átis

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Photo by Muhammad Mahdi Karim CC BY 2.0

Harvested from small trees that grow 3-5 metres tall, with leaves 8-15 cm long.

Fruit are often round or heart-shaped.

Ripeness is determined when the fruit’s skin turns a yellow-ish green colour, as above.

Its flesh is white in colour, soft in texture, and tastes as sweet as it smells.

The átis, or sugar-apple, is a new-world fruit now cultivated across the Philippines. One reason it proliferates (to our delicious delight!) is that the fruit is extremely attractive to a species of bird locally called “kabag” – which I would love to know more about, because in Tagalog, “kabag” is a descriptor for stomach upsets, and it’s known that eating átis makes you feel this way as well! Curious etymology. Because átis trees bear fruit in as little as a year, they have become a mainstay in many Philippine gardens – from large fields in the countryside to patches of greenery in dense urban areas. A delicious fruit to try when given a chance!

Information translated from the wonderful community behind Sagisag Kultura, a cultural research and awareness project by the Philippine National Commission for Culture and the Arts (NCCA).

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