The custard-apple is the fruit of the tree Annona reticulata. This tree is a small deciduous or semi-evergreen tree.The fruits are variable in shape, heart shaped, oblong or irregular. The size ranges from 7 centimetres to 12 centimetres. The skin or covering of custard apple is thin but tough, which is usually yellow or brownish when ripe. Beneath the thin covering, a thick, cream-white layer of custard like, granular, flesh is present, which surrounds seeds. The flavor of the fruit is sweet and agreeable.When ripe, the fruit is brown or yellowish, with red highlights and a varying degree of reticulation, depending on variety. The flavor is sweet and pleasant.The fruits are tasty and nutritious.
Custard Apples provide a well balanced food source with ample protein, minerals, vitamins, energy and essential fibre. Vitamins A and C are vital for healthy skin, eyes, hair and body tissues. They battle those elements which age and destroy our cells. Magnesium is nature’s tranquiliser. It helps cleanse our systems, improves endurance and our ability to process oxygen and body-building amino.
Nutritional Value of Custard Apple Given below is nutritional value per 100 gm of custard apple
Thiamine (B1) – 0.05 to 0.08 mg
Vitamin A -1 mg
Riboflavin (B2) – 0.08 to 0.1 mg
Natural Sugar – 14 to 18 gm
Niacin (B3) – 0.5 to 0.8 mg
Carbohydrate – 23.71 gm
Iron – 0.7mg
Total Acidity – 0.4 mg
Energy – 76 to 96 cal (310 to 420 kJ)
Protein – 1 to 4.3 gm
Zinc – 0.2 to 2.7mg
Magnesium – 32 to 88 mg
Copper – 2.4mg
Potassium – 250 to 578 mg
Sodium – 4 to 14 mg
Calcium – 17 to 22 mg
Vitamin C – 22 to 43 mg
Fibre – 1 to 3.2 g
Total Soluble Solids (Brix) – 22.3%
Food Value Per 100 g of Edible Portion*
Moisture 68.3-80.1 g
Protein 1.17-2.47 g
Fat 0.5-0.6 g
Carbohydrates 20-25.2 g
Crude Fiber 0.9-6.6 g
Ash 0.5-1.11 g
Calcium 17.6-27 mg
Phosphorus 14.7-32.1 mg
Iron 0.42-1.14 mg
Carotene 0.007-0.018 mg
Thiamine 0.075-0.119 mg
Riboflavin 0.086-0.175 mg
Niacin 0.528-1.190 m
Ascorbic Acid 15.0-44.4 mg
Nicotinic Acid 0.5 mg
Health & Nutrition Benefits of Eating Custard Apple
Custard apple is a storehouse of Vitamin C, which is an anti-oxidant and helps in neutralizing free radicals.
Vitamin A present in the fruit is good for hair, eyes and healthy skin.
Custard apple contains magnesium, which plays vital role in relaxing muscles and protecting heart against diseases.
Potassium and Vitamin B6 are also present in custard apple.
Copper is yet another useful ingredient of custard apple.
It is a rich source of dietary fiber, which helps in digestion.
As it contains low fat levels, it is good for maintaining optimum health.
The paste of the flesh of the fruit can be used for local application on ulcers, abscesses and boils.
The fruit, in its unripe form, can be dried, crushed and used for treating diarrhea and dysentery.
Custard apple serves as an expectorant, stimulant, coolant and haematinic and is even useful in treating anemia.
The seeds of the fruit have insecticidal and abortifacient properties. The seeds are so hard that they may be swallowed whole with no ill effects but the kernels are very toxic. The seeds, leaves and young fruits are insecticidal. The leaf juice kills lice. The bark contains 0.12% anonaine. Injection of an extract from the bark caused paralysis in a rear limb of an experimental toad. Sap from cut branches is acrid and irritant and can severely injure the eyes. The root bark has yielded 3 alkaloids: anonaine, liriodenine and reticuline (muricinine).
Medicinal Uses: The leaf decoction is given as a vermifuge. Crushed leaves or a paste of the flesh may be poulticed on boils, abscesses and ulcers. The unripe fruit is rich in tannin; is dried, pulverized and employed against diarrhea and dysentery. The bark is very astringent and the decoction is taken as a tonic and also as a remedy for diarrhea and dysentery. In severe cases, the leaves, bark and green fruits are all boiled together for 5 minutes in a liter of water to make an exceedingly potent decoction. Fragments of the root bark are packed around the gums to relieve toothache. The root decoction is taken as a febrifuge.
Other Uses :The leaves have been employed in tanning and they yield a blue or black dye. A fiber derived from the young twigs is superior to the bark fiber from Annona squamosa. Custard apple wood is yellow, rather soft, fibrous but durable, moderately close-grained, with a specific gravity of 0.650. It has been used to make yokes for oxen.