Custard Apples

Published by Liz Macri, Kitchen Ink

I’m sure lots of people have seen and heard of custard apples, but have you tried one? Maybe you didn’t know what to do with them, or how to eat them?

Custard apples have the texture of cooked apple with a sweet custard taste. The easiest way to eat them is to pull them apart with your hands and eat the delicate flesh (discard the centre spine as this can be a little bitter). You can also halve them and scoop out the flesh with a spoon or add a squeeze of lime juice to enhance the flavour.

The Australian custard apple season is from late autumn and all though the winter, which is great as custard apples contain high amounts of vitamin C which will help boast your immune system over the cooler months. They are also Low GI (54), a great source of fibre and potassium.

To select and store

Custard apples have a green knobbly skin and the flesh is studded with brown seeds.

Ripe custard apples have a pale green skin and a sweet juicy taste. They will give slightly when their skin is pressed. Custard apples have a fragile exterior, so a couple blemishes on the skin is fairly normal. Look for custard apple with an aromatic smell.

To ripen darker green fruit, store them at room temperature until pale and aromatic. Once ripe, store in the refrigerator for up to 2-3 days. For a speedier ripening process, store in a brown paper bag with a banana, then in the refrigerator.

To eat

Custard apples go well with citrus, like lime, lemon and orange. Tropical fruits like banana, papaya, coconut and pineapple. They also love spice, try cinnamon, nutmeg, ginger, mixed spice, vanilla, maple and honey. Try them with ricotta, in smoothies, on cereal and over ice cream.

If you want to add custard apples to cooked desserts or dishes, they are best added towards the end of cooking time for maximum flavour.