Thanks for playing everybody! Sam, you were sooooooo close.When Lezlei (sil/bff) of Breath of Art was here visiting earlier this month, she stopped by a Farmer’s Market with her daughter-in-law and grand daughter out in the Chino Hills area.
When she arrived at my home that evening, she was bearing gifts of chocolate covered strawberries, raw almonds, raw cashews, and this pine-cone looking fruit I had never seen before.
The fruit was very hard and did not ripen until Lezlei had left to head back to Texas. She took one of them with her, so we were able to cut into our fruit and then compare notes over the telephone.
Here’s some info . . .
Cherimoya is native to Ecuador and Peru where it is known as “The Jewel of the Incas”
The flesh is lusciously soft. It is sweet but tangy.
Some describe it as a mixture of mango, papaya, bananas and even coconut.
It’s got the sweet tart acidity of a really good apple with a super creamy texture, sort of like custard.
Mark Twain called the cherimoya "the most delicious fruit known to men." He called it “deliciousness itself.”
It looks like a big green pinecone
When you buy one look for skin that is uniformly green without blemishes, cracks, or brown spots.
Cherimoyas should not be soft at purchase because they bruise easily.
It’s better to let them ripen a few days, undisturbed, at room temperature.
They will yield to gentle thumb pressure when ripe. Very much like an avocado.
The cherimoya has a big disclaimer. You cannot eat the skin. It can cause paralysis! Mild paralysis, but it can last up to five hours.
The easiest way to eat the fruit is to cut it in half and scoop the flesh out with a spoon.
Cherimoyas won't bear fruit without some help. In their native habitat of Peru and Ecuador, there is an insect that pollinates the cherimoya flowers, but the insect does't reside in the U.S., so the growers in this country have to pollinate each flower by hand .
Its a labor intensive process in which pollen is brushed from the flower into a film canister, or other small container, and then brushed onto another flower when the flower's stigma is receptive. This pollination process last for several months as the tree comes into bloom. Sometimes the flowers will self pollinate but self pollinated fruit can be misshapen. Nor is hand pollination 100% effective. Growers expect that some fruit will not form even though the flower was pollinated.
Like avocados, cherimoyas cannot be chilled before they ripen.
Once ripe, they can be refrigerated for up to five days, but be careful not to bruise them. Rough handling of even unripe fruit leads to off flavored bruised fruit.
Common varieties of Cherimoya are White, Booth, Bay and Spain.
Cherimoyas make delicious sorbets or milkshakes, but their complex flavor and aroma is enjoyed when served halved or quartered and eaten with a spoon. Cherimoyas are rich in fiber, vitamin C and niacin.
The skin will turn brown as the cherimoya becomes soft and ripe.
Don't cut into it when you first notice ripeness. Give it a day or two more. But if you let it sit out too long without eating it, the sugar in the flesh will become fermented tasting
Cut down the center from the top to bottom. Cut in quarters and eat with a spoon or hold on your hand and eat like a watermelon. Scrape the rind with your teeth to get every bit of sweet flesh, then discard the rind.
Need a recipe? How about a Cherimoya Daiquiri
4 ounces light rum, 2 teaspoons sugar
1 ounce Curacao, 3/4 cup chopped cherimoya
1 ounce lime juice, 2 cups crushed ice
Put all ingredients into blender container. Blend until thick, frosty and smooth. Makes 2 servings.