Information on rollinia
Latin Name and family:
Rollinia Deliciousa, Rollinia mucosa. In the custard-apple or annona family (annonaceae). Other names: biriba, amazon custard apple, wild sugar apple.
Rollinia “looks like a little alien fruit”. The flesh is a soft, gooey white pulp. It has a white core and several dark brown, elliptic or seeds. The inside is creamy and soft, with few fibers. Fruits vary greatly in size and can weigh up to 8 or so pounds.
Taste and culinary Use:
The taste is a lemony custard- flavor, like lemon meringue. It is eaten fresh but is also made into raw desserts, ice cream, smoothies, etc. In Brazil it is fermented to make wine. Once rollinia is cut the flesh oxidizes quickly, it will also temporarily stain white dishes. For a firmer texture eat rollinia while still a little bit green and before the soft nubs blacken. When it is completely yellow and the nubs blacken, the texture is softer and gooey, but it is still delicious. Importantly, research shows that the seeds have insecticidal properties and are poisonous to humans. Do not eat the seeds from rollinia or any other fruit in the Anonaceous (Annona) family. Be extremely careful when separating the flesh from the seeds for pureeing or putting in smoothies etc.
Harvest and storage:
Generally, rollinia is considered to have a short shelf life. The fruit ripens from green to yellow and can be picked early when they start to turn yellow. Clip the fruit leaving some stem. They still they may take approximately 4-7 days to ripen. Eat before the soft nubs blacken. Cooling the fruit after harvest can extend the shelf life but the skin will turn black. Fruits are vulnerable to bruising even under their own weight. Store at room temperature on top of cushioning such as bundled newspaper or bubble wrap. Additionally, you may store rollinia in the refrigerator to extend the shelf life a few more days.
The rollinia fruit is a refrigerant and analeptic (stimulates the central nervous system). Also, due to its vitamin C content (73% RDI per 100g of Vitamin C) it is considered an antiscorbutic (effective against scurvy). The powdered seeds may be remedy for enterocolitis (inflammation of both the small intestine and the colon), but as mentioned above the seeds are also toxic to humans. Still, research is being done on Rollicosin, a new Annonaceous acetogenin, to develop a potential antitumor agent. Additionally, in traditional medicine it is used as an anti-pyretic, a restorative and general tonic.
100 grams of rollinia has 80 calories, 2.8 grams of protein, 23 grams of carbohydrates, 2.1 grams of fat, 1.3 grams of fiber. It also contains Vitamin B1 and B2, Vitamin C, phosphorous, iron, niacin, and thiamine.
The first record of rollinia in Hawaii is from the 1930s. It is thought to have originated along the Amazon in Brazil, although it was also discovered in early Mexico, Peru, and Argentina. Now it grows in many tropical locations, and in Hawaii it thrives at 300 feet to 3,000 feet elevations. These trees grow fast, as much as 10 feet a year (up to about 40 feet) and fruits in as little as 2-3 years. Additionally, it is almost always propagated by seeds because they grow true to type, although grafting can ensure consistently high yielding varieties. Also, rollinia prefers heavy soil, full sun and an acid pH. Scale and mealy bugs may be problems, as well as fruit fly.
- Love, Ken & and Paull, Robert E. Rollinia. Fruits and Nuts, June 2011. F_N-21. http://www.ctahr.hawaii.edu/oc/freepubs/pdf/F_N-21.pdf
- Morton, J. 1987. Biriba. p. 88–90. In: Fruits of warm climates. Julia F. Morton, Miami, FL.
- Chih-Chuang Liaw , Fang-Rong Chang , Ming-Jung Wu , and Yang-Chang Wu * Graduate Institute of Natural 5. Products, Kaohsiung Medical University, Kaohsiung 807, Taiwan, Republic of ChinaJ. Nat. Prod., 2003, 66 (2), pp 279–281
- Morton, J.F., 1987. Fruits of warm climates, Miami, Florida, USA.