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How to Eat a Cherimoya

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Have you ever wondered exactly how to eat a cherimoya?

I’ll show you how to enjoy a delicious, custardy cherimoya as well as answer commonly asked questions about this delicious fruit!

What is a cherimoya?

Cherimoya fruit (also called chirimoya and custard apple) are custardy, heart-shaped fruits that have a greenish skin and creamy, white flesh.

They’re native to Central and South America but can grow in many tropical and subtropical climates. In the US, they are often grown in Florida, California, and Hawaii. 

Cherimoyas look a little like small dragon eggs with the patterned overlapping “scales” on their skin. They usually weigh about 1/2 to 1 pound, although they can grow as large as 6 pounds!

A large greenish-brown cherimoya being held in a hand.

How to tell when a cherimoya is ripe?

Slightly squeeze it and it will feel soft (like a ripe mango). If the cherimoya is hard it’s not ready to eat.

A ripe cherimoya might also have a cracked open stem (the juice might already be coming out a bit). 

When it's ripe, the greenish skin should have some darker brown areas. If the cherimoya's skin is bright green and shiny it's not yet ripe.

The base of a cherimoya fruit.

More Cherimoya FAQs

What does a cherimoya taste like?

A cherimoya tastes like a custardy pear with hints of mango, pineapple, and coconut.

It has juicy, whitish flesh with large black seeds (that should not be eaten). 

Is the skin of the cherimoya edible?

The skin of a cherimoya is bitter and should not be eaten. You can peel it off or scoop the flesh out of the skin with a spoon.

How to open a cherimoya?

You can pull apart a ripe cherimoya with your hands or cut it with a small knife. 

Ripe cherimoya can be pulled apart by pressing your thumbs into the base (remove the stem first). Watch out though, ripe cherimoyas can be very juicy!

Can you eat raw cherimoya?

Yes, you can eat raw cherimoya! Cherimoya can be used in baked goods and desserts, but it's delicious raw. Just don't eat the seeds.

What part of a cherimoya do you eat?

You eat the fleshy, white part of the cherimoya. Avoid eating the seeds and the skin.

How do you eat a fresh cherimoya?

You can pull apart a ripe cherimoya with your hands or cut it with a small knife. 

You can scoop the flesh out of the skin with a spoon. Pick around the seeds or spit them out, as they should not be eaten.

How poisonous is a cherimoya seed?

Cherimoya seeds contain a resin that causes nausea, vomiting, and other uncomfortable symptoms. It's especially toxic when the seeds are crushed.

Be careful not to ingest any or bite down on any of the seeds.

Why is cherimoya fruit so expensive?

Cherimoya is not cheap! If you are lucky enough to find it in a grocery store it can cost anywhere between $5 and $12 per piece of fruit!

Because cherimoya is so rare (and expensive) because each tree produces little fruit and it has to be hand-pollinated, making it an extremely labor-intensive fruit.

When is cherimoya in season?

Cherimoya fruit is in season from January to June in Central and South America, but in the US it can usually be found between March and May.

A cherimoya cut in half on a black cutting board.
A halved cherimoya being held in a hand.
A spoon scooping out a piece of cherimoya.
Yield: 1 to 2 servings

How to Eat a Cherimoya

A ripe cherimoya fruit sitting on a marble background.

Cherimoya is a delicious, custardy fruit. It has fantastic flavors, but can be confusing if you've never eaten it before. Here's how to easily open and enjoy a cherimoya fruit.

Prep Time 2 minutes
Total Time 2 minutes

Ingredients

  • 1 ripe cherimoya*
  • Cutting board
  • Knife
  • Spoon

Instructions

  1. Remove the stem from the cherimoya if it has one.
  2. Cut the cherimoya in half with the knife on the cutting board. Or pull it apart by pressing your thumbs in the base and pulling the sides back till it splits.
  3. Using a spoon, scoop the flesh out and pop it in your mouth. Spit out any seeds, without biting them (as they are toxic).
  4. Continue to scoop out the flesh until you reach the skin.

Notes

*A ripe cherimoya will have greenish-brownish skin and be easy to squeeze (like a ripe mango). If it feels hard, it's not ready to eat.

Nutrition Information:

Yield:

2

Serving Size:

1

Amount Per Serving: Calories: 88Total Fat: 1gSaturated Fat: 0gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 0gCholesterol: 0mgSodium: 8mgCarbohydrates: 21gFiber: 4gSugar: 15gProtein: 2g

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