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Plantidote of the Day 2011-01-19

twig's picture


Annona cherimola


Ewwwwww!! How could anyone eat that? With a spoon and great big blissed out smile -- that's how!

Obviously, the cherimoya (cher-uh-MOY-ah) is never going to win a Beautiful Fruit contest. But beneath that scaly, leather-like exterior is one of the most delicious flavors ever. A ripe cherimoya tastes like a combination of pineapple and banana with a hint of vanilla and is very sweet, but not at all cloying. (In some places, cherimoyas are known as "ice cream trees.") The fruit's texture is like pudding; you can spoon it right from the skin into your mouth, but watch out for the big black seeds. Not only are they hard as rocks, they're also poisonous.

A native of South America, cherimoyas thrive in moderate climates all over the world, including here in Zone 10. Cherimoyas are easy to grow. They mature into big, sturdy trees, 20 to 30 feet high and often just as wide. Getting them to fruit, however, requires hand pollination and it must be done at a specific time. A pain in the keister, but totally worth it, if you ask me. California is the primary source of these fruits domestically, and few of them ever leave the state. If by some chance a cherimoya turns up in your market, it's definitely worth trying. Just wait until the skin turns dark olive green/brown (like the one in the image) and it feels soft to the touch before eating. You can thank me later.

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Readers, please send twig ( images and stories for the ongoing Plantidote of the Day series. In exchange, you'll win undying fame in the form of a hat tip! Plants growing in your garden, your house, or neighbor's yard, plants from the forest or farmers' market, plants you preserved, plants you prepared (wine; cider; tea; dried beans), plants you harvested (grains; chanterelles), plants you picked (flowers), plants you dried (herbs), plants you covet or hope to grow someday. Herbal remedies, propagation tips, new varieties, etc.. And if you can, include some solid detail about the plant, too -- a story, the genus and species, or where you got the seeds, or the recipe, or your grandmother gave it to you. Or challenge us with a "Name That Plant" mystery entry ... And please feel free to add corrections and additional information in the comments.

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votermom's picture
Submitted by votermom on

which are the same family, I think, are very very yummy.