The Cherimoya has a unique flavor that people would describe as a strange mix between pineapples, bananas, pears, and papayas. The fruit’s flesh has a creamy texture like custard and has often been called “sherbet fruit” or “custard apple” (not to be confused with the custard apple, which is a different fruit). If you’re seeing cherimoya for the first time, you wouldn’t guess that it would taste so amazing. The fruit has an irregular oval shape that has pale leathery skin with scaly thumbprint-like patterns. In 1871, California became the first and only place that produces Cherimoyas in the United States.
- Kingdom: Plantae
- Order: Magnoliales
- Family: Annonaceae
- Genus: Annona
- Species: A. cherimola
- Binomial name: Annona cherimola
- Mark Twain described the cherimoya as “Deliciousness itself.”
- The fruit is sometimes called the “Lost Fruit of the Incas” and “Pearl of the Andes.”
- The cherimoya has been depicted in many prehistoric Peruvian ceramics.
Cherimoya Buying Guide
Choose firm and slightly unripe cherimoyas that are heavy for their size.
Avoid buying already ripe cherimoyas unless you plan on consuming them immediately after purchase. Since cherimoyas bruise easily, ripe cherimoyas that are still on the shelves can suffer from a lot of bruising from handling, and this affects the quality of the meat.
Cherimoya Production & Farming in Texas
Commercial Cherimoya production is not possible in Texas. Some independent growers along the Gulf coast have successfully grown cherimoyas but not in quantities that can be considered as commercial production.
California is the only place in the United States that produces cherimoya in commercial quantities.
On testing, the cherimoya only presents with an average of one type of pesticide residue detected, making it one of the cleaner fruits and vegetables out there.
The cherimoya thrives in cool climates and can tolerate mild frosts. They do well in almost any kind of soil, but they thrive in well-draining, medium grade soil with a pH level of 6.5-7.6. Natural pollinators for cherimoyas are hard to find, so hand-pollinating cherimoyas are the way to go.
Cherimoyas are picked when they are mature but unripe. This is because ripe fruit bruises very easily. After picking, they are sorted for size and labeled before being packed in foam boxes for safe transport.
A wise person once said, “There is only one way to eat a cherimoya, with a spoon.”
Cut the fruit lengthwise with a knife, and scoop out the fleshy part of the fruit, take care to remove all of the seeds as they are inedible. Cherimoyas are best enjoyed raw, added to salads, pureed for smoothies, or added to different pastries and tarts.
Unripe cherimoyas can be stored at room temperature, away from direct sunlight, for a few days for them to ripen properly. The skin may look a little brown, but this is normal, and this does not affect the taste and quality of the fruit.
Once ripe, the cherimoya can be stored safely in the fridge for up to five days, cover with a paper towel to prevent oxidation and further browning.
Due to its water content and texture, cherimoyas are very difficult to freeze, and it is not recommended to do so.
In cooking, cherimoyas are mainly used for tarts, pancakes, puddings, or quick breads. It does not do well in savory applications.
Aside from being a very tasty treat, Cherimoyas have anti-cancer properties.
- A 100g serving of cherimoya contains about 18g of carbs with 13g of that being sugar.
- Even with 13g of sugar, cherimoya has a low glycemic index and will not cause a spike in blood sugar levels.
- A 100g serving of cherimoya contains 3g of dietary fiber or 8% of the recommended daily intake.
- Fiber helps lower absorption of cholesterol in the gut and flushes out toxins by binding with them.
- Vitamins and minerals:
- Cherimoya contains polyphenolic antioxidants, which are potent cytotoxins that have been found to have anti-cancer properties.
- Cherimoya is also a good source of Vitamin C with a 100g serving containing 21% of the recommended daily intake.
- Another health benefit to eating cherimoyas is that every 100g serving provides around 20% of the RDI for B-complex vitamins, which help keep GABA levels in the brain high.
- A high GABA level calms down tension, headaches, and irritability ailments.