This is my favorite time of the year in the LOS , when all the different kinds of fruit trees are bearing all their great tasty and healthy fruit for us to eat and enjoy. Of course we can pick bananas, and papaya all year ,what a treat and most of the time out of our own backyards or the next door neighbors, who are more than happy to share with us, as most fruit trees produce an abundance of fruit and much more than one family can eat , and since almost no Thai families ,can or freeze ,or make jams , for the winter months ahead ,the fresh fruit has to be eaten when its ready and a lot of times that means sharing with all your friend and neighbors and taking to your families that live in areas where the fruit in season at the moment does not grow where they live and what a treat is to take and share with them , Thai folks love to do this and always think of friends and family when they have a abundance of anything.
We have watermelon all year round and papaya, and bananas , but the first fruit that I anticipate all winter is one of my favorites and that is the arrival of the mangoes ,eaten green or ripe, what a treat after the long, rainy season and winter . I eat them every chance I get any way you can fix them , (my favorite, being ripe manago and stick rice with sweet coconut milk drizzled on top ) have you ever tried them that way ? they come but once a year on the trees ,in our very own backyard , then come the small rose apples , followed by the lychee. then the longan, then the durian ,called the king of fruits and then another of my favorites, the mangosteen , healthy and delicious ,followed closely by the rambutan , one of the strangest fruits I have ever seen and from what I hear, the best rambutan grow just up the road from us. The jackfruit, seem to always have fruit in various stages of ripeness, we have a tree in our yard and maybe we will eat two a year , lots of work and messy to get the sweet fruit out , we let the farmers come and get it for their pigs and cows. its a lot eaiser to buy already cleaned at the Thursday market.
NOW----- for the subject of my post today , the sugar apple or as some call it the custard apple and the Thai name for this fruit is Noi Na, what ever name you call it , if you have never eaten one you just don't know what a treat and heavenly sweet custard, taste you have missed.The ripe fruit is usually ,broken open with you hands into two halves and the flesh segments scooped out with a spoon or your tongue and enjoyed ,while the seeds are separated in your mouth and spat out. It is so luscious that it is well worth the trouble.in some countries the flesh is pressed thru a sieve to get rid of the seeds and is then added to ice cream or blended with milk to make a cool and refreshing beverage.It is never cooked.
The fruit left on the trees to ripen ,do not do very well and most of the time will just turn brown and rot on the tree.The fruit is picked when it is almost mature and about to ripen,it is then left to sit at room tepperature for a couple days and will ripen ,ready to be enjoyed.You can keep them a few more days if you wrap them in newspaper or straw, then they will maybe, last 5 or 6 days ,maybe,but no more . It is a seasonal fruit and one to be enjoyed fresh and not a fruit that you can store for later use.
The Spaniards, it is told, probably carried the seeds from the new world (it is native to the Americas) to the Philippines around 1590 and then it begin to show up in other Asian countries as well.Grown extensive in India, where the tree is a escape tree, and the fruit is very popular and abundant in the markets.The sugar apple is one of the most important fruits in the interior of Brazil and in the markets of Bahia.The sugar apple requires a tropical or near-tropical climate , therefore it does well in most Asian countries. It is a favorite fruit for many in Thailand and is a great money crop in some areas of the country.Not far up the road from us ,there are large sugar apple garden and when in season these folks sell them by the kilio or by the baskets full for wholesellers to come and buy and take to the big cities and all around the country to sell at the week-day markets all over Thailand .We have two trees in our yard , one I planted and the other is from a seed that the squirrels dropped while stealing them from my tree. I have not yet, in 3 years got to eat one off of my tree , you can see the squirrels come every morning and smell them to see if they are ready to eat and the day I say "I'm going to pick them the next day" ,when I go to pick them, there is not a single one on the tree , its like they can read my mind ,ha ha ha
Now for the more scientific and medicinal uses of the fruit ,leaves ,bark , and the root of the sugar apple tree.
1. the seeds are acrid and poisonous when dryed and crushed and powered it is sometimes applied to the head to kill head lice.
2. if applied to the uterus ,it will induce abortion.
3. in Mexico the leaves are rubbed on the floors and put in the hens nest to repel lice.
4. the oil from the seeds has nbeen used as a substitute for peanut oil in the making of soaps.
5. sometimes in perfumes , giving them a woody and spicy accent.
6. in India the crushed leaves are sniffed to overcome hysteria and fainting spells.
7. crushed leaves are also applied to ulcers and wounds.
8. it is used thru out tropical Americas , for a tonic ,cold remedy,digestive or to clarify the urine.
9. in India crushed fresh fruit is mixed with salt and is applied to tumors.
10. a decoction is also added to bath water to alleviate rheumatic pain.
11. the bark decoction is given as a tonic to halt diarrhea.
WOW I never knew any of that , not that I am going to be trying any of these remedies anytime soon , but who knows as folks are turning more and more to all natural and holistic and alternative medicines, I might even give it(sugar apple tree) a try sometime . I have, and I do at the present time take a herbal tonic daily, and Ciejay and I, use some herbs as a preventive measure. What about you ? do you use or have you ever used a herb or the leaf,bark or tea from a friut tree, for a medical problem?
I hope you have enjoyed this rather long post, and learned something new too, , I know ,I learned a lot of new stuff myself, even if I don't use it for medical purposes, when I eat this wonderful fruit ,that from now on I will think about all its uses and I hope you do too.
The source for a lot of the information about the sugar apple, I found, from NEW CROP resource online program from Purdue University on the http://www.com/
Thanks for the read Malcolm