Custard Apples are a sub-tropical deciduous tree belonging to the Annonaceae family. Native to the Americas, this luscious fruit has Australia as its largest commercial producer. Australia’s commercial custard apple cultivars come from the atemeoya family, a hybrid of the Annona genus.
Pinks Mammoth are large super sweet fruit which some growers hand pollinate at flowering to improve fruit shape. These trees can produce fruit weighing as much as 3kg. African Prides are a medium sized, well shaped 500g to 800g fruit that sets well on the tree.
Another variety that The Thorny Fruit Co is able to source that isn’t available commercially is the Red Custard Apple. This variety is milder in sweetness, and generally less seed count compared to the Pinks Mammoth & African Prides. Supply is very limited. 2020 season over.
A custard apple is ripe when you gently squeeze it and it gives slightly under your hand. Much the same as an avocado. You can buy custard apples ready to eat, or still hard to the touch and let it ripen over the next few days after purchase.
If you want to hasten the ripening process then simply put the fruit into a brown paper bag with a banana and leave it on the kitchen bench. The banana will accelerate the ripening of the custard apple.
Custard Apples are only eaten when soft, and only the flesh is eaten. To eat, simply cut in half and scoop out the white flesh. The Custard Apple should be moist with a pleasant sweet aroma. Once ripe, custard apples can be stored in the fridge for up to 3 days. Once the skin has gone purple or black, they have passed their best eating quality.
Photo and text credit to Custard Apples Australia