Introducing Cherimoya Fruit — Nature’s Ice Cream

by Dorothy Reinhold on January 26, 2012

Print This Post Print This Post Cherimoya Fruit -- Nature's Ice Cream

“The most delicious fruit known to men”

— Mark Twain, writing about the cherimoya in The Sacramento Daily Union, Oct. 25, 1866

Cherimoya FruitDubbed “custard fruit” or “custard apple” for a good reason, the cherimoya is a wonderful discovery in the produce department, especially for those who have a sweet tooth but might be trying to toe the New-Year’s-resolution line when it comes to desserts and goodies.

Because here’s the little secret…I’ll whisper it…cut this baby in half, grab a spoon, dig in and it tastes just like custard or ice cream.

Cherimoya Fruit cut, with spoonNo lie.

Outside, it looks like what your fertile imagination would say is a dinosaur egg, with its matte green shingled skin, but once you thwack it open, it reveals a creamy ivory colored flesh that is naturally sweet, with a bit of a hint of pineapple, or mango, or maybe peach, or all three. Hmmm…maybe even a pina colada flavor, without the booze! A few large black seeds are easily flung out of the way. There’s no need for a bowl, either. Just scoop straight from the skin and into your gaping maw, like you would a melon.Cherimoya Fruit with seeds

A few more helpful bits for you:

  • Say it:  Chair-i-moya.
  • Ripe: At the store, choose fruit that is firm and allow to ripen at room temperature. As it ripens, the skin begins to turn a darker green and will yield to gentle pressure.
  • Careful: Handle gently or you will bruise it.
  • Chill: When fruit is ripe, refrigerate and use as soon as possible for best flavor.
Nick eating a cherimoya

Don’t even bother with a spoon if you’re 10. Bonus for eating outside is you can pa-tooie the seeds!

It’s a sub-tropical, and this time of year it’s grown commercially in Santa Barbara. Mine came from the fine produce purveyors at Melissa’s Produce, who tell me the peak season this year is Feb.-May, and they sell for about $3.50 or so a pound.

After the Santa Barbara fruit is done in August, cherimoyas might come from far-away Chile (Sept.-Dec.) and the price will increase accordingly, to near $5 a pound. So get them now through early summer to bless both your wallet and your karma.

Cherimoya was originally grown by Inca farmers in Ecuador and Peru (thanks for that, as well as the potato!), but has now spread across the globe.

It’s easy to see why!

Katie eating a cherimoya

What else can you do with cherimoya, other than eat it out of hand?

  • Cut up in fruit salads or green salads
  • Whirl in with your smoothie (remove skin and seeds first, of course)
  • Freeze flesh and whirl in food processor to make a frozen faux ice cream

But the best way is this…

Scooping a cherimoya fruit

Cherimoya fruit eaten

Disclosure: Melissa’s Produce provided a sample of the fruit mentioned in this article. There was no expectation or requirement of endorsement. My opinions, as always, are my own.

{ 6 comments… read them below or add one }

Vitor Velosa August 20, 2021 at 8:26 am

There is A lot of this Fruit naturally Grown in the Portuguese volcanic island Madeira. It is actually soft and sweet. The locals pull it apart in half and turn the outside skin inwards leaving the Ivory inside out and ready to eat.


Rituparna January 31, 2012 at 12:54 am

Oh delicious ! We get something very similar in India called Sitafal or Custard Apple. The skin is not so smooth and the inside’s look a little different as well, but they taste similar.

Reply January 28, 2012 at 12:24 am

I LOVE this fruit. The only place I have seen it sold is the Farmer’s Market in Santa Monica. I wish more stores would get on board to sell this. The taste is divine!


Dorothy January 29, 2012 at 6:27 pm

Agreed that I would like to see these in more stores! You can ask your produce manager to order them, though. Just a thought.


Connie Kaiser January 27, 2012 at 8:49 am



Dorothy January 27, 2012 at 10:31 am

You MUST buy this fruit! I silently handed it to my son, age 10, and he spontaneously said, “This tastes like ice cream!”


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