The unique cherimoya, or chirimoya, is a fruit thought to be native to the Andes. It was cultivated in Spain, from where it spread through Italy and Portugal. Cherimoya fruits can now be found in Egypt, Morocco, Israel, Taiwan Australia, and other places. Numerous places in the Americas, such as California, have also produced these exotic fruits.
You’ve probably never seen or heard of this fruit, with its oval shape and slightly bumpy texture. The cherimoya is around 10-20 cm. long and 7-10 cm in diameter around the size of a grapefruit. Inside the yellow-green skin, the flesh is smooth and white with several dark-colored seeds. The cherimoya has another name, the custard apple, which comes from the creamy, sherbet-like texture of the fruit.
It’s the delightful taste of the cherimoya that gives most of its uniqueness. Mark Twain called this “the most delicious fruit known to man.” The tastes that people commonly describe the cherimoya to possess are a mixture of pineapple, banana, strawberry, and peach. Many say that it has a similarity to bubblegum! Like the name “custard apple”, the nickname “ice cream fruit” comes from the taste of the fruit; people often eat the flesh of cherimoyas chilled. But beware–the seeds are poisonous when crushed.
Cherimoya trees can live through cool periods (so it does not become dormant) but does not like much snow. They can thrive from altitudes of 4,300 ft. to 8,500 ft. The fresh fruits provides an impressive amount of antioxidants, vitamins, an minerals.