Ambrosial annona … on the eighth day God created the custard apple and said “Now this is REALLY good. "
- rworange Feb 25, 2011 09:32 AM
I just had the privilege … there is no better word for it … of eating a exquisitely ripe anona just picked from the tree.
Not only would it not be possible to ship something like this because it is so soft and fragile, it would not make it down the block to the local fruit vendor.
I’ve bought an annona in the US and it was fine, but nothing more.
Fully ripe, it is a whole different fruit. It will be one of my top ten tastes of 2011. If I try anything better than this then I’ve died and am eating manna in heaven.
The texture is like the smoothest, creamiest pudding I’ve ever eaten. The flavor is pears with faint accents of papaya, butterscotch and pine nuts.
Not even the top chef in the world would have the ability to make a pudding this magnificent. The bonus is there is no sugar other than natural fruit sugars … but like most good things, it is high in calories.
I have to think it was an annona that Eve picked instead of the apple … and somehow even after being tossed out of Eden she was thinking “It was worth it”.
My stepson brought me one. It had a hole in one end. The tree shades the yard with the chickens and my response was “Uh, thanks”. I wasn’t too anxious to eat something one of the hens had dined on first.
Looking into it further, when you pull the fruit off the tree it leaves a hole in one end. Recognizing my gringo-ness, when I sliced it open I was told not to eat the seeds.
This wiki article says that there are 110 species of annona, one of which is the more familiar cherimoya.
I’m not sure what variety this is, but it is far superior to the chermoya I tried. More on custard apples in this link. Obiously the writer never tried the fully ripe type that I just ate.
The tree is loaded with anonas right now. It is makes living in this tropical heat hell worth it.
Gratuitous link to a post about ripe passion fruit
the best custard apple I ever had was in Nairobi at a street market. Others have not been anything that good.
I love custard apple, too. It is a Fall-Winter fruit in South Asia, and we got good ones in Dubai imported from India and Pakistan. One would think that it is best in its natural form, but it so extra good in milkshakes. Custard apple milkshakes are my favorite.
I think we get cherimoya here (in Texas) but I thought the taste would be too different from what I was used to with the subcontinental custard apple, so I haven't sought it out.
I'm going to keep an eye out for cherimoya here. I don't believe I've seen them. The cherimoya I had in SF had a grainy texture, nothing like the silken texture of the anona. Still, that was something transported green from a long way away. If there are any local versions, they would be picked ripe, or at least riper, so it would be interesting to see how those taste.
If I could choose only one fruit to eat for the rest of my life, it would have to be the mangosteen (NOT mango -- they're good and all, but this is an entirely different fruit). I do mean FRESH mangosteens exclusively -- you can find tinned ones in Asian stores, and they are just a sad, slimy imitation of the original. The tinned ones are not even worth trying, sadly.
I don't think I can properly describe the fresh fruit's flavor, but it's absolutely amazing: bright, vibrant, intense, with notes of pear, pineapple, passion fruit, watermelon and lychee. Inside a hard, thick, fibrous purple shell, the flesh is a pale, creamy pinkish white with glossy black stones embedded in it, which you spit out. They're just incredible. I've had them in India, the Philippines and a few other countries. They're hard to find in the US (in the past I have seen them in various Chinatowns, but I think they're smuggled in, and they're usually not great, unfortunately). In the Philippines during mangosteen season, my mom and I would buy maybe 10 pounds of them at a time, and then sit and eat them, with growing piles of the deep purple shells next to us. If you're lucky enough to get your hands on some fresh ripe mangosteen, crack them open carefully -- you don't want to get any of the yellow interior-shell-lining substance on the fruit, because it tastes hideous. So scrape off any yellow that's gotten onto the white flesh, and enjoy.
I believe they grow in Mediterranean regions, too, so it's possible, weather-wise. Some time ago I heard -- and I don't know how correct this is, but it might explain why something SO delicious rarely shows up in the US -- that it's illegal to import the fresh ones into America due to some sort of crop-parasite issue. But they really are wonderful, and I hope you get to try them!
In Washington, DC there is a Thai Fruit Festival every year supported by the Thai government. A bunch of restaurants throughout the area offer special dishes featuring fresh fruit. I had a fruit salad featuring fresh mangosteen. My guess is that it doesn't really compare to what you can get overseas.
Just a note that the pulp freezes beautifully, like the perfect sherbert ... without anything added. Even my family who is usually skeptical of my food adventures were blown away.
As good as it was, I'm thinking on the next batch of adding a touch of lime ... and maybe rum. Seriously, ice cream makers should look into these. They may not transport fresh well, but the the frozen pulp could be easily shipped.
Some developed that sort of diamond artichoke markings that the green chermimoya has. I couldn't get a better photo as they were soft as marshmallows and picking one out of the bowl meant eating or freezing it immediately.
To keep the fruit a little longer, the branch is cut and stays attached to the fruit.