The Cherimoya Fruit Tree
Ancient Chirimoya Bottle
Origins of Cherimoya ~
The Cherimoya Tree is one interesting tree. Known also as cherimoya it is part evergreen part deciduous fruit producing tree that favors subtropical and temperate climates. It is said to be native to the South American interandean valleys of Ecuador, Bolivia and Columbia from where it spread in ancient times into Chile and Brazil where it currently thrives.
Peru remains a bone of contention with many claiming it was not until seeds were sent from one P. Bernabe Cobo in 1629 from Guatemala that the cherimoya tree was introduced. Other’s claim it belongs alongside the native countries.
Cobo was responsible for sending the cherimoya seeds to Mexico the same year where it continues to thrive at the high elevations of between 4,000 and 5,000 ft (1312 – 1640 m).
It became more widespread through South America and then Hawaii, Jamaica, Haiti, Spain and the first documented planting in Italy was in 1797.
Today it is more widespread and grows well in Australasia, Northern Africa, The Canary Islands, The Philippines, India and in California, notably San Diego County. Although it has been planted in Florida, cherimoya trees do not do well historically there.
Leaves of The Cherimoya Tree
The cherimoya tree loves the subtropical climatic conditions with a mild temperature and does not do well in lowland tropical areas.
They may grow at a height as low as 2,950 ft (900 m) all the way up to 8,000 ft (2,500 m).
The ideal temperatures for growing cherimoyas is 17C – 25 C in summer and while it may cope with light frost, it does not do well in heavy frost and snow in winter, favouring temperatures between 18C – 5C.
They have a relatively short season which is March to May, depending on the variety.
Cherimoya Tree ~
The Cherimoya is a tall but low branched tree which spreads out and ranges from 16-30 ft (5-9 m) in height.
The green leaves of the cherimoya range between 5 cm (2 in) to 25 cm (9.8 in) in length and 3 cm (1.2 in) to 10 cm (3.9 in) wide.
Young leaves will have rust colored fine hairs all over the leaf while in mature leaves these reddish brown hairs are only found on the underside of leaves along the veins.
The tree produces fragrant flowers that are visible along the branches in small clusters or as single blooms. They have 3 outer fleshy, green, downy petals with 3 inner white or pinkish petals.
Size of Fruit Seeds
Do you know these unusual delicious fruits?
similar species from Rajan Jolly
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Cherimoya Fruit ~
This large heart shaped or conical fruit usually weighs between ½ - 1 kg (1.1 – 2.2 lbs) and has been cultivated up to a massive 1.8 kg (4 lbs) as a super fruit.
The thick green skin may be smooth, have a fingerprint pattern or even have slightly raised “nipple” like protrusions, depending on the cultivar. Inside it has a thick creamy flesh not unlike custard or an avocado.
Cherimoyas taste deliciously sweet with the flavor being described as a cross between a pineapple, banana, passion fruit, papaya, lemon, coconut and mango!
Not bad for a single fruit. It is not harvested until fully mature and should be stored at 10C to stop the fruit softening. At room temperature it is ripe for eating after 3-4 days and may be kept in the fridge if eating within a few days time.
Nutritional Benefits ~
Cherimoya fruit is relatively low in calories, bearing in mind the size of the fruit. As it is high in carbohydrates, it would not be a good choice for those on a low-carb diet but is an excellence inclusion for all sporting activities.
High in water, antioxidants, fiber, protein, vitamin C, potassium and calcium it has small quantities of trace elements, vitamins and nutrients and is low in fat.
Apart from health benefits, cherimoya fruit make an ideal natural ingredient for homemade skin care products as it is hydrating, nourishing and a gentle skin exfoliator.
For some tropical inspired skin care recipes that you could easily substitute or include cherimoya fruit in, check out some of my home spa treatments such as a banana scrub, papaya and pumpkin efoliating face mask or ripe mango face pack.
Eat Out of The Skin
Sliced Cherimoya Fruit
Do you know the Cherimoya fruit?
How to Eat Cherimoya ~
- For on the move eating, cherimoya is best eaten as it is out of the skin.
- Another way is to cut lengthwise and scoop out the flesh with a spoon and eat it. Spit out or discard the seeds which are inedible.
- Scoop out the flesh into a bowl, discard the seeds and cover the bowl with clingfilm or plastic wrap. Pop it into the freezer for a couple of hours and eat it as an ice cream.
- Frozen cherimoya flesh is ideal to use in a healthy smoothie or as a sorbet alone or combined with other fruits.
- Fancy it hot? Cut it lengthwise and put the fruit face sown on a cookie sheet (baking sheet) and bake in the oven at 400C for 10-15 minutes or until the flesh is a golden color. Eat straight from the skin or scoop out into a bowl. This could also be done on the barbeque for outdoor cooking.
- Scoop out the flesh and cut into cubes. Add the cubes to savory or sweet salads for a refreshing change. For a taste of the tropics add it to papaya, mango, pineapple and banana.
- In cubes you may use it as a topping for pancakes or waffles served with some Greek style natural yogurt, cinnamon and nutmeg. For a twist to your pancake batter you could puree the cherimoya flesh and add it to the batter mix.
Tropical Fruit Basket
Introduction to Cherimoya
Cherimoya Recipes ~
- Cherimoya with Chile Lime Shrimp Recipe | MyRecipes.com
MyRecipes recommends that you make this Cherimoya with Chile Lime Shrimp recipe from Sunset
- Loads of delicious cherimoya dessert recipes
Cherimoya Sorbets, Salads, Ice Creams, Pies, Sauces, Drinks and more . . . .
Sorbete de Chirimoya
Author Info ~
Information on the author, her bio and full body of works available @ Suzie HQ
Credit to homesteadbound ~
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