Atis is one of those fruits that people would hesitate to eat because of their lumpy skin. But once eaten you’ll get hook. Not only it is sweet, it taste more or less like custard hence the name custard apple.
Atis is native to tropical Americas like Colombia and El Salvador then spread into India, Bangladesh, Pakistan and the Philippines.
The tree grows up to 20 ft. high with evergreen leaves. It will bear fruit in a year or so. The flowers are sweet smelling just like its relative Ylang Ylang which is famous in perfume industry.
The fruit is sweet with white creamy flesh and segmented. Each segment has black seeds inside and should not be eaten because they are toxic. In fact, all the parts of the tree including the leaves of atis are used in making pesticides for different types of pests in the garden.
The fruit which has bumpy skin is related to soursop (guayabano) and anonas. In Taiwan, they have developed a hybrid they call Atemoya or Cherimoya. They are bigger in size and the skin is more like the soursop. Australia has been growing this hybrid and exporting it worldwide.
Atis in the Philippines is seasonal and eaten fresh right away. They don’t store very well.
I enjoyed eating atis when I was growing up because I can pick it up from the tree since they are not that tall and then I would wrap it in newspaper for a day or so till you feel the give when you touch it. My grandparents have all kinds of fruit trees in their backyard including Atis tree.
Atis is not only good to eat. It is also good for you health wise. It is a good source of Vitamins C and B vitamins and beta carotene and minerals such as calcium, and iron.