The Anona Squamosa Linn is the sweeter and superior variety of Custard Apple while the Anona Reticulata Linn is the slightly inferior type. However, both are delicious.
English: Custard apple (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
English: Sharifa, Custard apple (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
Anona Squamosa Linn:
These Custard Apples have slightly hard hexagonal green-black exteriors, with the delicious creamy fruit inside layered above black flat seeds. The seeds are lined atop delicious pulp which have a custard cream like consistency. These fruits are popular as the Seethafal and Aatha in India and are available aplenty in August. Their sweetness and aroma are exquisite. These trees are of medium height with twiggy branches and small elongated leaves. The fruit both in it’s raw and ripe form are used for curing boils and bacteria of skin wounds. The extract of the leaves can cure hysterical fits in women, and is inhaled through the nose. The crushed roots are a remedy for severe blood dysentry.
Anona Reticulata Linn:
This custard apple tree is slightly bigger with broad and long leaves and branches which look strong but break at the slightest pressure. The outer skin is brown, orange and sometimes yellow when ripe. The skin is leathery in appearance with indented reticulations. The fruit is slightly bigger, pulpier and has thin longish seeds. The taste of both fruits are quite similar but the seeds are considered poisonous, if chewed by mistake. People call it Aatha in South India and Nonafal in Calcutta. The medicinal uses of the plants are also similar. The juice of the leaves cures stubborn freckles on the face.
The Custard Apple is a very wholesome and popular fruit of India. The ripe fruit kept in the refrigerator gives it an almost Custard Cream like taste and appearance. The only trouble is that because of the seeds, it can’t be used as an ingredient for Fruit Salad or Ice Creams.