07 Jul2005

Atis / Sugar Apple

by Marketman

Atis is just starting to reach the local markets. atis1 Atis (Annona squamosa) or Sugar Apple is part of the Annonaceae family that includes the more commonly known cherimoya in the west, guyabano or soursop and surprisingly, the ilang-ilang tree. It is actually not known where the atis is indigenous to but they grow in abundance throughout Central and South America. The Spaniards brought seeds to the Philippines in the early 17th century and the local name hails from the Aztec “ahate” according to Doreen Fernandez’s book on Philippine fruit. The tree is relatively small and bears just a few dozen fruit when left to its own devices. But the fruit can be heaven, hundreds of seeds inside are coated with a soft sugary pulp or meat that tastes like a super sweet custard. The seeds can be a pain in the neck but if you enter an atis zen mode prior to breaking one open, you learn to work the seeds to get at the wonderful pulp.

Atis does not travel very well and ripens atis2rapidly so it isn’t an export type fruit. When there is atis, there is a lot of atis. Last weekend I got some of the first ones to reach the market and paid a whopping PHP120 a kilo. But after 1-2 days left on the dining table they were ripe and super sweet. For some reason, atis tastes much better when served nice and cold. Place in the refrigerator at least 3-4 hours before eating. I have only eaten this fruit as is, never cooked or part of another dish. Atis seeds, by the way, are poisonous and you shouldn’t swallow them. Worse, if they are dried and powdered, the powder can be used as a poison for catching fish, or as insecticides or my best find in terms of use: to remove lice from your hair. But be careful as the powder can cause blindness!



  1. jaili says:

    never new of the seeds’ poisonous property. considereing when i was a child, i remember swollowing some!!! thanks for the info!!!

    Jul 7, 2005 | 6:36 am


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  3. schatzli says:

    This is like going to science class MM Iused to swallow the seeds.
    and actually I have forgotten this fruit and today is another memory down the lane..

    Atis sherbet???

    Jul 7, 2005 | 3:35 pm

  4. Anupama says:

    In India we call it Custard Apple. The white pulp can be used to make a delicious icecream.

    Jul 7, 2005 | 5:24 pm

  5. Karen says:

    Oh, our local sorbeteros in Pampanga do make it into atis ice cream (sublime!) and we also know it as custard apple! Makes you wonder how much patience it takes to de-seed kilos of it.

    Off topic: Marketman, you’ve been tagged for the cookbook meme. See my latest entry. Please show us a part of your legendary library of food lit!

    Jul 8, 2005 | 7:55 am

  6. Marketman says:

    Yup, also known as custard apple, particularly for English speakers on the Indian sub-continent. Come to think of it I think I have tasted atis ice cream… but I don’t recall it much! Karen, will give everyone a cookbook update soon!

    Jul 8, 2005 | 6:54 pm

  7. Vane says:

    is there any use for the peelings of this atis??
    please post if so…

    Aug 4, 2005 | 7:24 pm

  8. Marketman says:

    Vane, I am not aware of any uses for the peel of atis. We normally just throw it out. If other readers know otherwise, please leave a comment. Thanks.

    Aug 4, 2005 | 7:56 pm

  9. ms.bera says:

    yeah,youre ryt dat atis or sugar apple can rid lice on your head bt is there any studies that could prove that it can cause blindness if the powderized seeds will enter to your eyes?or is it already proven?

    Aug 17, 2005 | 3:11 pm

  10. Marketman says:

    There is some decent reading material from the Purdue University site I think on the possible effects of the misuse of different fruits… I suppose it is based on the chemical contents…and frankly, I wouldn’t want to test it on myself.

    Aug 17, 2005 | 5:12 pm

  11. janet says:

    I ate large quantities of the cusard apple ground up in a smoothies in Jamaica, got very sick and now 4 weeks later still unwell. Anyone got any advice as to who to contact or symptoms as no-one seems to to have eaten them before

    Mar 9, 2006 | 5:59 am

  12. Marketman says:

    janet, the seeds of custard apples can be poisonous so if those were included in the smoothies that might be a potential problem area. Also, is it possible that it wasn’t the custard apples itself but the preparation of it or parasites or worms that were on the skin or in the fruit? I hate to gross you out but custard apples are notorious for attracting insects and bugs precisely because they are so sweet… best to see a doctor really, maybe a check for intestinal parasites or amoebas mike make sense… BUT, I am not a doctor so don’t take this as medical advise…

    Mar 9, 2006 | 12:42 pm

  13. gretel says:

    wheew!! i have this difficulty of searching on how to make an atis seed oil..! u know i have to demostrate it in 3 days time… anyone can help me? =) thanks…=)

    Sep 22, 2006 | 4:12 pm

  14. kathleen says:

    i’ve gather enough info in your article..thnx!..it helped me much in my science investigatory project..great!..

    Feb 20, 2007 | 7:15 pm

  15. kathleen says:

    mmm..i and my groupmates have a research proj. about the production of biodiesel..my question is,mmm..can the seeds of atis be a good source of biodiesel?..pls..we need help..thnx a lot!..

    Feb 20, 2007 | 7:23 pm

  16. kathleen says:

    ahm..if atis’ seeds are poisonous,what are its chemical contents,by the way?..if you know something ’bout it,pls. post it..thnx!!!..

    Feb 20, 2007 | 7:31 pm

  17. Ted says:

    Kathleen, even if it came out as a good source of bio-diesel, there won’t be enough to produce it commercially, imagine, cultivating an atis tree takes about 3-5 years to fruit, then each tree would only yield maybe a few dozen fruit. You will need the whole Luzon or the whole Philippines planted with this tree in order to produce the biodiesel you would need to juice up our jeepneys.

    On the other had look at the corn and soybeans, they are already being produced in abundance, but even they are not enough to produce enough biodiesel to power up our millions and millions of cars.

    It’s already been proven that you can produce biodiesel from used vegetable oils such us peanut, canola, soy, coconut,etc.. from burger shops, Why not reseach a way to produce biodiesel out of recycled oils from other waste by-products.

    Feb 27, 2007 | 7:22 am

  18. Joy says:

    wow thanks for the info! i didnt know the seeds were poisonous and to that affect too! here i know em as buah srikaya. i dont remember tasting any but will hv to buy some soon to try. thanks! =D

    Mar 1, 2007 | 8:31 pm

  19. RiZZALYN says:

    hEY mAKETMAN, CAN i ASK SOMETHING ABOUT THE CONTENT OF THE ATIS SEEDS THAT it can be utilized as an insecticide? I want it to be my investigatory project this yr. thanks.(^^,)

    Apr 27, 2007 | 4:28 pm

  20. RiZZALYN says:

    Pls. reply sooner po. thank you very much if ever u know something about it..

    Apr 27, 2007 | 4:31 pm

  21. Marketman says:

    Rizzalyn, I have no idea what is in the seeds of atis that can be used as insecticide. I suggest you do more primary research from reliable sources rather than surfing the net if you are doing a serious scientifc study…

    Apr 27, 2007 | 9:03 pm

  22. Lawrence says:

    I never Knew that atis seeds are poisonous, Me and my groupmates are about to plan to use atis seeds in our gruop project to make a shampoo out of it. Thanks ^_^

    Jul 24, 2007 | 6:57 pm

  23. khriz becher edosma says:

    ei, as in ipapagrind po ung seeds??? kz po ang tagal ko ng nagreresearch about atis pero di ko pa rin alam yung mismong nakukuha dun para maging insecticide eh… kelangan ko po sa investigatory project ko… thanks!!!

    Jul 30, 2007 | 2:17 pm

  24. khriz becher edosma says:

    anu po ba yung talagang nakakapatay ng insects??? yung toxin or yung non-drying oil??? thank you po… as effective po ba yun ng mga commercial insecticides???

    Jul 30, 2007 | 2:19 pm

  25. Marketman says:

    khriz, do some primary research and scientific study, I don’t know the answer to your questions…

    Jul 30, 2007 | 2:56 pm

  26. khriz becher edosma says:

    thank you po…

    Jul 31, 2007 | 2:30 pm

  27. khriz becher edosma says:

    uy kung sino man po gusto tumulong… pakipost na lang yung answer niyo… thanks, love you all!!!

    Jul 31, 2007 | 2:33 pm

  28. debbie says:

    paano po ba gagawing insect repellant yung oil ng seeds ng atis?yun lang po thank you po.

    Aug 20, 2007 | 8:58 am

  29. antonette says:

    if seeds are poisonous,what are its chemical content?

    Aug 26, 2007 | 12:27 pm

  30. paul z. estella says:

    hi, can u email me on how to prepare the seed oil.. i need it for our thesis. thanks

    Sep 7, 2007 | 12:27 pm

  31. Marketman says:

    paul, do some real research, particularly if it is for something as critical as your thesis. Surfing the net alone and asking others to do your homework isn’t going to yield a very good paper…

    Sep 7, 2007 | 1:15 pm

  32. shieLa May says:

    paul, do some real research, particularly if it is for something as critical as your thesis. Surfing the net alone and asking others to do your homework isn’t going to yield a very good paper…

    Sep 12, 2007 | 3:00 pm

  33. simon(classmate n khriz) says:

    Mr. Marketman……… what are the chemical contents of atis???????????

    Sep 15, 2007 | 9:33 am

  34. lhedy says:

    ano poh b pwede mging product from atis??????

    Sep 19, 2007 | 10:16 pm

  35. julien laxamana says:

    Actually,I’m researching about the nutrient content of the atis’s seeds.I need thus information to make my thesis research…

    Oct 11, 2007 | 3:54 pm

  36. mitch says:

    what was the content of atis juice which can cure the infected insect bites?

    Nov 4, 2007 | 10:10 am

  37. jen says:

    uhm.. tnx 4 d gr8 info.. i will make it as my investigatory p roj. .. atis as insecticide but it seems it is already taken… but tnx anyway!

    Nov 8, 2007 | 8:26 pm

  38. nikki reyes says:

    can i know the chemicals that makes the seeds poisonous,because our research proposal is about anti lice paste using atis seeds..and our adviser wants us to discover the compounds found in the atis seed…tnx..i’m hoping for your reply..

    Nov 10, 2007 | 10:20 am

  39. nikki reyes says:

    pls. email me about the poisonous substance of the seeds..nikki_reyes_19@yahoo.com..tnx!

    Nov 10, 2007 | 10:22 am

  40. cristylyn arroyo says:

    is it true that atis leaves when boiled and drink is a cure for diabetes?my husband is drinking it and his eyes is not that blurred anymore,(according to him.)his right eye had been affected by diabetes

    Nov 12, 2007 | 6:14 pm

  41. nursing students says:

    We just want to ask…in treating head lice, how many days should be the effective treatment? and if it exceeds these no. of days, what are the possible side effects or complications?

    Dec 4, 2007 | 8:07 pm

  42. Noel bangnaz says:

    i really am amazed dun sa article ninyo… gagamitin ko din po for my investigagtory proj. yan, it really helped me a lot… thanks po ng madami. (=

    Jan 4, 2008 | 8:52 pm

  43. rheadel fulgencio says:

    thanks for the info!!!!!i learned a lot

    Jan 5, 2008 | 2:18 pm

  44. jp flores says:

    is it true that when the leaves of the atis plant is boiled can serve as a treatment for diarrhea? would anyone here know the alkaloid constituent of the leaves that would give it this therapeutic property?

    Jan 16, 2008 | 1:07 am

  45. Lyka says:

    can I ask a question.. we are doing our investigatory project and we need how can the atis powder remove the lice from your head..

    Mar 3, 2008 | 7:43 pm

  46. Marketman says:

    Lyka, sorry, I don’t know, and this is a food blog, not a lice blog. Thanks.

    Mar 3, 2008 | 8:44 pm

  47. paula says:

    ahhm anu po ba ang pwde png gwin sa atis..
    nid ko po kc para sa thesis namen…
    tnx po…

    Jun 16, 2008 | 7:01 pm

  48. Marketman says:

    paula, I suggest you do some real research, not ask for advice on the net. Particularly if it is for something as serious as a thesis.

    Jun 16, 2008 | 8:56 pm

  49. marian says:

    pwd po bang maging repellant ang any part ng atis. plz answer my question. magpapas n po kami nxt wik wla p aqng topic. tnx. godbless”,

    Jul 28, 2008 | 2:33 pm

  50. Mark says:

    “What nutrients does the atis seeds have? I need it for our science investigatoey project! Please help me immediatly! Does the atis’ seeds had an ability to kill lices on our head? why?!!!!!!!!!

    Sep 1, 2008 | 6:07 pm

  51. tina says:

    we’re going to do an investigatory project and i’m just wondering if you can help me how to do the atis oil something thank you and godbless :)

    Sep 10, 2008 | 5:25 pm

  52. jean vine says:

    is there any anti cancer property found in atis peelings / tnx

    Sep 16, 2008 | 3:36 pm

  53. Glenn says:

    Marketman, could you please tell me what to do with the seeds so that it can be used as an insecticide. Could you also tell me what chemicals or properties in the seed that makes it an insecticide. Please. I need someones help!

    Nov 5, 2008 | 9:32 am

  54. nicole says:

    MARKETMAN, it is safe to use atis shampoo – headlice killer??

    Nov 8, 2008 | 6:34 pm

  55. Marketman says:

    nicole, I don’t know, have you considered testing it on yourself? I wish folks would do their own homework and research instead of imploring folks like me to answer their scientific questions… got it? And may allah and buddha together with vishnu and shiva illuminate your path to scientific enlightenment.

    Nov 8, 2008 | 8:40 pm

  56. rhea tan says:


    tnx 4 some of ur informations….

    im a student and we need to hve a research paper… our research is about to extract the atis seeds ang make a biofuel…

    but our team has no background knowledge on how to extract the atis seeds…

    can u pls give us sme idea on how to do..

    bcoz we rily nid it..

    as soon as possible…


    ur help in our research is vry important…

    thanx and more power..!!

    Dec 6, 2008 | 7:50 pm

  57. lichejen says:

    Yeah, I think I just accidentally might have blended up an atemoya seed in my smoothie; the texture was horrible, and I feel strange…

    And yes, people should do their own homework, or at least just use google.

    Dec 14, 2008 | 9:10 am

  58. irene says:

    hai…..>>>?????how are you….may i know what are the importance of atis fruit???please answer my question…

    Feb 27, 2009 | 12:26 pm

  59. Andrea says:

    I’m having one right now… mmmmm yum! lol

    Jun 11, 2009 | 8:06 pm

  60. gerald says:

    is that atis seeds can cure a skin desease?
    please state to me,i need that in my IP

    Jun 29, 2009 | 4:15 pm

  61. mikee lacanlale says:

    hi mr. MARKETMAN can i ask a question?
    is it true that powdered atis seeds can cause blindness?
    what are the chemical contents of it that can cause blindness?
    i have already tried it for lice removal.
    it is effective but i don`t know if it is true that it can cause blindness.
    can u help me mr. MARKETMAN?
    I am just curious about it.

    Jul 12, 2009 | 12:06 am

  62. Akira says:

    can i just ask something? how can i extract oil from the atis seeds? :D thanks.

    Aug 2, 2009 | 10:42 pm

  63. kHaiLey.. says:

    what do u call the oil produced by atis seeds??

    ans. plEaze..

    Aug 22, 2009 | 10:51 pm

  64. lourrie says:

    hey there… i’ve read that you’ve discovered how atis’ seeds when powderized can become lice repellant.. can you give me a copy on how you did your “little experiment”? i’d appreciate it much… thanks :)

    Aug 24, 2009 | 10:24 pm

  65. haze says:

    nah!!may nka gawa na insecticide out of atis??

    Sep 13, 2009 | 4:15 pm


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