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.
Here are a few recipes to help you get to know this exotic tropical fruit:
Cherimoya Fruit Salad
- 2 cherimoyas
- 2 oranges
- 2 apples
- 2 avocados
- 1 cup grapes
- 1/4 cup plain yogurt
- 1/4 cup mayonnaise
- 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.
Cherimoya Lime Sorbet
- 1 1/2 cups cherimoya (peeled, seeded, and diced)
- 1/2 cup fresh lime juice
- 1/4 cup water
- 1/8 cup sugar
- 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.
- 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
- 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.
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.