The African star apple(Chrysophyllum africanum) is a highly nutritious fruit with wide appeal.
It has a shape somewhere between being round and being ovoid. It sports a bright apricot color or bright orange when ripe.
The African star apple fruit is a fruit from a forest tree that can be found in tropical Africa.
On an average, the fruit contains five flat bean shaped seeds and when the fruit is sliced sideways to peel off the skin without touching the seeds, the seeds form a star shape on the inside.
The fruit was studied and described by the Scottish botanist George Don.
The African star apple fruit is found in tropical Africa, the Western part to be more precise. This fruit is grown majorly in Nigeria, Togo, Ghana and Benin, and it is called by different names in these countries.
The people of southern Benin call the African star apple fruit “azongogwe,” it is known as “udara” by the Igbo people of Nigeria, “alasa” by the Ga people of the Greater Accra Region of Ghana call and called “cherry” (agbalumo) by the Yoruba people of Nigeria
The African star apple tree
The agbalumo tree grows as a wild plant with a very thick trunk that reaches up to 100ft height. The bright orange fruits of the African star apple could be found hanging all over the tree.
The fruits are sometimes allowed to drop to the ground from the tree before they are harvested.
The taste of the African star apple
The African star apple contains a pulp that has a very distinct taste, the one major characteristic of the fruit that a lot of people identify to.
There’s a complex savory-sweet taste, and after sucking in all the innards, the flesh can be chewed continuously as it has a texture similar to chewing-gum.
Several varieties of the African Star apple have been described.
The edible ones differ slightly in shape and may have different tastes; some may be sweet while others have a tangy taste.
It could sometimes be difficult to tell the ones that have a similar appearance apart although some varieties often remain green in color when ripe.
The variety commonly harvested is known as “Nwannu” because of its sweet taste.
Peak season of the African star apple
The rains in December herald the start of the African star apple season, and some people believe that the fruit gets sweeter as the rains fall.
This fruit comes in season from December to April, coinciding with the harmattan season so much that it is considered that the start of harmattan is the start of the season of the fruit.
Although they both begin at December, the African star apple season ends at April while harmattan ends in the middle of March
Other uses of the African star apple fruit
The agbalumo is relatively cheap and highly nutritious.
The African star apple is a phenomenal fruit in general and its uses are almost unlimited. Its trees are exported and used for timber known as Longhi rouge or longui. The bark of the tree can be used to locally treat various ailments.
Health benefits of the African star apple fruit
The African star apple is said to have several health benefits. For instance it has more Vitamin C than the Orange, this fruit is superb as it also contains antioxidants and it is very high in food value.
The African star apple is said to provide up to 10% of the body’s daily requirements of calcium
The leaves is said contain hypoglycemic and anti-platelet properties; the roots and the barks of its tree are used for sprain, bruises and wounds in southern Nigeria and the roots extracts are used to arrest bleeding from fresh wounds and to inhibit microbial growth of known wound contaminants and enhance wound healing process.