How to Use Cherimoya – Sharon Palmer, The Plant Powered Dietitian

Wondering about cherimoya, how to eat it, and their benefits? Learn more about how to include this fruit in your diet in this expert blog today.

Called “the most delicious fruit known to man” by Mark Twain, the cherimoya may be delicious, but it is certainly one of the more unusual-looking options in the fruit aisle (if you’re lucky enough to spy it!)! What does cherimoya look like? It is a heart-shaped fruit, which has a green, scaly outer skin, but the inside is pale, white, and has large black seeds. 

What is Cherimoya?

Cherimoya (Annona cherimola) is a fruit (also spelled chirimoya and called chirimuya by the Incans), which is derived from a Quechuan word meaning “cold seeds,” relating to the climates in which it can be grown. It grows on trees, which are said to have originated in the Andes and still prefer high altitudes and cold weather for growing, needing periods of cold temperatures to keep the tree from going dormant. However, cherimoya (which is related to soursop and sweetsop fruits) is sensitive to cold, so the areas in which it can be grown are limited. 

Eating cherimoya by the spoonful.

How do Cherimoya Trees Grow?

These trees can be found in Ecuador, Peru, and Chile, along with many other South and Central American countries. It has also been brought to Europe, Africa, East Asia, and even Australia! It can also be grown in my home state of California, and I find it in farmers markets. I plan on planting a tree in my orchard very soon! In California, they ripen from November to June. 

One interesting fact is that the method of pollination is currently unknown, though it is suspected to be carried out by a beetle as honeybees are too large to fit into the flower! When growing in non-native areas, the tree is often pollinated by hand. 

What Does It Taste Like?

Ripe cherimoyas are yellow-green on the outside and have a soft flesh. It’s also known as a “custard apple” due to the fruit’s inner texture, which is creamy. The flavor can vary depending on the variety of cherimoya, ranging from sweet to tangy, and contains hints of pineapple, banana, papaya, strawberry, peach or apple flavors. Most commonly, it is described as being a blend of pineapple, banana, and peach. This fruit must be stored at around 50 degrees Fahrenheit to prevent excessive softening and browning. 

Health Benefits

They are a good source of water, vitamins B1, B2, B6, C, and dietary fiber. In a 100-gram serving you’ll find only 75 calories, making it a tasty and healthy option for a snack. 

Top 5 Ways to Use Cherimoya 

There are many ways to enjoy this fruit, including eating it raw! Check out my Top 5 Ways to Use Cherimoya and give it a try!

1. Go Raw!

The best way to enjoy this fruit is with a spoon! Just cut open a soft, ripe cherimoya, and scoop out the flesh with a spoon. It’s like eating ice cream! 

Blend it in your next smoothie or smoothie bowl.

2. Whiz Together a Smoothie

Toss sliced ripe cherimoya flesh into your next smoothie, but go gentle on the other ingredients (such as bitter greens) to allow the flavors of the cherimoya to shine through. 

3. Freeze up Sorbet

Blend cherimoya, pour into a container and freeze into a simple sorbet. Scoop the sorbet into serving dishes before it gets icy. 

Slice cherimoya over cereal, such as granola.

4. Slice over Cereals

Slice cherimoya before it gets too soft over your next bowl of hot or cold cereal for a tropical sweet taste to start off your day. 

Slice cherimoya into fruit salads, such as this Ambrosia recipe from my book California Vegan.

5. Toss into Salads

Try slicing it into your next fruit salad, or even green salad for a fun, flavorful twist! 

Learn more about how to cook with other plant foods here:

Top 5 Ways to Use Pumpkin Seeds
Top 5 Ways to Use Quinoa
Top 5 Ways to Use Brown Rice
Top 5 Ways to Use Blackberries

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