High-Quality Sugar Apple
Fruitful and Wonderful
With the hot weather and sufficient sunshine in its southern region,Taitung produces the best quality and the sweetest sugars apples in Taiwan.
It always takes some time for sugar apples to ripen. They seem to need special care, like touching and squeezing every now and then for the purpose of softening their tough green outer skin and to show their white flesh. Ripe sugar apples are delicious and sweet. In a bite, you will experience milky and honey-like tropical sweet taste. After waggling around in the mouth with your tongue and lips to eat the flesh, a piece of seed will come out. That’s the fun of eating sugar apples!
Taitung County is the largest cultivation area for sugar apples in Taiwan. During the harvest season, driving through the Beinan, Jhihben, Taimali areas along Provincial Highway No. 9, you will see baskets of sugar apples sold along the street. Gravel ground has good drainage, making it a great environment for growing sugar apples. With the hot weather and sufficient sunshine in its southern region, Taitung produces the best quality and the sweetest sugars apples in Taiwan.
Originating in Central and South America, sugar apples were introduced into Taiwan during the period of Dutch occupation and its earliest cultivation area was in Tainan. To date, it has 400 years of history already. Because sugar apples were introduced by a "barbarian country", [Translation note: Taiwanese people back then considered foreigners as barbarians because at that time, such foreigners colonized Taiwan], and they look like litchi, they were also called "barbarian litchi." In the early years, Taiwan produced very few sugar apples. The reason was because sugar apples are harvested in summer. Although they tasted sweet and delicious, they became ripe too fast and were unable to sustain the process of storage and transport. Therefore, there was no market value and they were normally planted as fruit trees in home gardens. It was not until the 1980s that there became a bigger scale of cultivation.
Before this, no one cultivated sugar apples in Taitung. Before 1977, oranges and pineapples were the main fruits grown for profit in the area. One summer, a typhoon hit Taitung and some of the branches from sugar apple trees were broken. Farmers accidentally found out that buds started to grow from broken branches, where flowers bloomed and fruits grew. To their surprise, the resultant fruits were bigger and sweeter than before. With this new discovery, farmers started to study the techniques for pruning and to find ways to bear fruit during the winter season.
Good sugar apples are round and big, without any trace of pests in the appearance. In addition, delicious sweet apples have a creamy white color between protuberances, which most of the time will be covered with fruit powder. Due to typhoons and pests in summer, sugar apples tend to taste better and healthier in winter.
The nutritional value of sugar apples is very high. They are rich in protein, carbohydrates and vitamin C, potassium, calcium, magnesium, phosphorus, etc. Sugar apples contain high potassium, even higher than bananas, which makes it good for preventing high blood pressure. A sugar apple contains about the same calories as a half bowl of rice. It can quickly replenish energy. Even if someone does not have enough rice, but some sugar apples can prevent low blood sugar or lack of energy. Because of the richness found in vitamin C, it's good for skincare and enhancement of immunity. Sugar apple is one of the indispensable fruits for people in Taiwan.
Sugar apples have the same characteristic that a tropical fruit has, in that they need to stay in places with good ventilation. If it was put into a sealed plastic bag before ripening, the fruit will suffocate and will not continue to ripen. Therefore, right after purchasing sugar apples, the correct way to preserve them is to remove the package right away at home and leave them in a well-ventilated area. Or after they are ripened, the pulp can be taken out and put in the fridge, which will make them taste even better. One special attention is that the unripe sugar apples should not be put in the fridge. Otherwise they will not become ripe at all, even when at room temperature again. They will harden, and the Taiwanese call these "dumb sugar apples."