What the Heck Is Cherimoya?

Ever had a "custard apple"? Learn all about this strange-looking fruit with the interesting flavor.

The cherimoya, or chirimoya (Annona cherimola), is an unusual fruit native to the Andes mountain range in South America.

The fruit is large—about the size of a grapefruit, oval-shaped, and green. Its scaly skin texture makes it somewhat resemble an artichoke. Inside, the flesh is soft, white, and creamy, with several dark brown seeds that must be removed—these seeds are toxic when crushed.

What Do Cherimoyas Taste Like?

“Deliciousness itself,” was how Mark Twain described the flavor of this luscious fruit after sampling its flesh. Cherimoyas are very sweet, like candy, and tropical tasting, with similarities to bananas, pineapples, papayas, peaches, and strawberries. This flavor combination has led some to compare it to the flavor of bubblegum.

Because one popular way of eating them is to chill them and eat them with a spoon, cherimoyas are popularly known as “ice cream fruit” or “custard apples.” But don’t confuse them with “sugar apples” — Annona squamosa — they’re very similar, but different fruits.

Are Cherimoyas Healthy?

Cherimoyas are rich in vitamins and minerals, including vitamins C and B6, Thiamin, Riboflavin, Magnesium, Potassium, and Manganese. In addition, a single cherimoya contains more than five grams of protein, or about 10% of an average person’s recommended daily value.

Recipes

Here are a few recipes to help you get to know this exotic tropical fruit:

Cherimoya - Sugar apple

Cherimoya Fruit Salad

Course Salad
Cuisine American

Ingredients
  

  • 2 cherimoyas
  • 2 oranges
  • 2 apples
  • 2 avocados
  • 1 cup grapes
  • 1/4 cup plain yogurt
  • 1/4 cup mayonnaise

Instructions
 

  • Directions:
    Peel, seed, and cut cherimoyas into one inch cubes. Take six cubes and purée them until smooth in a blender or food processor. Set aside. Cut apples into wedges and remove the core, then cut the wedges in half. Peel and separate oranges. Slice each wedge in half. Mix fruit together in a bowl. In a separate bowl, combine plain yogurt, mayonnaise, and cherimoya purée. Pour the yogurt mixture over the fruit and toss. Peel and pit avocados and cut them into small cubes. Serve salad with avocado on top.
Keyword fruit cocktail, winter fruit salad recipe
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Cherimoya Lime Sorbet

Course Salad
Cuisine American

Ingredients
  

  • 1 1/2 cups cherimoya (peeled, seeded, and diced)
  • 1/2 cup fresh lime juice
  • 1/4 cup water
  • 1/8 cup sugar

Instructions
 

  • Directions:
    First, make a simple syrup by combining the sugar and water in a small saucepan. Bring the mixture to a boil, stirring constantly until the sugar melts. Allow it to cool. Place diced cherimoya in a blender or food processor, along with the simple syrup and lime juice, and purée until smooth. If you have an ice cream maker, spoon the mixture into it and follow the manufacturer’s instructions. If you do not have an ice cream maker, place the mixture in a tall sealing container and freeze it for about 90 minutes. Remove it and stir the sorbet with a whisk. Return it to the freezer and stir once every hour for about four hours. This will incorporate air into the mixture, making it light and creamy.
Keyword cherimoya fruit, cherimoya health benefits
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Cherimoya Pie

Course Dessert
Cuisine American

Ingredients
  

  • Ingredients:
  • 1 10” pie crust
  • 2 cups cherimoya (peeled, seeded, and diced)
  • 3 eggs (separated)
  • 1 cup evaporated milk
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla
  • 1/8 teaspoon salt

Instructions
 

  • Directions:
    Preheat oven to 450º F. Bake pie crust for five minutes and set aside. Reduce heat to 375º F. In a blender or food processor, purée cherimoya until smooth. Whisk egg yolks, milk, sugar, vanilla, and salt into the cherimoya until combined, then set aside. Beat egg whites until soft peaks form, and fold into the cherimoya mixture until thoroughly incorporated. Pour mixture into the pie shell and bake for about 45 minutes, until a knife comes out of the filling clean. Cool in the fridge before serving.
Keyword cherimoya fruit where to buy, cherimoya in english
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Farmers' Almanac - Itch
Jaime McLeod

Jaime McLeod is a longtime journalist who has written for a wide variety of newspapers, magazines, and websites, including MTV.com. She enjoys the outdoors, growing and eating organic food, and is interested in all aspects of natural wellness.

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Mary Hubble

It’s like a paw paw, only the skin is rougher, but the fruit and even the seed arrangement look the same.

Jayla SunBird

High in protein? Stuff like this can turn you Vegan, and I love plant protein more than eating meat to get it. Thanks, that’s a lot of meating from a plant source.

Patricia

I grew up in Hawaii and when the cherimoyas you describe were in season, we picked them off the tree, peeled it and ate it.. We spat out the seeds. It was heavenly. But we called them Sour Sap. I now live in the midwest and I intend to check out our stores for some of these delicious, heavenly fruits. Thanks for the info!

Larsen

I must express my gratitude towards this post. I have been eagerly describing cherimoyas to people all over the world since I was first introduced to them in Peru.
These fruits are incredible, and I consider them to be my favorite food.
They seem to be popular and available in Florida. There are even farmers that grow them in the southern part of the state.
I highly recommend trying to find one with a firmish softness (similar to what a ripe avocado might be considered to feel like) and try it.

Raul Infante

Since this is a fruit that is heavely consume in Mexico, most supermarkets will have them. I have seeing some at Walmart if no luck , try a mexican store in your heighborhood. I’m telling you ! you would love them realy sweet and has a sweet and tangy flavor…..

Sharee

Thank you for this article, but where can I buy a Cherimoya at?

Jaime McLeod

Check at your grocery store. If they don’t have it, ask for it. I live in Maine, which has a pretty small population, and our stories have it. We are getting to the end of when it’s available for the year, though. It’s usually gone by mid summer, then comes back in winter.

Farmereric

I’m like Jeannine, I would like to try it too! ilove your articles, I learn so much. Thank You.

larry

There is a fruit resembling this which is also known as “sugar apple…

jeannine

where can you find that kind of fruit , i’d like to try it

Harry Travis

My question exactly, where can we purchase them and how expensive are they

Ernie

Where can you buy one?

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