Enjoy a taste of the exotic
Custard apple farmers share some sweet news
FOLLOWING a warm summer and a burst of rain in March, this season’s custard apples are at their prime and ready for eating. Growers have announced a bumper crop of the full-flavoured, creamy and vitaminrich fruit, which is now available in stores. The perfect way to add a tropical touch to autumn and winter dishes, this exotic green-skinned fruit flourishes with the help of the lunar moon. They have a surprising fresh and creamy texture that is well-suited to sweet dishes or simply enjoyed torn or cut apart as a snack. Despite all key-growing regions, from Mareeba in Far North Queensland to Lismore in Northern NSW, being battered by Mother Nature in the wake of Cyclone Debbie, there was still plenty of fruit on the trees that withstood damage. Custard apple grower Patti Stacey in Alstonville, NSW, says farmers are very grateful for the support they’ve received and that any fruit that weathered the storms is still perfect on the inside. “Thankfully, our orchards are in the hills so fruit remained protected from the floods, and we’d already grown a healthy crop – almost 50% bigger than last year. “The rain in our area has brought the custard apples to peak a bit earlier this year, so there’s lots of fruit around right now, and the hot summer made them super-sweet. “If you’re enjoying custard apples for the first time, it’s a good idea to pick fruit that’s pale green and firm. You can then let them ripen in your fruit bowl at home and, similar to avocados, ripe custard apples will give slightly when squeezed.” Patti’s favourite ways to enjoy her delicious custard apples are as a side dish for curries, an accompaniment to cheese or fresh on top of a salad. Pick up a custard apple from now until September from your local supermarket and greengrocer.