I discovered Cherimoya (Chair-ee-moya) one day as I was looking at a list of fruit in season. Recognizing every fruit listed but this one, of course, my interest was sparked to do some research. Finding an article that called this the “Ice Cream Fruit” drew me in further. The fruit looks like a cross-pollination between an artichoke and an avocado… oval, with a smooth or slightly tuberculated skin. The fruit flesh is white and creamy, and has numerous dark brown seeds embedded in it. According to one article, “Some characterize the flavor as a blend of banana, pineapple, papaya, peach, and strawberry. Others describe it as tasting like commercial bubblegum. ” which is probably the reason why Mark Twain called the cherimoya “the most delicious fruit known to men.”
Unfortunately, you won’t find this treasure on the shelf of your local Whole Foods Market. Though grown throughout Central and North America (even making it up to growers in California), the soft skin and short season of this fruit makes it hard to produce commercially. After doing a little search for it myself, I found it online for $15 a fruit! Despite it’s rarity, the cherimoya’s popularity in the U.S. and Mexico is growing. There’s even a Cherimoya Fair held in Irvine, Ca (and a website dedicated to the fruit, too: cherimoya.com).
And it’s no wonder, though the flavor could sell itself, the cherimoya has multiple health benefits too.
- “100 g of fresh fruit pulp provide about 75 calories. It contains, however, no saturated fats or cholesterol. It characteristically contains a good amount of dietary fiber (3 g per100 g) that helps prevent absorption of cholesterol in the gut.
- Cherimoya contains several poly-phenolic antioxidants. Among them, the most prominent in annona family fruits are Annonaceous acetogenins. Acetogenin compounds such as asimicin, bullatacinare…etc are powerful cytotoxins and have been found to have anti-cancer, anti-malarial, and anti-helminthes properties.
- It is very good in vitamin-C.
- In addition, cherimoya fruit is a good source of B-complex vitamins, especially vitamin B-6 (pyridoxine). 100 g fresh fruit provides 0.257 mg or 20% of daily-recommended levels. Pyridoxine helps keep-up GABA neuro chemical in the brain. High GABA levels calm down nervous irritability, tension, and headache ailments.Further, it 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 weight per weight than many common fruits like apples, rich in copper, magnesium, iron and manganese.”
I don’t know about you, but I’m impressed. Looks like I’ll be ordering some cherimoya very soon.
When I was a kid, we lived in Cuba and we used to call the cherimoya a sugar apple; they were sweet eating.