Hi there!. Finally monsoons are here. But not in my garden. There were some showers may be in other areas of the city, but my garden is still waiting for the monsoons. Yesterday and today, it was completely cloudy and there were just a few drops of rain.
I have a Custard apple tree in my garden. It is also known as Sugar Apple. It is a very hardy tree. Requires very little maintenance and grows in any soil. Pests are almost nil.
It does not grow into a very big tree with huge trunk like mango.
Its fruit are very sweet but with lots of seeds. It is rich in Vitamin C, B and many minerals. It is also known to be rich in calcium. The fruits are available in winter season.
Just have a look at the fruit.
Once the fruit is ripe enough it is very soft to touch. So we can check the fruit and pluck it. It also break opens on ripening.
This is the bud. I never noticed it before, even though I have this tree in my garden for some years now.Here is the flower. I could not take a proper photograph of it as it hangs down and it was very difficult for me to photograph it.
This is specially grown in hilly areas by the tribals. Rather they collect fruits from the jungles where these trees grow in forests of certain regions. Since they are grown naturally with out any human interference like adding of chemical manures etc, they are organic and good for health.
When we are travelling in certain areas, by road we can see the tribals or villagers on the road side selling these fruit. They collect these fruit (unripened) from the nearby forest and put they in bamboo baskets or straw baskets and cover the fruit its leaves. So they ripen slowly and naturally few at a time. We can buy them in dozens, or 50-100 fruits by count or basket fulls. They sell it at a very cheaper rate when compared to our local markets.
We always buy them basket fulls. All our family members love it, so we have to have enough for every one. Moreover when we are travelling and in a group, snacking on these fruits on the road side is fun. Only annoying thing is there are lots of seeds and less flesh. So it is hard work if you want to eat it. Its also messy. But then who is complaining as it is so delicious.
I also love to talk to these people. The men and women are simple and especially the women are so beautiful. But mind you some of them may cheat you.Usually a few bigger fruits are placed on the top and underneath it there may be very small fruits or raw fruits plucked before they have fully developed, which cannot be ripened. So we have to check the fruits in the basket and bargain before buying.
Even when we are travelling by train, we can find these people selling them on train. They board the trains, with baskets loaded with the fruits on their heads from nearby small stations when the train stops for signals or crossings. We have lots of time on train journeys, and generally people like to buy fresh fruit and enjoy them during the journey. I always feel hungry on train journeys and love to snack on these fruits and other healthy snacks sold on the trains or at the stations.
Ice creams, milk shakes, puddings and desserts are made using the flesh of the ripened fruits. I prefer to eat it straight.
On one of my tours travelling by road in Telangana, we stopped at road side on the high way to stretch our feet. I saw a small group of children and women, sitting around piles of twigs and roasting something which smelt so yummy. I was curious and asked one of the children what they where doing? They told me that the make a pit in the ground, put some dry leave and twigs in it, then some raw custard apples plucked from near by forests, cover it with leaves and twigs and light it. The fruit gets cooked in the fire/coal slowly. After it cools down - may be in 2-3 hours time, they recover the fruits peel it and eat it.
The custard apple tree in my garden is in full bloom. In a few days time, we can see tiny fruits on the branches. By Vinayaka Chaturthi (in the months of Aug-Sept) we have small raw fruit. We offer it first to Lord Vinayaka-the Elephant God. Then by winter we have the fruits, ready to eat.
Waiting for the fruits.......