There are quite a few subtropical fruits being grown up here in the north now- it is now quite normal to have a fruiting banana palm in your backyard!

Cherimoyas, cousin of the custard apple, also do well.

The cherimoya is a ‘back to front’ tree, having its leaves in winter, and none in summer. A beautiful, medium sized tree, they are nice to have to look at, as well as being useful. There is a catch though! It appears that only old trees will self-pollinate, so to get the delicious fruit from young trees a bit of work is required. They are well worth the effort, producing their green heart shaped fruit, through July, August and September when there is not much variety around.

I was interested to find out that the seeds have a use as well in the Islands they pulverise them and make a hair shampoo that is great for getting rid of nits.

Cherimoyas are a well balanced food, containing fibre, minerals, vitamins, protein and only a little fat; the sugar content gives sustained energy, thus this fruit is a great food for everyone, especially babies and convalescents.

They taste of fruit salad, with white flesh and black pips, and are a great addition to any meal. Eat them raw by cutting in half, and using a spoon to scoop the flesh out.

They are delicious as a sauce for pork, curry, and chicken dishes and with muesli, yoghurt or ice cream.

To remove seeds: remove pulp and mash with potato masher- seeds can then be picked out with ease.


Cherimoya Snow

1 large cherimoya

2 egg whites

1 chopped sprig of mint

1 lemon, grated and juiced

Remove seeds from cherimoya, blend. Beat egg whites. Fold together fruit, eggwhite, lemon juice, rind and mint. Spoon into dessert dishes and chill. Before serving, decorate with a rosette of cherimoya seeds.

Cherimoya Cheesecake


1 pkt. Gingernuts

125 g melted butter.

Mix together, press into tray- put under grill for about 15 mins.


250 g cream cheese

½ cup castor or icing sugar

1 tin evaporated milk (beaten when cold)

3 tsp. gelatine dissolved in ½ cup boiling water

½ lemon, juiced.

1 large cherimoya

For more information take a look at Ginny’s portfolio page – you can also buy a copy of her book !

2 comments on “Cherimoyas

  1. Keith Rodgers on said:


    My partner and I spotted what we thought was a custard apple tree in Whangamata. It had long quite thin green leaves and was coming into flower with small green flowers that looked a little like small passion fruit flowers.
    It had 3 green,apple sized fruit on it.(the tree was about 4 metres tall)
    The fruits looked like green apples but the base of the apple was off centre. When we gave one a squeeze it felt soft, The skin was perfectly smooth.
    We took it home and cut it in half. The inside was a pale cream colour and as soon as my partner smelt it she said it was a custard apple.A slight vanilla smell and delicious and creamy.
    We both ate half each and found it had one elongated pale cream stone that was the size of a hazelnut and just below the top of the fruit.
    Have you any ideas what it is please?



  2. Hi Kieth, It sounds more like a stone fruit than a custard apple or apple which has several pips o seeds. Hopefully someone will come alone a know what it is – I am not sure sorry.


    Tim Durrant

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