Also Known As
Bull’s Heart, Sitaphal, Sitapal, Seetaphal
Custard apple is the fruit of a small, deciduous or semi-evergreen tropical tree, which is commonly found in South East Asia, Africa and India. The fruits are usually heart-shaped or oblong and maybe that is why they are also called Bull's Heart.
The fruits are picked before they are ripe. When ripe, the fruit is yellow or brown. The flesh is usually white and creamy with a sugary taste, but there are also varieties with bright red, purplish red or pinkish flesh. The flavour is sweet and pleasant, and has a grainy mouth-feel. The oval-shaped, black and shiny seeds of the fruit are inedible.
How to select
• When buying custard apple, choose firm fruits, which are not over-ripe and soggy. Also make sure the skin is free of bruises, blemishes and cuts.
• When selecting a custard apple to eat, look for an evenly-coloured apple which yields slightly when pressed.
• The ridges of the fruit may be slightly tinged with brown, but the fruit should not appear black, moist or pulpy.
• It is a pleasure to just scoop the fruit out of its skin and eat it as it is, but the custard apple is also useful in many other recipes!
• As it is soft and energy-rich, it is a preferred baby food.
• Custard apple puree is used in flavouring mousses, fruit soufflés and compotes.
• Combine crushed custard apple with chilled milk for a late afternoon refresher drink.
• Use the sweet fruit to make syrups, squashes, jams and marmalades along with other fruits.
• Add the puree to cake fillings or to make fruit sauces.
How to store
• Use custard apple within a few days of purchase, or they will start losing their freshness.
• Do not store over-ripe custard apples for too long, because their soft cover tends to rupture easily inviting flies, dust and other unwanted contaminants. They could mess up your whole fruit bowl.
• This energy dense fruit is an instant refresher.
• The fruit is rich in minerals like iron, phosphorous, calcium and riboflavin, and is a good cure for anaemia.
• It serves as a stimulant and coolant.
• However, the fruit is better avoided by diabetics due to its high glycemic index.