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Custard Apple Nutritional Facts And Health Benefits Of Custard Apples

Custard apples, also known as chermoyas, are native to the West Indies and South America. The custard apple also grows on the slopes of the Andes and in several parts of Asia. The custard apple fruit is generally priced at the higher side because of the difficulty in transporting these (custard apples are soft and fleshy, with hard exteriors). This fruit with a sugary, grainy taste is rich in iron, niacin and calcium, and is also rich in calories.

So, what is a custard apple? It isn’t an apple and neither is it a dessert.
Custard apple is fruit with a sweet taste, which measures about 8-16 cm in diameter. This fruit can be round, heart-shaped or irregular. The skin that covers this fruit is thin but tough and generally green or brown in color. Once you break open this skin, you’ll find thick, creamy flesh surrounding the seeds. Sugary and granular, it’s this custard like texture that gives the fruit its name. An evergreen plant that grows up to 6 meters, the custard apple plant bears flowers and fruits in the mature branches.

Custard apples, with its high calories, natural sugars and delicious taste, are good as a dessert and as a nutritious snack. Custard apples can be made into shakes or smoothies, or even into natural ice creams. It is good for those who have hyper thyroidism or want to gain weight – a mixture of honey and custard apple is supposed to help people add on those much-needed calories. Let’s looks at some other custard apple nutritional facts.

Custard Apple Health Benefits

  • Custard apples are packed with vitamin C, an antioxidant that can combat the free radicals in the body.
  • The fruit also has vitamin A, which is good for healthy skin, better vision and for healthy hair.
  • The magnesium in custard apples can protect the heart from cardiac diseases and can relax the muscles.
  • Custard apples are also rich in vitamin B6 and potassium.
  • Custard apples are also rich in copper and have plenty of dietary fiber, which is good for keeping the digestive tract healthy and aids digestion as well prevents constipation.
  • Custard apples have low levels of fat, which is good for health.
  • It is believed that a paste made with the creamy flesh of the fruit can be used as a balm to treat boils, abscesses and ulcers.
  • Custard apples can be sun-dried and then ground into a powder, which can treat dysentery and diarrhea.
  • Custard apples also act as coolants, stimulants and expectorants. These fruits are good for treating anemia.
  • Some people make the fruit into a beverage that can act as a substitute to milk.
  • Even the bark of the custard apple tree, which contains astringents and tannins, is used in making herbal medicines. The leaves of the tree are supposed to be god for treating cancer and tumors; while the bark can relieve toothaches and gum pain.
Thus, these were some of the custard apple health benefits.

Custard apple:

The custard apple fruit is taken but naturally from the custard apple tree. This tree is not very attractive to look at. It stands erect with a rounded or spreading crown. The trunk is about 10-14 inches thick. These custard apple trees grow from 4.5-10 meters long. The deciduous leaves of this tree can be either oblong, alternate or narrow lanceolate. These leaves do not have a pleasant smell but are wide with conspicuous veins. This tree is often made up of long drooping branches that can touch the ground. These trees have many light yellow trumpet shaped flowers that emit a sweet fragrance in the evening. Only a small number of these flowers will set fruit. This tree belongs to the Annonaceae family of trees. The custard apple fruit from this tree is rich in taste and can be used in various ways. Some people like it as dessert in the form of ice cream or a tart. 

Custard apple fruit:

The custard apple fruit is a sweet fruit that has many benefits. Some of these benefits are:-

1. It is low in calorie content and therefore good for maintaining optimum health.
2. It contains Vitamin A which is good for the skin, hair, eyes.
3. It helps in digestion as it is a rich source of dietary fiber.
4. It is a coolant, stimulant and expectorant.
5. It has healing properties as well – the flesh can be applied on boils, abcessess and ulcers.
6. The magnesium in custard apples helps to protect the heart from cardiac diseases. It can relax the muscles as well.
7. Custard apples can also be used to treat dysentery and diarrhea.
8. It is good for anemic people.
9. The potassium present in a custard apple helps fight muscle weakness.
10. It is also a rich source of magnesium. It therefore helps to equalize the water balance in the body and this helps in removing acids from the joints. It is thus beneficial for rheumatic and arthritic patients.

This fruit is also known as Cherimoya in the USA. They are considered an exotic fruit in the USA and are in high demand there.

Apple fruit benefits

There are many benefits of the green apple fruit and in particular for the skin. Some of these are given below:-

  Green apples are a good source of dietary fiber. This dietary fiber helps to regulate bowel movements and improves digestion as well. This also reduces the risk of colon cancer. Green apples are also a rich source of Vitamins A, B,C. These vitamins are known to have whitening and nourishing effects on the skin. Such apples also help to prevent diarrhea and constipation as they contain malic and tartaric acids. Green apples are also good for strong bones and teeth. These help with vision as well.

Wood apple is a slow growing tree which is ingenious to India. The wood apple has a brownish pulp inside and is hard and grey on the outside. These apples also have many health benefits and are known for their healing properties. These include:-

These apples contain tannin which helps with digestive conditions like diarrhea. Mixing the juice of the leaves with milk and sugar is very beneficial. Wood apples also contain carotene which is excellent for good vision.

Custard apples

You might be wondering how to eat the delicious custard apple fruit? Keep in mind that custard apples should only be eaten when soft. Only the flesh of the custard apple is eaten, not the skin, like with other fruits. Most ripe custard apples give off a lovely sweet aroma. You can check for ripeness by squeezing it gently. If it gives way slightly under your hand, it is ready to eat. This fruit is usually broken open into half and the fleshy bits are enjoyed. Eating custard apple can be a little tiresome because of the many seeds one has to keep spitting out. A custard apple is never cooked and can be eaten in several different ways. Store custard apples at room temperature until you want to eat them or in the fridge for a few days, if they are already ripe.

Apple custard

Apple custard pie or apple custard cakes are delicious ways to end a meal with the family. Follow the recipe given below for pie.

Take 1-1 ½ cups all purpose flour, ½ cup cold butter, ½ teaspoon salt, 3 cups of peeled and sliced apples (about 4 apples should do), 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon, 1/3 cup sugar.  For the custard you need 1 egg, ½ cup sugar and 1 cup evaporated milk. Combine flour, salt and butter till crumbly. Press this into a pie plate and put apples over the crust. Mix the sugar and cinnamon and sprinkle over the apples. Bake this at 375° for 20 minutes. Whisk all the ingredients for the custard and pour over the apples. Bake till smooth.

There are several apple custard cake recipes that are easy to make as well. These can be found online or in recipe books.

Custard apple benefits:

There are several custard apple benefits and these include benefits during pregnancy as well. Some of these benefits are:-

  Custard apples contain a great deal of copper which helps the body to form hemoglobin. This is especially useful for pregnant women as they need about 1000 micrograms of copper daily. Eating custard apples during pregnancy is therefore beneficial for the mother and child.
  Custard apples are a rich source of Vitamin B.
  This fruit is also a rich source of Vitamin C.
  Custard apples in a dried and powdered form can be used to treat lice.
  Custard apples contain potassium, magnesium and carbohydrates.
  Skin infections such as abcessess or ulcers can be treated with custard apple. Simply grind the flesh into a thick paste and apply it to the affected area.

Custard apple recipes

Here is one of the many easy custard apple recipes.

Custard Apple cream

2 deseeded custard apples, pureed with a bit of lemon
500 g soft light cream cheese
3 tablespoons gelatin
1/3 cup boiling water
½ cup caster sugar
190 ml cream

Dissolve the gelatin into the 1/3 cup of boiling water. Beat the softened cream thoroughly and then add the cream, caster sugar and gelatin mixture. Add the custard apple puree and beat till smooth. Pour into mould/glasses and set for about 8 hours.

Submitted on January 16, 2014