6 different kinds of ‘apples’ found in Seychelles
(Gerard Larose, Seychelles Tourism Board)
(Seychelles News Agency) - The well known proverb says ‘an apple a day keeps the doctor away,’ but it doesn't specify which kind of apple.
You see, in Seychelles a tropical group of islands in the western Indian Ocean, there are various fruits with apple in their names, although these fruits are not the apples known and eaten worldwide.
These local apples were once grown in the gardens of many island houses. Today, not all remain as popular as in yesteryear, possibly due to their scarcity on the local market all year round. When they are in season you can buy them at the market in the Seychelles capital Victoria or with local fruit vendors in the districts.
If you’re lucky you might even taste some of them in restaurants.
Health-wise, just as the proverb indicates, they all have great health benefits (unless you are watching your sugar intake).
So whether you are an islander or an upcoming visitor, here are six Seychellois "apples" to sample:
Custard Apple (Ker-d-bef)
Shaped like a heart, hence the Creole name Ker-d-bef, meaning ox-heart, custard apple has a thin but rough skin. The interior is thick-custard-like and granular flesh which surrounds black seeds. When ripe the fruit is to be eaten early but if still green takes 3-4 days to be edible.
Custard apples have many minerals which help the body to form haemoglobin and are great sources of vitamins B and C.
|(kmarkle/Flickr) Photo License: CC BY-SA|
Sugar Apple (Zat)
In the same species as the custard apple, the sugar apple is rounder in shape with a smooth skin and flesh. It has a light sweet fragrance and tastes sweeter. The fruit is edible when ripe. With a cream like flesh, aside from eating raw, it can also be used in smoothies and milk shakes.
Sugar apple is rich in vitamins C more than the orange, calories and iron, and is a good source of nourishment.
|(Joel Abroad/Flickr) Photo License: CC BY-SA|
Golden Apple (frisiter)
No, it’s not the same one as heard in ethnic folk legends and fairy tales.
This is a fruit which is edible even when still raw but can be crunchy and little sour. When ripe, it turns golden in colour and tastes sweet and juicy.
In Seychelles, we love it as chutney in our Creole cuisine and it’s a great accompaniment for our local dishes.
Golden apple is rich in nutrients especially fibre which helps the digestion and bowel movement.
|(Arthur Chapman/Flickr) Photo License: CC BY-SA|
Wax or java apple (zanmalak)
This one comes in many names depending in which part of the world you are.
Like the ones mentioned above, the wax apple does not look like or taste like apple. In fact with liquid-to-flesh ratio it is more comparable to the watermelon. When ripe the fruit looks like a bell hence the name bell fruit in some countries.
The paler or darker the fruits the sweeter they are and while still green it has a tangy taste.
Research of the scope of health benefits of the fruits is still ongoing as preliminary ones have shown an impact on control of blood sugar.
Malay Apple (Ponm lokal)
This tree when in bloom cannot be missed; it’s a delight to the eyes with colourful flowers and red fruits. Usually seen along the road side in Seychelles, the flowers really give the road an interesting allure.
The fruit is crimson in colour and both the skin and the flesh are eaten. It has a juicy, spongy taste and sweetish flavour.
Malay apple can help balance the body’s mineral levels as it has a high amount of phosphorous, calcium and iron.
Considered second to bananas as favorite fruits, they are however harder to find these days in Seychelles, compared to decades ago. Plus they are seasonal, so not available on market throughout the year
It is described as not only a fruit but a composite of little flowers fused to a central core. Although the skin is colourful it is rough, tough and spiny.
The flesh though is worth all the troubles, exceptionally juicy and sweet, it also has a vibrant flavour which makes it great for cocktails and milkshakes.
Pineapple is high in protein and good for the digestion but if you have sensitive mouth take care as it can cause irritation.
|(Peter Corbett/Flickr) Photo License: CC BY-SA|