Choose dark green ones that are quite hard (but avoid any that weigh less than 300g), then let ripen at room temperature over a few days. When ready, they will turn a pale green and give slightly when gently squeezed.
When ripe, store fruit in the fridge for up to 3–5 days. If you like, you can store only the pulp in an airtight container.
Use your hands to gently break apart ripe custard apples – the flesh should be moist with a sweet aroma. Eat as is by scooping out the flesh with a spoon. To use in a recipe, scoop out flesh into a shallow bowl, mash with a fork, then pick out the seeds. Blending the flesh for a few seconds will also make it easier to pick out the seeds.
5 quick ways with custard apples
For a fast dessert, using 1 custard apple per person, blend seedless flesh until smooth, mix with passionfruit (1 per person), then layer in a glass with low-fat vanilla yoghurt. Finish with yoghurt and top with toasted shredded coconut.
Make a refreshing pick-me-up drink: using 1 custard apple per person, blend seedless flesh till smooth, then serve in a tall glass topped with diet ginger ale and 2–3 crushed mint leaves.
Try this for breakfast: toast 2 slices sourdough bread and spread with low-fat ricotta sweetened with a little maple syrup or honey. Top with pieces of custard apple and sprinkle with sugar and cinnamon. Place under a hot grill until sugar turns golden.
Add chopped custard apple to your favourite muesli.
Next time you make a curry, cool it down by serving it with seedless pieces of custard apple tossed in shredded coconut.