Sugar apple is native to the tropical and subtropical parts of Latin America and the West Indies, most of which are in the low altitude areas. The fruit was introduced to Taiwan by Dutch colonialists about 400 years ago. Sugar apple goes by various names, including Buddha’s head and custard apple. In Taiwan, it has been called the foreign litchi or Sakya. The name of foreign litchi comes from the fact that the unripe fruits look like litchi and it was from a foreign country. As for its second Taiwanese name - which is more commonly used nowadays, people call it Sakya or Buddha's head, because one variety resembles the top part of Sakyamuni's head.
Although the fruit is not native to Taiwan, Taiwan has become the largest sugar apple cultivating country in the world. Sugar apple is grown in southern Taiwan in Kaohsiung, Pingtung and Taitung counties. Among them, Taitung is the largest production area in Taiwan. In Taiwan, the fruit can be harvested from July to February.
There are 10 major types of sugar apple currently grown in Taitung. Among them, Tamali Damu sugar-apple and Beinan pineapple sugar-apple are the two most popular varieties.
Sugar apple is high in protein and carbohydrates and rich in calcium, vitamin C, phosphorus, potassium and magnesium. The fruit is also high in calories; one sugar apple is equal to half a serving of white rice, which contains about 141 calories. Therefore, eating the fruit as a dessert is a healthy way to feel full without actually eating too big of a meal.
Some Simple Tips：
1.Picking sugar apple
Choose sugar apple that are round with yellow grooves and big scales of the skin. Consumers are advised to buy those that are intact without ruptures , pests damage or spots caused by insecticide. Fruits that feature thick flesh and smooth skin are recommended.
2.Storing sugar apple
Keep them in a cool place for three to five days after harvesting. To check if it's ripe enough to eat, gently press the skin and see if it is soft. Wait until the fruit finishes ripening and turns fully soft before storing it in the refrigerator. Sugar apple tastes cool and sweet after being stored in the refrigerator. The ripe flesh of the fruit can be put in a food container and then stored in the refrigerator for up to 30 days. During the summer time, it tastes just like natural ice cream.