Are you fond of atis fruits? If you don’t know them by that name, you may have encountered them labeled as “sweetsops” or “sugar apples” instead. They have a magnificent flavor and texture, and there just happen to be 8 other fruits like atis that you can enjoy alongside them.
As you may know, atis fruits are also known as “sweetsops“, and they just happen to have cousins called soursops. Now, soursops aren’t sour per se, but have a slightly acidic, citrus-like aftertaste that atis fruits don’t have.
They share a similar creamy, custard-like texture rather like banana pudding, with a flavor somewhere between apple and strawberry. If there’s an Asian grocery store nearby that carries them, please, please try them. They’re wonderful.
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If you love both sweetsops and soursops, you’ll love their cousin the cherimoya too. It’s also part of the Annonaceae family, and is known as the “custard apple” because of its amazing flavor and texture. Mark Twain referred to it as “the most delicious fruit known to men”, and if you’ve ever tasted one, you’ll understand why.
Since this fruit can be found throughout South and Central America, as well as South Asia, Australia, the Mediterranean, North Africa, and southern California, chances are high that you’ll be able to find it at a grocery store near you.
These fruits are also called “star apples” because of the magic that happens when you slice them horizontally. When you cut through their dark purple skin, you’ll unveil beautiful white flesh resplendent with purple-pink starbursts.
Some people also call these “milk apples”, as they create a creamy, milk-like juice when squeezed. The fruits can be eaten raw, or juiced to make a truly magnificent smoothie base.
These armored armadillo fruits are a beautiful deep, rich red, and look like dinosaur or dragon eggs. Inside, they have sweet, juicy flesh that tastes like a mixture of cucumber and apple, but with a creamier texture.
You can find these fresh at Southeast Asian grocery stores, but you may have a more difficult time finding it canned.
5. Rose Apple
The rose apple (Syzygium jambos) is also called “pomarosa” or “jambos“. It grows all over Southeast Asia, but many people worldwide also cultivate it as an ornamental plant. It looks quite a bit like a less-bumpy sweetsop, but the inner flesh is crisp and juicy, like an Asian pear.
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6. Paw Paw
These North American fruits are very close in texture to atis fruits. They have smooth, soft skin, and the flesh inside tastes like banana-vanilla-mango pudding. In fact, they were called pudding or custard fruits by Europeans who colonized the New World.
They’re making a comeback after decades of obscurity, so you might be able to find them at local farmer’s markets.
7. Velvet Apple
Velvet apples are also known as mabolos, and are the fruits of a tree that’s in the ebony family. They look really interesting, as they’re perfectly round, red like apples, but covered with peach-like, velvety skin.
Inside, they have a flavor somewhere between peach, persimmon, and spicy vanilla pudding. If that doesn’t sound gorgeous, what does, really?
The guapple is a fabulous Thai fruit that kind of looks like atis. It has a similar green, bumpy surface, and shares atis’ soft, squidgy texture within as well. Size-wise, they’re somewhere between apples and guavas, with a flavor that’s somewhere between both of them.
You may be able to find these at Asian supermarkets, or else look for them the next time you take a trip overseas.
Which of these fruits like atis have you tried already? And which are at the top of your “I have to put this in my mouth” list?
If you have the option to try many (most?) of these, definitely aim for cherimoyas and soursops first. The others here are spectacular too, but those are particularly wonderful to enjoy. After that, you can branch out and experiment with various flavors and textures in a wide range of preparations.
Here’s a tip: combine a few of them to get a full range of flavors and textures. For example, blend atis and cherimoya into a thick paste to use as the base for a smoothie bowl. Then garnish that with little cut-outs of caimito, and sliced guapple. You’ll be in complimentary flavor heaven.