Also known as chirimoyas or custard apples, these sweet-tart fruits are interesting to look at and delicious to consume.
What are Cherimoyas?
Cherimoya is a tropical fruit native to South America. Due to the cherimoya’s growing popularity, however, these curious-looking fruits are now grown throughout Southeast Asia, the Mediterranean, and the Southern United States. Cherimoyas are round, green, scaly (almost artichoke-like), and similar in size to a large apple or grapefruit. The flesh of the cherimoya is white, soft, and juicy with a custard-like texture dotted with black bean-sized seeds.
Flavor & Uses
The taste of a cherimoya is what really sets this tropical fruit apart from the rest. Cherimoyas are tangy with a sweet-tart flavor similar to bananas and pineapples. They ripen best at room temperature, growing softer and sweeter over time. Like avocados, there is an optimum ratio of firmness to softness. Too firm, and the cherimoyas will be tart. Left to over-ripen and they can rot pretty quickly. Refrigeration will help prolong the cherimoya’s shelf life.
The cherimoya’s skin and seeds are easily removed and should be discarded, leaving the soft flesh ready for snacking. This fruit is delicious cut in half and eaten on its own with a spoon (again, avoid the seeds). Or, enjoy cherimoyas as an ingredient for your breakfast smoothies, fruit salads, or as a cereal topper. Pureed, cherimoyas are fantastic additions to custards, puddings, ice cream, or sorbet.
Where to find Cherimoyas
Some grocery stores may carry cherimoyas on occasion. If available, cherimoyas will be located with other tropical fruits. If there is a speciality store in your region, dedicated to South American ingredients, it is a sure bet that cherimoyas or cherimoya products will be in store.
Feature Image: Flickr user Robert Couse-Baker (CC BY 2.0)