Help me buy sugar apples.
March 19, 2010 11:28 AM   Subscribe

Where can I buy or order pinha fruit AKA "sugar apples" in the United States, specifically Massachusetts?

My wife recently returned from a trip to Brazil where she ate a fruit the locals called "pinha" or fruta-do-conde. A little research revealed that it is the fruit of the Annona squamosa plant, commonly known as the "sugar apple" in English.

She described the fruit as amazing - perhaps the best she's ever eaten. That's strong praise, and now I want to try some. Short of going to Brazil myself, how can we find sugar apples here in the United States?

I'm happy to order them online or purchase them locally (Boston area).
posted by fremen to Food & Drink (7 answers total)
Completely unhelpful, but I've only ever seen them for sale in Chinatown in NYC (and even then, sporadically).
posted by soma lkzx at 12:06 PM on March 19, 2010

Slightly unhelpful, but I think these are chermoya / custard apples aren't they? In which case they're reasonably widely available in UK supermarkets, which makes me suspect they must be at least as available in major US metropolitan areas.
posted by bifter at 12:33 PM on March 19, 2010

I know those as custard apples, and your wife is right, it is a stunningly delicious fruit. To my knowledge, it's seasonal, so you'll have to be vigilant.

I've bought them at Indian stores before - try any of the ones along Moody Street in Waltham.

Not the same thing as fresh, but try custard apple ('sitafal' in the Indian stores) ice-cream also
posted by darsh at 1:04 PM on March 19, 2010

Yes, they're cherimoya - try Whole Foods. You can also order them online.
posted by judith at 1:36 PM on March 19, 2010 [1 favorite]

I think there may be some differences between the fruit you linked to and cherimoya, but they're very closely related, so I imagine the taste wouldn't be very different. Additionally, I wouldn't be surprised if they get listed as the same in some places. I've definitely seen cherimoya on sale in Chinatown, but, as others have mentioned, it's a seasonal thing.
posted by Diagonalize at 1:45 PM on March 19, 2010

We do grow cherimoyas in California. They are wonderful, but delicate and don't transport or keep well. You may be able to get them at this time of year. It's a bit late, I think. If you find some, it's likely that they'll be a bit mushy, mealy or bruised. If you get them and they are less marvelous than you expect, then it's probably a transportation issue.
posted by 26.2 at 9:34 AM on March 20, 2010

Just to follow-up, we ended up ordering some organic cherimoyas from California. According to my wife, they are very similar to the pinha fruit she had, although not exactly the same. I suspect they're either a different cultivar or closely related species. However, the pinhas were apparently "pulpier" and less citrusy. It's also possible the pinhas were simply fresher because they were more local.

That said, the cherimoyas were a fantastic fruit. Without a doubt, they were one of the most delicious pieces of fruit I've ever had, so no complaints from me. If they weren't so expensive, I would definitely order more.
posted by fremen at 4:44 PM on March 28, 2010

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