I am from the beautiful island of Grenada where Sugar Apple (as we call it) grows. Just yesterday, I enjoyed the goodness of one of our Sugar Apples. Some of my friends say, it is too sweet. Well, It is sugar apple and it is filled with sugar goodness.
I got curious though and went digging and found out some really cool facts about the Sugar Apple. I discovered that it is the most widely grown species of Annona Squamosa.
It is the work of Julia F. Morton an economic botanist. It is described as an “important resource for every agricultural, research and science library.”
OK, let’s get to it. Here are the cool facts I found out from Julia.
1. The origin of the sugar apple appears to be unknown. Tropical South America, Southern Mexico, the West Indies, Bahamas and Bermuda, are some of the places they are frequently cultivated. 2. The suitable climate for these trees to grow is the tropical to near tropical climate. It strives best in areas that are dry and has high tolerance for drought conditions. 3. The seeds can live up to 3-4 years and they germinate better 1 week after they are removed from the fruit; very interesting don’t you think? 4. Germination may take 30 days or more, it can be quicker if the seeds are soaked for three days. This other fact caught me by surprise, something I just never knew. 5. The seeds are actually acrid and poisonous. Wow! You may be wondering what the word “acrid” means, it means “having an irritatingly strong and unpleasant taste or smell.” I must’ve swallowed a few seeds in my childhood, oops!
I love eating sugar apples, the fruit is nearly round about 6-10 cm long, with outer knobby segments; pale-green in colour. It is creamy white inside, sweet and juicy to the taste.
Now, I am sure you are wondering about its medicinal uses; no. 6. Crushed leaves can be sniffed to overcome hysteria and fainting spells; they can also be applied to ulcers and wounds and a leaf decoction is taken in cases of dysentery (infection of the intestines/diarrhea) . It is said that in the tropical parts of America a decoction of the leaves either alone or with other plants, is absorbed or drank as an emmenagogue (a substance that stimulates or increases menstrual flow). It is also said to be used as a tonic and a cold remedy. There is more; the leaf decoction is also applied in baths to relieve affected persons from rheumatic pain; a decoction of the bark can also be used as a tonic and to stop diarrhea.
There is so much information on the sugar apple in this book but I must wrap up sharing the exert that had the greatest impression on my mind. I learnt that the poisonous seeds can be grounded to a powder and made into a paste and applied to the scalp to get rid of lice. Wow!!
I do hope you will get the opportunity to taste it, if you never did. It is an excellent source of vitamin C and manganese and also a very good source of Vitamin B6.