What is a Cherimoya?
A cherimoya is a sweet, very tasty nutritious fruit that Mark Twain described as “the most delicious fruit known to men.” Often referred to as the ice cream of fruit, its nutritious creamy, custard like flesh tastes something like a combination of mango, vanilla, banana, pineapple, peach and strawberry. In fact cherimoya ice cream is indeed popular in many Latin cuisines.
Native to the Andes, today cherimoya is grown throughout South Asia, Central America, South America, and in Southern California. Since the 1920s, rare fruit fans and growers from Southern California have been bringing back seeds and scions (cuttings) from Mexico and points south to propagate in backyards.
I found two nicknames for the nutritious cherimoya fruit—El bumpo, because let’s face it—it’s not very pretty. Kind of looks like a hand grenade! And custard apple, because of it’s sweet custard-like flesh.
What is the Nutrition in Cherimoya fruit?
Each one half cup serving of cherimoya contains 60 calories, 0.5 grams of fat, 14 grams carbohydrate, 2 grams fiber, and 1 gram of protein. They are cholesterol and sodium free.
What are the Health Benefits in Chermoya fruit?
Cherimoya fruit contains a good amount of vitamin B6, which is very advantageous for our brain functioning as it controls the GABA neuro chemical levels. Adequate GABA neuro chemical levels help to alleviate stress, get rid of tension, soothe nervous irritability and even treat depression.
The cherimoya is a very good of vitamin-C. Vitamin C is a powerful natural antioxidant that helps the body develop resistance against infection and scavenge harmful free radicals from the body.
This nutritious fruit has a well balanced sodium-potassium ratio. A good potassium level in the body helps control heart rate and blood pressure; thus counters the bad influences of sodium. It also contains more minerals per weight than many common fruits like apples. It is rich in copper, magnesium, iron and manganese.
Cherimoya is rich in fiber, as each 200 g serving contains 6 g. You need dietary fiber for optimal health, as it keeps your blood sugar levels stable, provides feelings of satiety, can aid in cholesterol management and keeps your digestive system healthy.
How to Select and Store Cherimoya
Look for firm, unblemished fruits that feel heavy for their size. Ripe fruits turn pale green to light brown color and emanate fragrant rich sweet aroma that can be appreciated from a distance. Inside the fruit features, cream color pulp with black color smooth seeds embedded all over. Seeds and skin are inedible.
Buy several days before you plan to use them to allow them to ripen on the countertop. It is a fragile fruit and usually will ripen in three to four days of sitting at room temperature. When ripe, the skin is green and gives slightly to pressure, similar to the avocado.
Cherimoyas are a tropical fruit, so they are very susceptible to chill damage if they get too cold. They are best stored at 55 degrees or warmer. But if you need to keep them for more than a day or two, you should refrigerate to keep from spoiling.
The best way to enjoy a really ripe cherimoya is also the easiest: Spoon out the fruit, discard the large black seeds and season the pulp with a squeeze of orange juice.
How to use the Cherimoya
Cut chunks of cherimoya and add to salads with kiwi, strawberry, papaya or other tropical fruit. Scoop flesh from skin and blend into smoothies and shakes. Add mashed pulp to yogurt or freeze with coconut milk into semifreddo. Top puff pastry with slices of cherimoya and fresh berries, and bake into a tart.
Prepare a quick custard for a baked cherimoya pie: Bake a pie shell for five minutes, then set aside. Combine 2 cups of cherimoya puree with three egg yolks, a can of evaporated milk, 1/2 cup of sugar and 1/2 tsp. of vanilla. Beat three egg whites until fluffy and blend in the cherimoya mixture. Bake at 350 degrees Fahrenheit for 35 to 45 minutes and serve cold.