Friday, October 02, 2015

Word of the Day -- Achta

The atemoya is a hybrid of two fruits – the sugar-apple and the cherimoya  – which are both native to the American tropics. This fruit is popular in Taiwan, where it is known as the "pineapple sugar apple", so is sometimes wrongly believed to be a cross between the sugar-apple and the pineapple. In Cuba, this fruit is called anón, and in Venezuela chirimorinon. In Palestine and Lebanon, the fruit is called achta.

This is different from the Achta that is used in many Lebanese desserts, including ice cream, which is actually the skimming of fresh milk or cream. An atemoya is normally heart-shaped or rounded, with pale-green, easily bruised, bumpy skin. Near the stem, the skin is bumpy as it is in the sugar-apple, but become smoother like the cherimoya on the bottom. The flesh is not segmented like that of the sugar-apple, bearing more similarity to that of the cherimoya. It is very juicy and smooth, tasting slightly sweet and a little tart, reminiscent of a piña colada. The taste also resembles vanilla from its sugar-apple parent.  Many inedible, toxic, black seeds are found throughout the flesh of the atemoya.  When ripe, the fruit can be scooped out of the shell and eaten chilled.

An atemoya flower, in its female stage, opens between 2:00 and 4:00 pm; between 3:00 pm and 5:00 pm on the following afternoon, the flower converts to its male stage.

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