Atis / Sugar Apple

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!


64 Responses

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

  2. 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???

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

  4. 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!

  5. 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!

  6. 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.

  7. 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?

  8. 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.

  9. 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

  10. 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…

  11. 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…=)

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

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

  14. 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.

  15. 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

  16. 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.(^^,)

  17. 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…

  18. 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 ^_^

  19. 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!!!

  20. 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???

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

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

  23. 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…

  24. 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…

  25. 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!

  26. 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..

  27. 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

  28. 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?

  29. 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. (=

  30. 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?

  31. 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..

  32. 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.

  33. 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”,

  34. “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?!!!!!!!!!

  35. 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 :)

  36. 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!

  37. 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.

  38. hi…

    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..!!

  39. 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.

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

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

  42. 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.

  43. 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 :)

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