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California Chirimoya 0r Cherimoya Fruit - Like an Apple


The Los Angeles Chapter of the
California Rare Fruit Growers
Welcomes You To The
2010 Festival Of Fruit
In Cal Poly Pomona
3801 W. Temple Ave. Bldg 35 Pomona, CA
Main Event Date: 8/14/2010
Celebrating The Year Of the Pitahaya

CRFG News:
2010 Festival of Fruit - Year of the Pitahaya/Dragon Fruit

The 2010 Festival of Fruit, hosted by the Los Angeles Chapter, will held the week of August 14, 2010 at Cal Poly Pomona

Go to for more details.

What are Chirimoyas or Cherimoyas?

Chirimoyas, called “cherimoyas” or Custard Apples in English are a delicious tropical fruit, native to South America (Peru, Bolivia and Ecuador). Cherimoyas grow on trees and are large (about 4-8 inches long and about 4 inches wide) green, heart-shaped fruit, with bumps on the outside. The inside however is a different story. It is white, juicy and fleshy, with a soft custard-like texture and large seeds that look like beans. It is creamy and tastes like a combination of banana, pineapple and strawberry. The skin and seeds shouldn’t be eaten.

Cherimoyas are like avocados in that they will ripen at room temperature right on your kitchen counter. If ripe, they will give to slight pressure. If you purchase a ripe cherimoya and won’t eat it immediately, it is best to refrigerate it.

The cherimoya (Annona cherimola) is a species of Annona native to the Andean-highland valleys of Chile, Ecuador and Peru. It is a deciduous or semi-evergreen shrub or small tree reaching 7 m tall. The leaves are alternate, simple, oblong-lanceolate, 7–15 cm long and 6–10 cm broad. The flowers are produced in small clusters, each flower 2–3 cm across, with six petals, yellow-brown, often spotted purple at the base.

The fruit is oval, often slightly oblique, 10–20 cm long and 7–10 cm diameter, with a smooth or slightly tuberculated skin. The fruit flesh is white, and has numerous seeds embedded in it. Mark Twain called the cherimoya "the most delicious fruit known to men."

The Moche culture of Peru had a fascination with agriculture and represented fruits and vegetables in their art. Cherimoyas were often depicted in their ceramics.

* 2 Cultivation and uses
* 3 Pollination
* 4 Post-harvest handling
* 5 Other names
* 6 See also
* 7 References
* 8 External links


The name originates from the Quechua word chirimuya, which means "cold seeds," because the plant grows at high altitudes and the seeds will germinate at higher altitudes.
 Cultivation and uses

The tree thrives throughout the tropics at altitudes of 1,300 to 2,600 m (4,300 to 8,500 ft). Though sensitive to frost, it must have periods of cool temperatures or the tree will gradually go dormant. The indigenous inhabitants of the Andes say that although the cherimoya cannot stand snow, it does like to see it in the distance. It is cultivated in many places throughout the Americas, including California, where it was introduced in 1871, and Hawaii. In the Mediterranean region, it is cultivated mainly in southern Spain, Madeira, Lebanon, Egypt and Israel. The first planting in Italy was in 1797 and it became a favored crop in the Province of Reggio Calabria. It is also grown in Taiwan and New Zealand.
Cherimoya seeds

The fruit is fleshy and soft, sweet, white in color, with a sherbet-like texture, which gives it its secondary name, custard apple. Some characterize the flavor as a blend of banana, pineapple, papaya and strawberry. Others describe it as tasting like commercial bubblegum. Similar in size to a grapefruit, it has large, glossy, dark seeds that are easily removed. The seeds are poisonous if crushed open and can be used as an insecticide. An extractive of the bark can induce paralysis if injected. When ripe the skin is green and gives slightly to pressure, similar to the avocado.

When shopping, one should look for large fruit which are uniformly green. Avoid fruits with cracks or mostly browned skin. Ripe fruit may be kept in the refrigerator, but it is best to let immature cherimoyas ripen at room temperature, until it yields to gentle pressure.

Different varieties have different characteristics of flavor, texture, and fruit shape contours. Contours can range from imprint areoles, flat areoles, slight bump or point areoles, full areoles - and combinations of the above. The flavor of the flesh ranges from mellow sweet to tangy/acidic sweet, with variable suggestions of pineapple, banana, pear, papaya, strawberry/'berry', and/or apple, depending on the variety. The usual characterization of flavor is 'pineapple/banana' flavor, similar to the flavor of the Monstera deliciosa fruit.

When the fruit is soft-ripe/fresh-ripe and still has the 'fresh' fully mature greenish/greenish-yellowish skin color, the texture is like that of a soft-ripe pear and papaya. If the skin is allowed to turn fully brown, yet the flesh hasn't fermented or gone 'bad', then the texture can be custard-like. Often when the skin turns brown at room temperature the fruit is no longer good for human consumption. Also, the skin turns brown if it's been under normal refrigeration for 'too long' - a day or two maybe.

Fresh cherimoya contains about 15% sugar (about 60kcal/100g) and some vitamin C (up to 20 mg/100g).

Cherimoya and members of the Annonaceae family also contain small amounts of neurotoxic alkaloids such as annonacin which appear to be linked to atypical parkinsonism in Guadeloupe.

The flowers are hermaphroditic, but have a mechanism to avoid self pollination. The short-lived flowers open as female, then progress to a later, male stage in a matter of hours. This requires a separate pollinator that not only can collect the pollen from flowers in the male stage, but also deposit it in flowers in the female stage. It is acknowledged that there must be such a natural pollinator, and while so far studies of insects in the cherimoya's native region have been inconclusive, some form of beetle is suspected (Schroeder 1995).

Quite often, the female flower is receptive in the early part of the first day, but pollen is not produced in the male stage until the late afternoon of the second day. Honey bees are not good pollinators, for example, because their bodies are too large to fit between the fleshy petals of the female flower. Female flowers have the petals only partially separated, and the petals separate wide when they become male flowers. So the bees pick up pollen from the male flowers, but are unable to transfer this pollen to the female flowers. The small beetles which pollinate cherimoya in its land of origin are much smaller than bees.

For fruit production outside the cherimoya's native region, cultivators must either rely upon the wind to spread pollen in dense orchards or else pollinate flowers by hand. Complicating matters is the notoriously short lifespan of cherimoya pollen.

Think Passion fruit. Chirimoya is a rough-skinned fruit much like a passion fruit. You can peel the fruit and eat it raw much like you would any other fruit.
Step 2

Have dessert. Chirimoya has the consistency of a custard apple and can be used as a substitute for custard apple recipes. Think tarts, pies or crumbles for a sweet treat.
Step 3

Use it in a savory dish. Apples have been notoriously paired with pork chops for decades, but they are also a great addition to any chicken dish. Add chopped apples to brown rice, cous cous or pilaf for a crunchy sweetness.
Step 4

Make applesauce. Applesauce is not only a great healthy breakfast or snack, it is great for baby food and baked goods. Using applesauce in breads and cookies gives them a level of moistness no other ingredient can provide.



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