Sitaphal The Custard Apple : Sitaphal, for some strange reasons the name sounded very strange to me and it looked even weirder too. It never appealed to me. So, for a long long time I avoided it. I had first spotted a sitaphal when I had first come to Bombay. When I asked my mom what fruit it is, she replied that she did not know its name. Not surprising, as the fruit is very rare in my home-town.

My dad who had lived in Bombay few years now, explained it to me that it is a sitaphal. He even brought it sometimes, but I was disgusted with its looks, especially its sticky inside. I've lived in Bombay for more than half my life, but in all these years I never tasted this fruit. I saw it everywhere in the market but I simply ignored it.
It was finally last year, around Oct'10, that my neighbour gave me two ripe sitaphals. I could not refuse her, so I took them. Disgusted as I was from the looks of it, I was about to throw them away in the waste bin. However, just before throwing a thought entered my mind, to check and see how it actually tasted. I never really knew how it tasted, and maybe, I was being unnecessarily rude towards this fruit to be passing a judgement without tasting it myself first, I thought.

Anyhow, expecting it to be horrible I took a tiny seed out with its white sticky flesh dripping away. At first, I did not like the taste at all. However, I soon popped another one inside my mouth. Previous reluctance now forgotten. As I started to pop more seeds into my mouth, it didn't seem as repulsive any more like I had previously imagined it to be. Rather, it tasted more like creamy custard, ( from where I assume, it got its name 'custard-apple' ). And I was thoroughly enjoying it. By the time I finished eating both, I was left wondering how on earth did I avoid such a wonderful fruit all my life. How did I knowingly miss/skip such an exotic delight for so long?
Oh!What a waste! I could've eaten thousands of sitaphals althrough my life by now, had I previously knew of its creamy mouth-watering taste. However, after this first tasting of sitaphal I did not immediately get into a buying spree. Though I knew its taste now, and also saw it quite often in the market, I still did not buy one myself, as I was not quite tempted yet.

It was after few more months ( almost a year perhaps ), that I saw a sitaphal-wala with a cart-load of the fruit walking past me. Thinking it would be cheap, I stopped and asked him the price. 70Rs/Kg he said. Hearing that I nearly fainted. I never expected it to cost so much. Anyhow, he was willing to give 2 for Rs.15/- I bought it and as soon as I reached home, both had vanished inside my mouth.

Maybe, the price triggered my lust for it. Because, the more inaccessible this over-priced fruit became, the more I yearned for it. The same fruit-wala who had initially given me 2 for Rs.15, now kept raising its price everyday. It went up to a whopping Rs.35 for 2! ( which meant that a single sitaphal was almost Rs.17 + now).
Senseless, I must say! The same fruit that I had ignored and avoided once for years was now priciest of them all and dug deep into my purse. But I was so addicted to its creamy taste lately, that price simply didn't matter. I just needed the sitaphal everyday. I was not able to live without it.
I loved it totally!It had become my Lust Apple!!

Sitafal An Ode To Thee!!
Sitafal O' Sitafal,
In love with you, you make me fall.
Your ripeness, sweetness and juices more,
Makes me wanna say Te amo.
Sitafal O' Sitafal,
You give me pleasure, joy and ecstacy.
You are my living fantasy.
Sitafal O' Sitafal,
Jealous are they who scream and bitch.
They know not true love like ours which.
Sitafal O' Sitafal,
Fought for you great virtual wars,
Chased your enemies away that ever was.
Sitafal O'Sitafal,
Today, I wanna make a promise to thee.
There ain't gonna any true lover except me.

Song Dedication : Humko mango nahi mangta, humko apple nahi mangta, humko banana ya chikoo nahi mangta. Toh kya mangta?
Sitafal, sitafal humko mangta hai. Sitafal sitafal, yehi hai choice apna sitafal sitafal, yehi to meri jaan hai!

>> Now Seriously, as I'm writing this piece sitaphal has literally vanished from the market and those that are available costs the sky. Let's hope the price comes down and it becomes as abundantly available like it used to. Otherwise sitaphal would surely disappoint its newest fan ( me! )
Read >> Playtime

Some Sitaphal Facts : The epic Ramayana and its characters are part of Indian culture. A certain family of fruits has been honoured with the name of Sita, Rama, and Hanuman. Sitaphal belongs to the annona family of the shrubs. This is a native to South America and the West Indies but now it is grown in India. These are heart shaped or oval and can weigh up to 450 gms.
Sitaphal is known by many names such as ata, sharifa, seethaphalam, custard apple, and sugar apple. Sitaphal is the most famous of the annonas family of fruits. Botanical name for sitaphal is annona squamosa. The fruit is brown or green in colour with small yellowish eye like bulges. The fruit pulp is juicy and creamy. It has a typical buttery and delicate flavour. The fruit contains numerous brownish black seeds.

The other delicious fruits of the same botanical family are Rama phal and Hanuman phal. Hanuman phal is also known as cherimoya. Hanuman phal is cultivated in large scale in India at Karnataka and Andhra. It is large in size and is very delicious and contains fewer seeds than sitaphal and has more buttery pulp.
Bullock`s heart is the other name of ram phal. Bullock`s heart is rarely cultivated in India. Sours sop or prickly custard apples are the largest of this group of fruits. They have dark green skin with thorny bristles covering its entire surface. It is often eaten as a vegetable in south East Asian islands. The pulp forms excellent jelly and is often preserved. Sitaphal is more common in this annona family.

Soursops are also known to be effective fighters of the dreaded disease called Cancer! Read More Here & Here

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