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Custard apples are a decadent and deliciously sweet sub-tropical fruit.

The Australian custard apple is a hybrid of the sugar apple (Annona squamosa) and the cherimoya (Annona cherimola), and is unique to any other custard apples grown around the world.

Originally native to South America, this luscious and flavoursome fruit has Australia as its largest commercial producer.

Growing Regions

There are four main custard apple growing regions, all found on the east coast of Australia. These regions stretch from the Atherton Tablelands in tropical north Queensland down to Lismore sub-tropical NSW, allowing for a great supply of quality and delicious fruit throughout the season.

Tropical North Queensland kicks off the custard apple season, with the first fruit of the year ripe for the picking in late January/early February, followed by Yeppoon in Central Queensland. The season then follows the coast down to the Wide Bay area, and the Sunshine Coast starts producing by mid to late February. Northern New South Wales is the last region to produce with harvest starting around May each year.

Selecting Tips

Custard Apples are pale green with knobbly skin, and have soft, sweet flesh with brown seeds.

The best time to enjoy the fruit is during autumn and winter, making custard apples a sweet and tropical treat during the colder months of the year.

Tips to choose a custard apple:

  • Opt for ones that are pale green and firmer
  • Ripe custard apples will give slightly under pressure when squeezed, similar to an avocado
  • Custard apples have a fragile exterior, so a couple of spots or blemishes on the skin are normal, and the flesh inside will still be great quality
  • Once the skin has turned purple or black, they are past their best eating quality

Tips to store a custard apple:

  • If you buy a custard apple that is firm to the touch, store in your fruit bowl to allow them to ripen. This usually takes a few days
  • To speed up the ripening process, place your custard apple in a paper bag with a banana
  • Once ripe, it is best to store custard apples in the fridge and enjoy within three days
  • To enjoy, remove from the fridge and let it sit for around five minutes to get the best taste

Health Benefits

Custard apples are nature’s sweet treat that can also provide a range of health benefits for you and your family.

Coming into the cooler months, keeping your immune system in good shape is extremely important. Custard apples are an excellent source of vitamin C, important for a healthy functioning immune system. One serve (150g) contains up to 64.5mg, which is more than the recommended daily target for Australian adults.

The cooler weather can also see the kilojoules creep in. With a low glycemic index (GI) of 54, custard apples can keep you fuller for longer making them a great choice for those who are weight conscious.

As a source of dietary fibre, custard apples can also help keep you regular. One serve of custard apples contains 3.75g of dietary fibre, which is11% of the daily target for Australian adults.

For those with an active lifestyle custard apples contain potassium, important for normal fluid and electrolyte balance and magnesium, important for normal nerve and muscle function.