Cherimoya facts and health benefits

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Cherimoya Quick Facts
Name: Cherimoya
Scientific Name: Annona cherimola
Origin Native to the Andes of Peru and Ecuador
Colors Green when young turning to greenish-yellowish as they mature
Shapes Oval or heart shaped, often slightly oblate, 10–20 cm long and 7–10 cm in diameter, with a smooth or slightly tuberculated (knobby) skin
Flesh colors Creamy white
Calories 120 Kcal./cup
Major nutrients Vitamin B6 (31.62%)
Vitamin C (22.44%)
Carbohydrate (21.80%)
Vitamin B2 (16.15%)
Vitamin B1 (13.50%)
Health benefits Kills Lice, Helps in preventing anemia, Relieves Constipation, Brain Health, Maintains Health of the Skin, Fights Free Radicals, Promotes the growth of healthy hair, Aids in weight loss, Prevents Cancer, Delay the signs of ageing, Good for diabetics, Promotes digestive health, Good for your bones, Boosts Immunity, Cardiovascular Benefits
Sweet, pulpy, and fragrant rich cherimoya is one of the most delicious tropical fruits of Andean valley origin. These greenish-yellow, conical fruits are from the evergreen trees belonging to the family Annonaceae, in the genus of Annona. The plant has been thought to be native to Loja region of Ecuador, bordering Peru, the low rising tropical forests of Central Andean Mountains.  The name originates from the Quechua word chirimuya, which means “cold seeds”, because the plant grows at high altitudes and the seeds will germinate at higher altitudes.

The cherimoya (Annona cherimola), also spelled chirimoya and called Chirimuya by the Inca people, is an edible fruit-bearing species grown in tropical regions throughout the world. The creamy texture of the flesh gives the fruit its secondary name, custard apple. Apart from Cherimoya it is also called sugar Apple, Anona, Chirimoya, Chermoya, Hanuman phala, Noina ostrelia and Sherbet-fruit.


Cherimoya  scientifically known as Annona cherimola is a fairly dense, fast-growing, woody, briefly deciduous but mostly evergreen low branched, spreading tree or shrub about 5 -9 meters (16-30 ft.) tall. Mature branches are sappy and woody; young branches and twigs have a matting of short, fine, rust colored hairs. The plant prefers sunny exposure, buoyant marine air and cool nights and thrives well on a wide range of soil types from light to heavy, but seems to do best on a well-drained, medium soil of moderate fertility. It has reportedly grown well on rock-strewn, loose, sandy loam 2 to 3 ft. (0.6-0.9 m) above gravel subsoil.


Leaves are single and alternate attached to the branches with stout 6-10 millimeters (0.24 -0.39 in) long and densely hairy leaf stalks. Leathery leaves are 5 – 25 centimeters (2.0-9.8 in) long, 3-10 centimeters (1.2 -3.9 in) wide mostly elliptic, pointed at the ends and rounded near the leaf stalk. When young they are covered with soft, fine, tangled, rust colored hairs and when mature, hairs are found only along the veins on the under surface. Tops are hairless and a dull medium green with paler veins backs velvety, dull grey-green with raised pale green veins. New leaves are whitish below.


Flowers are 3 centimeters (1.2 in) long, with very strong fruity odor, each with three outer, greenish, fleshy, oblong, downy petals and 3 smaller, pinkish inner petals with yellow or brown finely matted hairs outside, whitish with purple spot and many stamens on the inside. They appear on the branches opposite to the leaves, solitary or in pairs or groups of three, on flower stalks that are covered densely with fine rust colored hairs, 8- 12 millimeters (0.31-0.47 in) long. Buds are 15-18 millimeters (0.59 -0.71 in) long and 5-8 millimeters (0.20-0.31 in) wide at the base.


Fruit is large green conical or heart-shaped about 10-20 centimeters (3.9 -7.9 in) long, and diameters of 5 centimeters (2.0 in), with skin that gives the appearance of having overlapping scales or knobby warts. Ripe fruit has the average weight of 150 -500 grams (5.3-18 oz.) but extra-large specimens may weigh 2.7 kilograms (6.0 lb.) or even more. The ripened flesh is creamy white. When ripe, the skin is green and gives slightly to pressure. Some describe the fruit flavor as a mixture of banana, pineapple, papaya, peach, and strawberry. Fruit can be chilled and eaten with a spoon, which has earned it another nickname, the ice cream fruit. Indeed, in Peru, it is commonly used in ice creams and yogurt.

Flesh contains several hard, inedible, brown or black, bean like, glossy seeds, 1-2 centimeters (0.39-0.79 in) long and about half as wide. Cherimoya seeds are poisonous if crushed open.

Health benefits of Cherimoya

Cherimoya is a wonderful source of vitamin C offering nearly 1/5th of the daily recommended value. Apart from that, it is a very good source of carbohydrates, potassium, fiber, several essential vitamins and minerals besides being free of cholesterol and saturated fat and low in sodium. Thus, it offers several health benefits which are pointed below

1. Cardiovascular Benefits

Cherimoya consists of well-balanced amount of potassium and sodium which helps to regulate blood pressure level and heart rate. Several researches has proven that regular consumption of cherimoya is quite beneficial for reducing bad cholesterol (LDL) and boost good cholesterol (HDL) in Blood. Thus it improves blood flow towards heart offering protection against stroke, hypertension and heart attack.

2. Boosts Immunity

Cherimoya is rich in vitamin C which plays an important role in improving the immune system function. Vitamin C is a powerful natural antioxidant that helps the body develop resistance against infectious agents and helps to eliminates harmful free radicals from the body. Thus, it provides immunity against common diseases like cold and flu as well as prevents infections.

3. Good for your bones

Amongst its many nutritional ingredients, cherimoya fruit is a great natural source of bone building calcium. Regular consumption of cherimoya will help to maintain strong and healthy bones; it can also ward off the development of osteoporosis.

4. Promotes digestive health

Cherimoya is a rich source of dietary fiber which improves the health of the digestive system. Fiber present in cherimoya helps in preventing digestive disorders like constipation by adding bulk to your stools and regularizing bowel movements.

5. Good for diabetics

Cherimoya has low glycemic index which means that it provides a slow release of glucose in to the blood stream. As a result, it does not cause significant spikes in the blood sugar levels, which is very important for people suffering from diabetes. Apart from that dietary fiber in this fruit also helps in keeping the blood sugar levels under control. Thus cherimoya is a wonderful food option to be included in a diabetic diet.

6. Delay the signs of ageing

Cherimoya fruit is quite beneficial for anti-ageing. Frequent consumption of cherimoya fruit help to delay the start of the signs of ageing. Nutrients contained in the fruit will both keep the skin firm and supple and the antioxidants help to fight the cell damage that can be caused by free radicals.

7. Prevents Cancer

Rich antioxidant content in cherimoya provides this fruit with anti-cancer benefits. Cancer cells are formed due to free radicals produced by oxidative stress. These antioxidants help to neutralize the effect of free radicals. Moreover, cherimoya consists of considerable amounts of dietary fiber which prevents absorption of cholesterol in the gut and prevents the mucus membrane of the colon from exposure to toxic substances, thus decreasing the risk of colon and liver cancers. It also offers protection against breast cancer.

8. Aids in weight loss

Cherimoya is low in calories and contains no saturated fat and cholesterol. All these features together with the presence of high amounts of fiber make it an excellent weight loss aid. Fiber in cherimoya keeps you full for an extended period of time, thus preventing you from frequent snacking or eating too much. Including this fruit in your daily diet is a great way to get all the important nutrients into your body without worrying about extra calories.

9. Promotes the growth of healthy hair

Cherimoya fruit is an extremely nutritious fruit that contains good amount of magnesium, vitamin c, iron and zinc. All these nutrients are quite beneficial for good hair growth. Eating a healthy and balanced diet that includes fruits, like Cherimoya, can dramatically improve the condition of your hair.

10. Fights Free Radicals

Vitamin C found in cherimoya helps inhibit free radicals from destroying lipids, as a result, boosts overall cardiac health. It helps to increase HDL levels or good cholesterol and decreases LDL levels or bad cholesterol. This increases heart blood flow, thus lowering the chances of heart attacks. Also, cherimoya has balanced sodium to potassium ratio, which helps in controlling blood pressure and heart rate. It also neutralizes the harmful effects of sodium. Fiber in cherimoya helps to prevent cholesterol absorption in the intestine.

11. Maintains Health of the Skin

As mentioned before Cherimoya fruit has a high content of Vitamin C, which is vital for maintaining the health of the skin. Vitamin C helps in the formation of collagen, a protein, that offers elasticity to the skin. Apart from that Vitamin C also helps to combat free radicals in the body, providing healthy and flawless skin.

12. Brain Health

Cherimoya fruit is a good source of B vitamins, mainly vitamin B6 (pyridoxine) which helps to controls the GABA neuro chemical levels in your brain. Sufficient GABA levels help to calm down irritability, depression and headache ailments. Vitamin B6 also protects against Parkinson’s disease as well as relieves stress and tension. 100 grams of cherimoya fruit contains around 0.527 mg or 20 % of daily recommended levels of vitamin B6. So include cherimoya in your regular diet plan to get sufficient amount of vitamin B6.

13. Relieves Constipation

Medium-size cherimoya can give 5 grams of dietary fiber, which is nearly 90% of the suggested amount. Fiber is vital for maintaining the health of the digestive tract and reducing blood sugar levels. It also helps relieve constipation by adding bulk to stool.

14. Helps in preventing anemia

Deficiency of iron is a major cause of anemia in people. Regular consumption of cherimoya can prevent this condition because this fruit is an excellent source of iron.

15. Kills Lice

Mash up the seeds and mix it with milk until it makes a sort of paste. Use the paste as a great lice killer. Rub this mixture on your head to suffocate and kill lice. Repeating this treatment daily is a great way to get rid of lice quickly.


Annona cherimola is considered to have originated in South America and was perhaps native to Ecuador, but is now widely found in Central and South America and is a common cultivation across both regions. Loja province, and Vilcabamba in particular (south Ecuador), is considered by some authors to be its center of origin. This area is categorized by temperate, dry inter-Andean valleys. Mesoamerica (Mexico) is considered a second center of origin. It also now commonly occurs in the West Indies and Caribbean and is cultivated around the world, including Peru, Chile, Ecuador, Bolivia, Mexico, Spain, USA (California) and New Zealand. Spain is the most important producer worldwide with approximately 3300 ha [in 1999]concentrated in the Almuñecar and Motril valleys (southern Spain, Andalusia). The crop has also been introduced in South Africa, Australia, Brazil, Venezuela and a number of other Latin American countries for commercial growth purposes.


1. Bays

Tree is broad, to 20 ft. Grow best in Carpenteria area. Fruits are round, medium size, light green, skin shows fingerprint like marks. Flavor is good, almost lemony.

2. Big Sister

Fruit are large, very smooth, good flavor; impressa type. They are often self-fruitful.

3. Booth

This variety is hardiest among other cherimoya and does well in most present growing areas. Tree is 20 to 30 feet high. Fruit is conical, impressa type, medium size, rather seedy, with flavor that suggests papaya.

4. Chaffey

Tree is rather open, fast growing and is appropriate for coastal areas. Fruit is small to medium, round, impressa type, with high, lemony flavor.

5. Ecuador

Tree is broad, branches limber and spreading. It is mostly selected for superior hardiness. Fruit is medium, quite dark green, mammillated, flavor is good.

6. El Bumpo

Fruit is conical, medium size, mammillated, not suited for commerce. Skin is soft, practically edible. Flavor is among the finest.

7. Honeyhart

Fruit is medium, skin smooth, plated, yellowish green. Pulp has smooth texture, excellent flavor, very juicy. Fruit ripens from November to March.

8. Knight

Recovered from Dr. Pierce’s ranch, Goleta, in 1950’s and spread under several names. Tree has medium vigor, medium-sized pale green wavy leaves. Fruit has minor protuberances, a thin skin, and a slightly grainy texture and is quite sweet.

9. Libby

Tree is large. Fruit is impressa type, round conical; early harvest. The fruit has sweet, strong flavor.

10. McPherson

Tree is pyramidal, vigorous; to 30 ft. Fruits are small to medium in size, conical, dark green, impressa type, not seedy. Flavor suggests banana, sweetness varies with temperature while maturing.

11. Nata

Tree is vigorous, bears quickly, flowers profuse, tendency to self-pollinating. Fruits are smooth, light green, conical, 1-1/2 to 2-1/2 pounds. Skin is thin and tender. Flavor has good sweet-acid balance.

12. Ott

Tree is strong growing. Fruit is medium, heart shaped tuberculate, flesh yellow, seedy, very sweet. Mature early.

13. Pierce

This cultivar was Dr. Pierce’s favorite and was named “Pierce” by him. Tree is vigorous with large dark green leaves. Fruit is medium sized elongated conically shaped with very smooth skin and high sugar content.

14. Sabor

Fruit is mammillated, varies in size, not usually large. The fruit has best flavor.

15. Whaley

Tree is moderately vigorous. Fruit is medium to large elongated conical, tuberculate, light green, flavor good. Seed is enclosed in an obtrusive sac of flesh.

16. White

Tree is open, unkempt; to 35 feet, needs forming. The tree grows well near coast. Fruit is large, to 4 pounds, conical, with superficial small lumps. Flesh is juicy, flavor weak, suggesting mango-papaya.

Traditional benefits of Cherimoya

  • Seed is powdered and used medicinally.
  • Seed powder is mixed with grease as treatment for parasitic skin disorders.
  • Decoction of the skin of the fruit is taken to relieve pneumonia.
  • Rural people toast, peel and pulverize 1 or 2 seeds and take the powder with water or milk as a potent emetic and cathartic.
  • Leaves and stem barks of Annona senegalensis are used as antidiarrheal drugs.
  • Roots and leaves are used in respiratory complaints.

Culinary Uses

  • Fruit can be consumed raw.
  • Flesh of the ripe cherimoya is most commonly eaten out of-hand or scooped with a spoon from the cut open fruit.
  • Fruit is used for making ice cream, milk shakes, sorbets, custard, and cakes.
  • Fruit is processed into yoghurt, flan fruit juice and wine.
  • It is commonly added to fruit salads.
  • Colombians strain out the juice, add a slice of lemon and dilute with ice-water to make a refreshing soft drink.
  • Fruit can be fermented to produce an alcoholic beverage.
  • Add mashed pulp to yogurt or freeze with coconut milk into semifreddo.

Other Facts

  • Crushed seed is used as an insecticide.
  • Mixed with grease, powdered seeds are used to kill lice.
  • In Jamaica, the dried flowers have been used as flavoring for snuff.

Selection and storage of cherimoya

When buying cherimoya, look for the ones that are firm with a greenish yellow tinge. Avoid fruits that are wrinkled, have blemishes and have turned dark in color. Once you have bought cherimoyas, keep them at room temperature and allow them to ripen. To know if they have ripened, gently press them. Ripe cherimoyas will yield to gentle pressure. This fruit has a short shelf life and hence should be consumed as soon as it is ripe. Keeping them in the refrigerator for a long time is not recommended as they lose their flavor and freshness. However, cherimoya can be juiced and kept in the refrigerator for several days or even weeks.

Cherimoya Recipe

Cherimoya Tart


  • 6 Key limes
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 1 package (14 ounces) butter puff pastry, thawed according to package directions
  • 1 egg, lightly beaten
  • 2 cherimoyas (1 to 1 1/4 pounds)
  • 8 raspberries


  1. Grate enough of the limes with a box grater or micro plane to get one-half teaspoon zest. Spread half the zest on a sheet of wax or parchment paper to dry. Reserve the remaining fresh one-fourth teaspoon zest. Juice the limes to get approximately one-fourth cup juice.
  2. In a small saucepan, dissolve the sugar in one-half cup water and bring to a boil. Reduce heat to a simmer and cook to a syrupy consistency without stirring, about 15 minutes (about 230 degrees). Remove from the heat and cool to room temperature. Stir in the fresh un-dried lime zest and 1 teaspoon lime juice. Set aside.
  3. Butter the bottom and sides of an 11-by-8-inch tart pan with a removable bottom. Unfold the puff pastry and roll out creases with a rolling pin. Drape the dough up onto the rolling pin and lift onto the tart pan. Gently ease the dough into the tart pan pressing it onto the bottom and against sides of the pan. Press the dough around the top edges of the pan to cut dough even with the top of the tart pan.
  4. Brush the bottom and sides of the dough with beaten egg mixed with 1 teaspoon water. Refrigerate 30 minutes. Prick the dough over the bottom and sides with a fork or run a dough docker over the bottom of the tart. (It is unnecessary to use pie weights.)
  5. Bake 25 to 30 minutes in a 350-degree oven until the pastry is golden brown. If the bottom of the dough puffs too much during baking, gently press it down without breaking the pastry. Remove from the oven and let cool to warm. When the pastry is cool enough to handle, gently loosen the sides of the shell from the pan with a knife, and remove the shell to a serving platter.
  6. Cut the cherimoyas into quarters. Peel each quarter and cut into one-fourth-inch-thick slices, removing seeds with the tip of the knife as you slice. Brush the slices with the leftover lime juice as you slice them to prevent browning.
  7. Arrange cherimoya slices on top of the baked puff pastry in an attractive pattern. Brush the fruit generously with the lime syrup. Sprinkle the dried lime peel over the tart. Scatter raspberries over the top, so each serving has a raspberry. Cut into slices and serve.

Side Effects of cherimoya fruit

Atypical Parkinson’s disease

Research have shown that cherimoyas contain a toxic chemical called annonacin which can result in occurrence of severe neurological damage and ‘atypical Parkinson’s’ disease.

Fruit skin and the bark of Cherimoya when injected into the body can lead to paralysis for 4 to 5 hours.

Allergic reactions

Consuming some parts of the cherimoya fruit can lead to allergic reactions for example itching, skin rashes and swelling of the face.

Contraindicated during pregnancy

Consuming cherimoya fruit has been considered unsafe during pregnancy.

Cherimoya Facts

Cherimoya scientifically known as Annona cherimola is a fairly dense, fast-growing, woody, mostly evergreen (but may be briefly deciduous), low-branched, spreading tree or shrub native to Andes of  Peru and Ecuador.  Apart from cherimoya it is also known as Sugar Apple, Anona, Chirimoya, Chermoya, Hanuman phala, Noina ostrelia and Sherbet-fruit. Because of its higher nutritional value and wonderful taste it is grown throughout the world.

Name Cherimoya
Scientific Name Annona cherimola
Native Native to the Andes of  Peru and Ecuador
Common Names Sugar Apple, Anona, Chirimoya, Chermoya, Hanuman phala, Noina ostrelia, Sherbet-fruit.
Name in Other Languages Brazil: Atemoia, graveola, graviola, or grabiola
Bolivia: Chirimoya
Chinese:  Mao ye fan li zhi
Dominican Republic: Chermoya; chirimolia
El Salvador: Anona poshte
English: Cherimoya, Chirimolla, Chirimoya, chirimoyo, custard apple
Finnish: Suomuannoona
French: Anone chérimolier, chérimole, chérimolier, chérimoyer, corossol du Pérou, Annone, Anona, Cachiman , Cachiman cÏur de bÏuf
German: Cherimolia, cherimoyabaum, Perúanischer fraschenbaum, Cherimoya, Jamaikapfel, Rahmapfel, Zuckerannone, Zuckerapfel
Haiti: Cachimán; cachiman de la china; cachimán de la chin
Hawaiian: Kelemoio, momona
Italian: Cerimolia, cerimoya
Japanese: Cherimoa (チェリモア ), Cherimoya(チェリモヤ  )
Mexico: Pox or poox
Myanmar: Cherimoyer; thinbaw-awza
Portuguese: Anona do Chile, cabeça de negro, chirimólia, fruta do conde, Chirimorriñón, Chirimoya, Grabiola, Graveola, Graviola
Quechuan: Chirimoya, atemóia, cherimóia
Russian: Аннона шеримоя, Черимоя, Черимойя
Spanish: Anona del Perú, Anón, chirimorrinón, Chirimoya, chirimoya del Perú, chirimoyo, Anona, Anona poshte, Anón de manteca, Cachimán , Catuche , Chirimoyo, Corazón, Mamón, Pac, Pox
Swedish: Kirimoja
Tagalog: Atis
Venezuela:  Chirimorrinon
Plant Growth Habit Fairly dense, fast-growing, woody, mostly evergreen (but may be briefly deciduous), low-branched, spreading tree or shrub
Growing Climate Prefer a sunny exposure, buoyant marine air and cool nights
Soil Performs well on a wide range of soil types from light to heavy, but seems to do best on a well-drained, medium soil of moderate fertility. It has reportedly grown well on rock-strewn, loose, sandy loam 2 to 3 ft (0.6-0.9 m) above gravel subsoil.
Plant Size 5–9 meters (16- 30 ft.)tall
Leaf Ovate to ovate-lanceolate, sometimes obovate or elliptical, 12-20 cm x 8 cm, persistently brownish velvety-tomentose beneath. They are alternate, 2-ranked, with minutely hairy petioles, slightly hairy on the upper surface, velvety on the underside.
Flower Fragrant, extra-axillary, often opposite a leaf at the base of a branchlet, usually solitary but sometimes two or three grouped together on short nodding tomentose peduncles; outer three tepals oblong-linear, up to 3 cm long, greenish to pale yellow, marked with a purple spot at the base within; inner three tepals very small, reddish to purplish
Fruit Shape & Size Oval or heart shaped, often slightly oblate, 10–20 cm long and 7–10 cm in diameter, with a smooth or slightly tuberculated (knobby) skin, which may appear to have overlapping scales or knobby warts.
Fruit Color Green when young turning to greenish-yellowish as they mature
Fruit Skin Thin or thick , Smooth with fingerprint-like markings or covered with conical or rounded protuberances
Fruit Weight 150–500 grams
Flesh Color Creamy, white flesh
Seed Shape & Size Numerous hard, inedible,  obovate, obliquely truncate, somewhat compressed seeds, 1–2 cm long and about half as wide with a thin, membranous, brown, wrinkled testa
Seed Color Glossy dark brown or black seeds
Flavor/Aroma Delicious, sub acid flavor
Season January to June
  • Bays
  • Big Sister
  • Booth
  • Chaffey
  • Ecuador
  • El Bumpo
  • Honeyhart
  • Knight
  • Libby
  • McPherson
  • Nata
  • Ott
  • Pierce
  • Sabor
  • Whaley
  • White
Major Nutrition Vitamin B6 (Pyridoxine) 0.411 mg (31.62%)
Vitamin C (Ascorbic acid) 20.2 mg (22.44%)
Carbohydrate 28.34 g (21.80%)
Vitamin B2 (Riboflavin) 0.21 mg (16.15%)
Vitamin B1 (Thiamin) 0.162 mg (13.50%)
Total dietary Fiber 4.8 g (12.63%)
Copper, Cu 0.11 mg (12.22%)
Tryptophan 0.05 g (11.36%)
Vitamin B5 (Pantothenic acid) 0.552 mg (11.04%)
Potassium, K 459 mg (9.77%)
Calories in 1cup (160 gm) 120 K cal
Health Benefits
  • Kills Lice
  • Helps in preventing anemia
  • Relieves Constipation
  • Brain Health
  • Maintains Health of the Skin
  • Fights Free Radicals
  • Promotes the growth of healthy hair
  • Aids in weight loss
  • Prevents Cancer
  • Delay the signs of ageing
  • Good for diabetics
  • Promotes digestive health
  • Good for your bones
  • Boosts Immunity
  • Cardiovascular Benefits






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