If you’ve never tried cherimoya, you are in for a real treat. Also known as a “custard apple,” one juicy bite and you’ll know why. The taste is the best qualities of mango, banana, papaya, and vanilla flavors and the flesh itself is creamy smooth.
A tropical American fruit, cherimoyas are popular in the Southern hemisphere and Spain. They have a deep green skin and creamy white flesh dotted with large black seeds. In Britain they’re called custard apples, which aptly describes their texture and flavor.
Cherimoyas can be purchased online from Amazon.com or melissas.com and need to be allowed to ripen until soft before using. The black seeds are poisonous when crushed, so be sure to discard them. Cherimoyas offer vitamin B6—an antioxidant (Ao) and an anti-inflammatory (Ai), vitamin C, iron, and riboflavin for cell energy. Cherimoyas are in season pretty much all year long. Very ripe, soft pears can be used in place of cherimoyas in recipes, but pears don’t have the same anti-inflammatory properties.
You can smash cherimoyas and use the pulp in smoothies or as a sauce for ice cream, but I love to cut them in half and just eat the flesh with a spoon. If delicious, exotic taste weren’t enough, cherimoyas are also an excellent source of FoodTrients, full of age-defying, health-promoting, healing properties like:
Vitamin C– One average-sized cherimoya contains about 90 calories and 35% of the RDA for vitamin C. A natural anti-oxidant, vitamin C promotes healing, formation of cartilage, tendons and ligaments. By consuming one cherimoya daily—about one cup– it helps develop resistance to infections and assists in the elimination of pro-inflammatory free radicals from the body.
Cardiovascular Health – The fruit reduces bad cholesterol (LDL) and increases good cholesterol (HDL) levels in the blood, improving blood flow to the heart, which can reduce the risk of heart attacks. The potassium in cherimoya regulates heart rate and blood pressure, offering protection from strokes. Cherimoyas are a good source of fiber which helps prevent the absorption of cholesterol in the GI tract.
B Complex Vitamins – Cherimoyas are a good source of B vitamins which help your metabolism and immune system function properly. They also contribute to healthy skin, hair, eyes, liver and help the nervous system function properly. A serving of cherimoya provides 20% of the RDA for B6 (pyridoxine), which contributes to the reduction of stress and depression.
Fiber – One medium cherimoya provides about 8% of your daily dietary fiber needs. Fiber adds bulk which is essential for keeping the digestive tract healthy, maintaining steady blood sugar levels and protecting from type 2 diabetes.
Minerals – Cherimoyas are rich in copper, magnesium, iron and manganese and contain more of these minerals for their weight than many common fruits like apples.
Antioxidants – Cherimoyas contain several polyphenol antioxidants, which limit damage caused to the cells by free radicals.
Good for Your Skin – The generous amount of vitamin C in cherimoyas helps in the formation of collagen which provides elasticity to the skin, keeping it healthy and youthful. It also helps to combat free radicals in the body.
Promotes Hair Growth – Cherimoya contains nutrients like magnesium, zinc iron and vitamin C, which promote hair growth.
Though I love eating cherimoyas plain, I like to use them as an exotic ingredient paired with familiar ones in nostalgic recipes from my past. For a special treat I make my mother’s recipe for Cherimoya Circles which are custard-like balls rolled in sugar. Through some experimentation, I have modified this recipe to make it healthier, yet still rich and indulgent. Even though cherimoyas are in season in North America from November to May, you can purchase them online from Amazon.com or www.melissas.com all year long.
Reduce inflammatory process in cells, tissues, and blood vessels, helping to slow aging and reduce risk of long-term disease.
Prevents and repairs oxidative damage to cells caused by free radicals.
Support the body’s resistance to infection and strengthen immune vigilance and response.
Improves mood, memory, and focus.
Reduces risk factors for common degenerative and age-related diseases.