Sugar-apple (น้อยหน่า)

(sweetsop, Annona squamosa)

This green thing doesn’t look attractive, right? But don’t make a mistake neglecting this fruit: sugar-apples are very tasty. It’s kind of nature’s contrast – extravagant dragon fruit has plain flavor while sugar-apple is a modest looking delicacy.

Taste of sugar-apple

Annona has bright sweet taste and tender fruity aroma. The flesh of sugar-apple is soft and juicy; it consists of segments with a seed in each. When you peel the fruit, it will seem that sugar-apple is coated with sugar crystals.

As for me sugar-apple has nothing to do with apples – neither by taste nor by consistence. Sweetsop flavor reminds more of pineapple and strawberry, but I’ve got no idea how to describe it’s taste. That’s why I highly recommend tasting, sugar-apple is definitely worth it.

Unripe sugar-apple is almost tasteless and crispy as a carrot. Such fruit usually arrive to exotic fruit sections of non-tropical countries (like Russia). The reason is simple – ripe sugar-apples are too tender to stand long delivery. The same thing happens to other species of Annona family, like cherimoya and soursop.

Cherimoya – the same structure but slightly different look

How to choose, transport & store

Choosing ripe sugar-apple, check its rind – there should be no rotted segments. Note that ripe fruit can’t be stored for a long time, one should rather eat sugar-apples the same or the next day. Avoid buying these fruit in advance.

Sugar-apples are fragile, so one should carry them as careful as one carries a cake. Never put something on sugar-apples, otherwise on you arrival to hotel you’ll get a mash out of them.

It’s a difficult thing to bring sugar-apples back home. First of all one should wrap them with something soft and transport it as hand luggage in kind of a box or a basket that will protect tender fruit.

Sweetsops on tree
Sugar-apple tree

How to eat sugar-apple

Peel sugar-apple – it’s simple, green segments will easily come off the fruit. Probably this is the reason why sugar-apples are mostly sold unpeeled in Thailand. Only the flesh is edible. One should eat sweetsop next to any water source (sea, tap etc), to have possibility to wash the juice off hands and face.

Seeds of sugar-apple are toxic, avoid swallowing them.

Annona inside

When and where to buy

Sugar-apples are for sale in Thailand all year round and you will find them in most of fruit markets and hypermarkets. The price starts from 35 THB per 1 kg. The size affects the price (though it doesn’t affect the taste) – the bigger the more expensive.

Sugar-apple on branch

Source of pictures without FalkTime watermark – Wikipedia. Authors: Hannes Grobe and Muhammad Mahdi Karim.


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Spelling error report

The following text will be sent to our editors: