In Season: Cherimoyas

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Cherimoyas are just coming into season, and this odd-looking fruit is something to look forward to. Heavy and and heart-shaped, the fruit has dark green skin with ridged tiles that turn bronze as it ripens. Like avocados and bananas, the fruit softens rapidly after being picked. In fact, this speedy ripening is one reason the cherimoya and its close relatives the custard-apple and pawpaw have never gained wide popularity in the United States.

But the fruit inside that scaly skin is something wonderful...

It has the softness of a ripe pear, the rich sweetness of banana, the tang of pineapple and the creaminess of avocado. The most common description is custardlike. The best way to eat a cherimoya is to split it in half and eat the creamy flesh with a spoon, setting aside the large dark seeds.

Start looking for cherimoyas in November; they are mostly imported from South America, especially Chile. Some are grown in California, but those are usually not available until January. Avoid very soft or brown specimens and let hard, green fruit ripen at room temperature until it is quite soft and the color has turned bronze.

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Faith is the executive editor of The Kitchn and the author of three cookbooks. They include Bakeless Sweets (Spring 2013) as well as The Kitchn's first cookbook, which will be published in Fall 2014. She lives in Columbus, Ohio with her husband Mike.