Monday, March 16, 2009

Atis or Sugar Apple

Sugar-apple is high in calories and rich in iron. In the Philippines, the fruit is commonly eaten by the bat (kabog, local term) which then spreads the seeds from island to island. In fact, there is a company in the Philippines that produces sugar-apple wine.

The ripe sugar apple is usually broken open and the flesh segments enjoyed while the hard seeds are separated in the mouth and spat out. It is so luscious that it is well worth the trouble.

Its seeds are acrid and poisonous (huh! I didn't know that!). Powdered seeds, also pounded dried fruits serve as fish poison and insecticides in India. A paste of the seed powder has been applied to the head to kill lice but must be kept away from the eyes as it is highly irritant and can cause blindness. If applied to the uterus, it induces abortion.


Anyway, we have a sugar apple tree near our kitchen. I always remember Mom always use the leaf decoction to treat cough. She also uses the leaf to treat swollen areas of the body due to sprain. I always hate the sugar apple tree (as much as I love the fruit) because it is always a haven for caterpillars. It is a fact that sugar apple tree is a host plant for larvae of the butterfly Graphium agamemnon (Tailed Jay). Yes I am a wimp! I am scared of caterpillars.


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