Wednesday, July 1, 2009

Weird Food Wednesdays: Cherimoya


oh cherimoya
I dream about your sweet flesh
you're so hard to find


My pathetic attempt at a haiku is exactly how I feel about my new favorite fruit, the cherimoya (aka custard apple).

Doesn't the name cherimoya sound like some kind of mythical creature? It's also a bit of a tongue-twister for Hubby Kris (when suggesting this week's topic, he referred to it as "that
Jamiroquai thing")

Mark Twain has called the cherimoya "the most delicious fruit known to men". Wow, that's some endorsement!


I picked up one of these scaly beauties at Wegman's last week:


And it was no bargain at $7.99 lb - yikes!

After being slightly disappointed with the taste of dragonfruit, I was ready to be underwhelmed again. But the produce guy at Wegman's ensured me that it would taste sweet and helped me choose a ripe one (the scales start to brown a little on the edges and the fruit yields under slight pressure).


While at Wegman's, I consulted their copy of
Dr. Richter's Fresh Produce Guide:

Cherimoya

flavor: pineapple, papaya, banana
appearance: thin green scaly skin, round, oval or heart shaped (mine was slightly heart shaped...aww...)

nutrients: source of vitamin C
how to select:
firm, heavy for size, skin free of brown blotches
storage: wrap & refrigerate ripe cherimoyas fo up to 4 days
how to serve: cut in half and serve or freeze for 30 minutes and eat like sorbet


Couldn't wait to try it.

The cherimoya was very easy to slice in half, as the skin is not hard at all. It smelled like banana, apple, and strawberry. We ate one half at room temperature and the other half frozen for 30 minutes as per Dr. Richter's instructions.


OMIGOD. SO DELICIOUS.


Banana, strawberry, papaya, pineapple, guava, and vanilla - all in one! Consistency was soft but not as mushy as a banana, definitely custard like, but not completely smooth, with a few stringy/slimy fibrous parts (that last part was Kris' contribution, he just wasn't as enamored with the cherimoya as I was). And it tasted even better slightly frozen - just like dessert! But watch out for the inedible seeds (around 20 seeds in each half).




Totally worth the price - from then on, I vowed to buy a cherimoya every time I saw them.

But when we returned to Wegman's a few days later, they didn't have any :(









Where to buy:
Wegman's
gourmet/specialty food markets
or check with
Melissa's for availability and store locator

online: 24Hour Best Buy , Frieda's


References:

Richter, Henry J.
Dr. Richter's Fresh Produce Guide. New York: Tri-Foods, International, Inc., 2003.
Twain, Mark. Sacramento Daily Union, October 25, 1866.



07/18/09 update: I'm submitting this post to the
Ice Cream Social contest, held by ScottySnacks, SavortheThyme, and Tangled Noodle. Don't know whether frozen cherimoya qualifies as a frozen dessert or not but it can't hurt to try!




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21 comments:

Kris said...

I found Cherimoya's at the Amish Market in NYC. 240 E 45th St. between 2nd and 3rd Ave.. $5.99lb. I'm heading over there today to pick one up for the Wifey! Hopefully they have them in stock today.

Heavenly Housewife said...

Wow, magical things r afoot at Wegmans. I have never seen one (must be a northern thing). The way u describe the cherimoya it sounds absolutely delish. Will look out for it.

Teanna said...

WHY IS THERE NO WEGMANS BY ME!? I thought Harris Teeter had some crazy fruits! That sounds amazing! I love the banana/pineappe/papaya description! I would eat that right up!

KennyT said...

Hi Phyllis, Cherimoya looks like Sugar-apple to me http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sugar-apple

^_^

Phyllis said...

Kris: Now that you've got me all excited, you better hope they're in stock!

Heavenly Housewife: Definitely been sounding like an advertisement for Wegman's recently! I hope you can find the cherimoya in the UK (probably sitting right next to the elusive mangosteen)

Teanna: Haha, I think Harris Teeter is supplied by Melissa's too so they could probably get a cherimoya or any other exotic fruit for you!

Kenny: Thanks for the link! Yes, the sugar apple does look very similar. They seem to be in the same plant family, so I would guees that they also taste similar. Would love to try all the different varieties out there.

Justin said...

i'll have to give them a try. i think they're a bit cheaper in my neighborhood.

Jenn said...

First I've heard of this. I may have seen them once or twice at the market.

Funny how the shell looks like scales.

KennyT said...

Btw, Kris is such a sweet husband, hahaha

Phyllis said...

Justin: Awesome if you can get them cheaper! Let me know where you find them and I'll send the hubby on a recon mission.

Jenn: Yeah, they look a bit creepy with those green scales, but the name 'custard apple' made it too hard to resist. I even ate it without knowing whether I was allergic to it or not (thankfully not!)

Kris: Hi honey. What do you mean the Amish Market is OUT OF CHERIMOYAS?! Do you think msybe because you told the entire world where to get them before you actually secured one for me?

Kenny: Haha - yes he is a very sweet husband, but he has yet to bring me another cherimoya.

burpandslurp said...

wow, that is one ugly fruit. But your description of it sounds lovely! I'm going to Wegman's next week, so I'll be at lookout for it :-)

5 Star Foodie said...

This is so like Wegmans! Have something unique one day and not the next. This is what happened to me with horned melon. I had a fabulous dish in mind with it - but I let my daughter whip the egg whites and it didn't work out. Then then next day I couldn't find the horned melon anymore. I'll see if Wegmans have Cherimoya one day - definitely will pick it up to try.

fruitnut said...

Yum! We also have Cherimoya: Friedas.com

Tangled Noodle said...

First of all, you and Kris are just about the sweetest couple (not counting me and Mr. Noodle, natch!)

I have seen cherimoyas and now, to my deep regret, I have walked past cherimoyas! Aaarrrggghhh! Why am I not more adventurous? Why can't I ever say, "Hey, what's this unusual-looking thing? I think I'll try it!"? Now that I know how great it is, I will not find it ever again. [Glum]

Phyllis said...

burpandslurp: good luck finding it at Wegman's - I haven't seen cherimoyas during my last couple visits so I finally asked the produce guy about it and he said that they stopped ordering them due to low demand! Hubby left his name so they can call him if they ever get any more in.

5 Star Foodie: Today I'm in love with Wegmans because they had a lot of in-store cooking demonstrations (ie. free food!!)and they actually had some mangosteen in stock (albeit sad-looking ones). But they still didn't have my beloved cherimoya:( And I think I saw horned melon there before but never got it -definitely a Weird Food Wednesday topic!

fruitnut: Thanks for visiting and for letting me know that you sell Cherimoya at Friedas.com! You have some wonderful exotic/rare produce on your website!

Tangled Noodle: Budget permitting, I buy everything weird I see because of the hit-n-miss nature of Wegman's = here today, gone tomorrow! Glum is right - where have all the cherimoyas gone? And I just read hubby your comment about us and he replied "you know it!" :)

Jackie at PhamFatale.com said...

I love cherimoya. I tried to grow some in my garden but I guess the weather is not warm enough in Northern California.
Cherimoya and peach and papaya is a great pairing for a fruit soup but I find this tropical fruit to be so expensive. The one that are grown in Florida aren't as sweet as the one in Asia. The ones from Indian and Vietnam are to die for.

Phyllis said...

Jackie: Oh, I would love to try cherimoya from India or Vietnam, I'm already such a big fan of the domestically grown ones, that's unbelievable that it can taste even better! They are quite hard to find so I was going to try planting the seeds but I don't think it'll survive the Northeast winter.

Trupti said...

i love custard apple. I will chk wegmna's toady to buy these.


Trupti
Fashion Deals For Less
Recipe Center

Phyllis said...

Hi Trupti, thanks for visiting. I hope you can find cherimoya at your local Wegman's, most don't carry it because of lack of demand. Love the recipes on your site!

anna said...

I love cherimoyas! They look like big green heart-shaped armadillos and taste like every tropical fruit at once! Sosososo wonderful. Always worth the price.

Phyllis said...

Anna: Thanks for visiting! 'green heart shaped armadillos' - what a fabulous description of my new favorite fruit! Totally worth the price, but hard to find.

WizzyTheStick said...

KennyT- sugar apple is a cousin to cherimoyas (custard apples). They are just as delicious but slightly different flavoured and textured.