The sugar apple tree, also known as Annona squamosa, is a tropical fruit tree that belongs to the Annonaceae family. It is native to the tropical regions of the Americas but is now cultivated in various parts of the world, including Asia, Africa, and the Pacific Islands. The tree is prized for its delicious and aromatic fruit, which is commonly referred to as sugar apple, sweetsop, or custard apple.
Sugar Apple fruit
The fruit of the sugar apple tree is the main attraction. It is round or heart-shaped, with a segmented exterior that resembles the scales of a pinecone. The skin is thick, bumpy, and green, turning slightly yellowish or brown when ripe. Inside, the fruit is filled with creamy, white, sweet-scented pulp. The pulp is divided into segments, each containing a glossy black seed. The flavor of the sugar apple is described as a combination of banana, pineapple, and vanilla, with a hint of citrus.
Exterior: The fruit has a unique appearance with a bumpy, segmented exterior. The skin is thick and rough, covered in cone-shaped, overlapping scales or protuberances. The color of the skin is typically green but may turn slightly yellow or brown as it ripens.
Interior: When the fruit is cut open, it reveals a creamy, white pulp that is divided into segments. The pulp is soft and custard-like in texture, hence the name custard apple. Each segment contains a glossy, dark brown to black seed that is not typically consumed.
Flavor: The flavor of the sugar apple fruit is highly regarded and often described as a combination of tropical flavors. It has a sweet and creamy taste with hints of banana, pineapple, and vanilla. Some people also note subtle citrus undertones. The flavor is generally mild and pleasing to the palate.
Aroma: The sugar apple fruit emits a pleasant, sweet fragrance that is reminiscent of tropical fruits. The aroma is often compared to a blend of pineapple, mango, and ripe banana. The enticing scent adds to the overall sensory experience of consuming the fruit.
Ripeness: Sugar apples are harvested when fully mature but still slightly firm. They do not continue to ripen after being picked, so it’s important to choose ripe fruits. A ripe sugar apple will have a slightly soft texture when gently squeezed and may show some color changes on the skin.
Nutritional Profile: Sugar apples are not only delicious but also offer nutritional benefits. They are a good source of vitamin C, dietary fiber, potassium, magnesium, and antioxidants. The fruit is relatively low in calories and contains no cholesterol.
Usage: The sugar apple fruit is often enjoyed fresh and consumed by scooping out the pulp with a spoon. It can be eaten as a refreshing snack, used in desserts, smoothies, or added to fruit salads. Some people also extract the juice or make ice cream and sorbets from the pulp.
Overall, the sugar apple fruit is a tropical delight with its unique appearance, creamy texture, and delightful flavor. Its popularity stems from its delicious taste.
How to take care of a suger apple tree?
It has been proven that a sugar apple tree can be grown and fruited in pots. This is a tropical fruit tree that requires temperatures of minimum 10 degrees Celsius in order to fruit. It can not tolerate frost.
- Container Selection: Choose a large pot or container with good drainage. The siz
- e should be 20-100 liters to accommodate the tree’s root system and allow for healthy growth.
- Soil: Use well-draining soil that is rich in organic matter. A mixture of potting soil, compost, and perlite or sand works well. Avoid heavy or compacted soils that can retain excess moisture.
- Sunlight: Place the pot in a location that receives full sunlight for at least 6-8 hours a day. Sugar apple trees require ample sunlight to thrive and produce fruit. In winter time you can use a grow light.
- Watering: Keep the soil evenly moist but not waterlogged. Water the tree when the top inch of soil feels dry. Avoid overwatering as it can lead to root rot. Use your finger to check the moisture level and adjust watering accordingly.
- Fertilization: Feed the sugar apple tree regularly with a balanced, slow-release fertilizer formulated for fruit trees. Follow the manufacturer’s instructions for application rates and frequency. Fertilize during the growing season (spring and summer) and reduce or stop fertilization during the dormant period (fall and winter).
- Pruning: Prune the tree to maintain its shape and remove any dead, damaged, or crossing branches. Pruning also helps improve airflow and light penetration. Do the pruning during the dormant period to minimize stress on the tree.
- Pollination: Sugar apple trees are often self-pollinating, but having multiple trees or hand-pollination can increase fruit set. Gently brush the flowers with a soft brush or cotton swab to transfer pollen from one flower to another.
- Pests and Diseases: Monitor the tree for pests such as aphids, mealybugs, or scale insects. Treat any infestations promptly with appropriate insecticides or organic pest control methods. Also, watch out for common diseases like fungal leaf spots or root rot and take necessary preventive measures.
- Winter Protection: If you live in a region with cold winters, provide protection for the sugar apple tree. Move the pot indoors to a cool but frost-free location or cover the tree with a frost cloth or protective covering.
- Regular Care: Regularly inspect the tree for signs of stress, nutrient deficiencies, or any other issues. Keep the area around the pot free from weeds and ensure proper air circulation.