How long does custard apple last? Tips to keep them fresh longer

If you have this subtropical fruit in your local market or grocery store, it is a must-buy. The heart-shaped fruit is creamy and full of sweet goodness that you will enjoy. Sometimes the fries id white, and other times are flushed with a bright pink hue. But, there is always a question hanging over soft sub-tropical fruit: does it last?

Did you know that custard apples can regulate your body’s serotonin levels, making you sleep and rest better? There is no doubt that the custard apple is a powerhouse of vitamins and nutrients that have many health benefits which are impossible to ignore. This sweet soft fruit is often eaten with a spoon, as you would eat custard.

In this article, we explore custard apples and let you know if it’s a 1-day wonder fruit or if it can be stored for longer periods of time. We answer many frequently asked questions providing you with facial information.

Let’s jump right on in.

Does custard apple expire?

The experienced among you will have guessed the custard apple has a short shelf life.

A ripe custard apple is truly a 1 to 2-day wonder fruit and will expire within this time stored in the refrigerator. Clearly, buying ripe custard apples should only be done if you intend to consume the fruit on the day of purchase. A 1 to 2-day shelf life is useless, but what if you learned how to buy custard apples and make them last a week in the fridge?

Yes, you read it right. It’s possible to buy custard fruit and still have it in the fridge a week later, and it is still edible! 

Ok, there is no smoke and mirrors with this statement. It is a simple process of selecting the right custard apples. When selecting custard apples, buy the hard ones. 

Custard apples start to ripen from the base up toward the stem. If the base is soft, you will only have a few days to store the custard fruit before it is ripe and needs to be eaten.

Another indicator can be color. The custard apple can become pink when it is ripe. If you have this variety of custard apples, choose a green fruit and let them ripen in your home.

Unlike many other subtropical fruits, the custard apple will continue to ripen once it leaves the tree, extending its shelf life and appeal when burying this delicate fruit.

You can follow these simple but effective tips if you are unsure when a custard apple is ripe. 

  1. If you gently press the custard fruit at the stem and it leaves an indentation, the fruit is ripe and will last for 1 day.
  2. If the custard apple is smooth, it is likely ripe.
  3. If the custard apple is deep pink, it is ripe.

These are three ways to check if your custard apple can be stored or should be eaten on the same day of purchase.

Does custard fruit need to be in the fridge?

It depends. If the custard fruit is ripe, it should be stored in the fridge, where it will sit for two days before it needs to be consumed.

If the custard fruit is cut, it needs to be in the fridge in an airtight container. The airtight container will prevent the delicate mushy flesh of the custard fruit from absorbing odors in the fridge, such as garlic, onion, and cucumber, odors that tend to linger will taint the delicate flesh.

Cooked foods incorporating custard apples into the dish should be refrigerated when cool and not before. Place cooked custard apples into an airtight container.

Unripe custard apples can be left out to ripen, and it’s an attractive fruit to have in the fruit bowl and a great conversation starter for the uninitiated custard fruit wannabes.

However, stirring unripe custard fruit in the fridge will maximize its shelf life to 10 to 14 days before it should be eaten.

Does custard fruit need to be covered?

It depends! Whole custard fruit with its skin intact does not need to be covered when sitting out or when placed in the fridge to extend its shelf life.

However, once the fruit is sliced, the unwanted part of the fruit should be covered and placed in the fridge. It can be covered with an airtight container such as Tupperware or a Ziploc-style bag.

The purpose of covering sliced custard fruit is to prevent it from being exposed to oxygen. Oxidation ruins most fruits and veggies, so protecting the fruit is critical to its shelf life.

Additionally, sliced custard fruit should be covered to prevent exposure to bacteria and intense aromas in the fridge that will taint the flavor of the custard apple.

If custard apple is used in a recipe, it should be covered in the fridge when the food is cool.

Can you put warm custard apples in the fridge? 

Many of you will eat custard apples as a fruit enjoying the sweet flesh by scooping it with a spoon, but there are many recipes for cooking with custard apples, from simple salads to baking the sweet fruit as part of a cake recipe.

Answering the question thoroughly, you would have to say no.

Let the custard apple recipe cool to room temperature before placing them in the fridge. Once you introduce heat into the fridge, the interior temperature could rise. For food safety reasons, warm food should not be placed in the fridge.

Your fridge temperature hovers just below 4℉. Temperatures above this are considered to be the food danger zone. The food danger zone is a temperature range from 40 to 140℉.

In this temperature range, bacterial growth accelerates. After just two hours, the bacteria will have reached significant levels, potentially making any other food stored in the fridge inedible due to its risk of causing food poisoning.

How long can custard apples sit out?

It depends on how ripe the custard apple is. Custard apples that are not ripe and that are sitting in a fruit bowl can sit until they are ripe and then should be eaten or placed in the fridge for a short time.

Sliced custard apple is a different story when it comes to sitting out. Fruit that has been sliced should sit out for two hours maximum.

Fresh uncooked, skin removed, and cooked custard apples should not sit out at room temperature.

Peeled or cooked custard apples in a recipe should not sit out any longer than two hours. They are classified as perishable food, and according to the USDA, they can only sit out for two hours.

At room temperature, the bacteria growth in the sliced or cooked custard fruit will accelerate exponentially, making the fruit potentially dangerous to eat. If you eat sliced or cooked custard apples sitting out for two hours, you risk contracting food poisoning.

How long does custard fruit last in the fridge?

Ripe custard fruit will last for 1 to 2 days in the fridge. Unripe custard fruit will last between 10 to 14 days in a cool fridge, depending on how unripe the fruit is.

Sliced custard fruit should be eaten the same day, but it will keep for a day in the fridge.

Cooked custard fruit will last as long as the recipe’s quickest-expiring ingredient.

Does frozen custard fruit go bad?

Freezing custard fruit can be a challenge. In theory, any food stored at 0℉m or below should last indefinitely, and this is true in many cases, but when it comes to delicate subtropical fruit, the story changes.

Custard fruit is delicate and contains a lot of water. Ice crystals penetrate the delicate flesh when the water freezes in the fruits, making it mush.

The best way to freeze custard apples is to make a puree. The puree can be frozen for 12 months and taste fantastic when needed.

Freezing custard apple puree

  • Only use ripe custard apples.
  • Remove the flesh and the seed from the skin, it’s best to use a spoon, but any method that works for you is OK.
  • Blend the flesh to the consistency of a puree.
  • Pour the custard apple puree into an airtight container, Ziploc style freezer bags work well.
  • Remove as much air from the bag as possible and seal the bag.
  • Mark the bag with the contents and the freezing date and place it in the freezer.

How to defrost the custard fruit puree?

In the fridge, in a bowl of water. It will defrost quickly if it has been laid flat in the freezer. Otherwise, let it thaw naturally in the fridge for the best results.

Final thoughts

Custard apples are yummy but delicate and should be handled with care. The fruit has a short shelf life when ripe.

To maximize the shelf life of custard apples, buy unripe fruit or a combination so you can enjoy the fruit daily.

Due to the high liquid concentration in custard, fruit is almost impossible to freeze unless it’s a puree which will last for 12 months and may be more while frozen.

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