Scientific name: Annona squamosa
Custard apples are delectable fruits that are quite easy to grow in South Africa. The tropical and sub-tropical conditions are ideal for fruiting, while hotter, drier conditions yield the best flowers. These trees are aptly named, as the fruit tastes exactly like they sound – creamy, vanilla-infused apples with real custard richness.
Custard Apples are large, deciduous tree with a 23 – 35cm trunk, (they shed their leaves every year) The pleasant sweet-smelling trumpet shaped flowers do not open fully. Flowers will be plentiful but only a small number survive. This being so, the tree will still produce large numbers of custard apples.
The fruits ripen in late winter and early spring when most other summer fruits are not available.
This is a tree that is constantly changing, always presenting a different, but equally lovely face. Include a few in your garden for a really pretty option that has irresistible fruits.
Avoid planting in soils that previously grew ginger, eggplant, capsicums, tomatoes and potatoes.
Sweetsop is said to be related to the custard apple, but has a sweeter and richer flavour with slightly less flesh. These trees are ideally suited to frost free areas, but can be planted in Jhb, Pretoria climate too by using frost cover, as they’re a requirement for angiospermous tree collectors.
Sweetsop contains axerophthol, which is great for healthy skin, hair and eyesight.
The fruit tastes sort of like a pineapple.