaks apart

Around the world

Sugar apples are normally grown in tropical climates, and can be found in the tropical Americas and West Indies. I am familiar with the ones that have a green rind.

The Season in the Bahamas is typically July through September, with September being the most plentiful of each season.

In other parts of the world it is known by several other names. They are found in places like Brazil to Taiwan, even Iceland.

Other familiar names

  • Sugar apple
  • Sweetsop
  • Custard apple
  • Atis
  • foreign Lychee

Fruit
Vitamins
Minerals
Sugar apple
B & C
Iron, Calcium, Magnesium, Potassium+
Red apple
A & C
Potassium, Calcium
Green apple
A & B(sm)
Potassium, Phosphorus, Calcium
+ maganese, thiamine

Sugar apples like any other fruit is best in it's natural state. It satisfies one's taste for something sweet and creamy.

It can be cultivated by planting the seeds. It is best of course to pick the fruit from the tree so your chances of growing it is at it's peak.

It is unique, so it is hard to say it is similar to another fruit that would be familiar unless you have eaten other fruits from around the world that are grown in tropical terrains.

Go ahead and try them though, because that gives you another option for a Vitamin C boost and a healthy snack.

Sugar apple, whole and broken in half
Sugar apple, whole and broken in half | Source

Relations

If you are familiar with any of these fruits, it gives you an idea of what a sugar apple tastes like.

  • Soursop or guanabana
  • cherimoya

Variations

  • Pink

Hybrids

  • Pineapple sugar apple

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9 comments

ChitrangadaSharan profile image

ChitrangadaSharan 3 years ago from New Delhi, India

Very sweet, exotic fruit and we enjoy it in India as well. It is called 'Sharifa' here or Custard apple.

Nice hub sharing the details of this lovely fruit. Thanks!


Alphadogg16 profile image

Alphadogg16 3 years ago from Texas

I have never had one, but they look tasty and wouldn't mind trying them. I've never seen them in the fruit section in the states, not that I was looking. Are they only in the Bahamas?


Thelma Alberts profile image

Thelma Alberts 3 years ago from Germany

I love this fruit. I have not eaten this fruit for I think more than 30 years now. I did not even know the name of it in english. Thanks for reminding me this and for sharing the health benefits of it. Voted this up and shared.


Crystal Tatum profile image

Crystal Tatum 3 years ago from Georgia

Never heard of it but it looks interesting. I don't think I've seen this available in the south but I'd definitely try it. Voted up and interesting.


thumbi7 profile image

thumbi7 3 years ago from India

I love this fruit. Thanks for sharing its details


Anamika S profile image

Anamika S 3 years ago from Mumbai - Maharashtra, India

This fruit is available in India too. We call it Custard apple.


idigwebsites profile image

idigwebsites 3 years ago from United States

it definitely looks like soursop, even the seeds :)


Eiddwen profile image

Eiddwen 3 years ago from Wales

Very interesting and I now look forward to so many more by you.

Eddy.


Celiegirl profile image

Celiegirl 3 years ago Author

Thanks ChitrangadaSharan, i know you enjoy them in India. Our histories of being under British rule is similar as well! More reason to enjoy them now!

Thanks Alphadogg16, start looking at some of the international markets if you have one close by. Actually they are available in other parts of the world but are known by other names, most likely. Heard of a few farms in South Florida, though. Enjoy!

Thanks Thelma Alberts, i do as well, go out and enjoy them again. If you are like me they remind me of a great childhood. The benefits are a perk!

Thanks Crystal Tatum, South Florida is the closest place in the U.S. that i know of, look for them though and see what i mean about having fun eating something really good.

Thanks Thumbi7, anytime! I agree, being in India you probably get to enjoy them regularly.

Thanks Anamika S, I know! So you get to enjoy them. When researching i discovered that but i didn't know you also called it Custard apple, forgot about the British influence.

Thanks idigwebsites, it does remind you of a soursop but we may be referring to two different versions. The one i am thinking of is larger, less bumpy, less segments, you may know it by guanabana.

Thanks Eiddwen, i am always working on something, i appreciate it!

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