This fruit resembles an artichoke – heart-shaped and green. While cherimoya aren’t a usual crop in New Zealand, it can grow well here in climates with consistent periods of warm days and cool nights. Fruit are harvested when firm.
Like choosing avocado, choose firm, ‘unripe’ cherimoya without any bruising. Place in a spot out of the sun at room temperature to ripen. Cherimoya ‘feel’ like ripe avocado when ready to eat (and the skin may turn brownish).
Once ripe, cherimoya can be stored, wrapped in newspaper in the fridge, for up to four days.
High in fibre and vitamin B6, cherimoya also provide small amounts of many essential nutrients.
Cherimoya flesh is white and soft with large black seeds (which aren’t eaten). The fruit is juicy, with a sweet, ‘subtropical’ flavour and it can be eaten scooped from the skin. Or peel and add cubed pieces to fruit salads. To prevent cherimoya from browning, dip pieces in lemon or orange juice. Mashed flesh makes a great pancake filling or add the fruit to a waffle mixture for a twist on a brunch favourite.
Did you know? Cherimoya is also known as custard apple.