9 Facts about Cherimoya that you didn’t Know – Complete Guide

By the end of this blog, you’ll discover the characteristics of the cherimoya (both the fruit and the plant), the main types of cherimoya, its properties, history, main exporters and importers, how it is cultivated, and some products made from this fruit. Don’t miss it!

What is cherimoya and what are its characteristics?   

Scientific nameAnnona cherimola
Common nameCherimoya
Place of originSouth America
HabitatSubtropical and humid climates with no presence of frost or temperatures above 30°C. Shallow soils.
DistributionSouth America, Asia and Europe

Cherimoya Plant Characteristics 

The plant where the cherimoya grows is a tree called custard apple or cherimoya, like its fruit. It belongs to the Annonaceae family and is found in places such as Spain, Peru, Ecuador, Chile and Bolivia.  

Its average size once it reaches maturity is 7 or 8 meters.  


This tree can also produce small flowers usually below the leaves, which are yellow and often have six petals.  


Its green leaves are oval-shaped and sometimes a little more rounded, about 8 to 12 cm long and 4 to 6 cm wide. They have an underside covered with hairs that cover the organs of the plant.

Description of the cherimoya fruit  

The cherimoya, or custard apple, has a sweet flavor. The inner part of the fruit is a white edible pulp with 1 cm oval black seeds that are slightly flattened. It is usually creamy and smooth.

Its surface is covered by a green peel that can be hard or fragile and can have prominent peaks similar to those of the soursop on the outside or none at all, these factors vary according to the species.  

A curious fact about this fruit is that to eat it, you can just take a bite like with any other food, or separate it into pieces. This happens because, as we saw in the previous image, the peel of this fruit has certain subdivisions that are demarcated in the shape of small diamonds, so you can split these diamonds to eat the fruit in small pieces.

It weighs between 200 and 800 grams.

cherimoye cut in half

Types of cherimoya 

There are 5 main types of cherimoya, which are:

Impressed cherimoya  

This variety has some slight indentations similar to fingerprints.

Umbronata cherimoya   

Contrary to the previous one, this one has sort of thorny spikes similar to soursop.

Smooth cherimoya  

This cherimoya only has a few diamond-shaped markings that protrude slightly.

Mamillata cherimoya  

It has pineapple-like protuberances that vary with depressions, these also usually have clusters of fruit pulp.

Tuberculata cherimoya  

This type of fruit looks like a heart with some warts on the outside.

Types of cherimoya plants  

Not only are there varieties of cherimoya fruits, but there are also varieties of cherimoya trees. Would you like to know more about them? Read on!

Fino de jete 

This plant is mainly found in Spain on the islands of Granada and Malaga. This tree specifically bears the cherimoya tuberculata that we mentioned before.


Mainly found in Chile, it is usually large and with a large number of flowers with lots of pollen. It tends to bear huge fruits, in this case, the fruits would be the mamillata cherimoya which is characterized by its protuberances.  

It receives this name because its fruits have a tan tone that can become yellow when ripe and with many seeds.  

It is necessary to be careful with these protuberances when carrying them from one place to another since they are very delicate and could break, which affects the quality of the fruit.

Custard apple red wine
By Santhanabharathi.A – Own work, CC BY-SA 3.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=21873452


This tree produces umbronata cherimoyas that are quite large, usually produced in Santa Barbara, California.

Properties and benefits of the Cherimoya  

Nutritional composition of cherimoya  

We invite you to see the nutritional table of cherimoya per 100 grams.

CompositionQuantity (gr)CDR(%)
MineralsQuantity (mg)CDR(%)
VitaminsQuantity (mg)CDR(%)
Vitamin A0.011.1%
Vitamin B10.075.8%
Vitamin B20.118.5%
Vitamin B31.210%
Vitamin B1200%
Vitamin C14.1815.8%

Taken from Vegaffinity

Main properties of cherimoya  

Source of healthy sugar  

Cherimoya is one of the fruits that contain more simple sugars such as sucrose that helps glucose to move faster to the brain and muscles, causing the nervous system to work more efficiently and improving your physical condition. Thus, it’s ideal to increase the body’s energy instead of drinking artificial energizers that harm your health.

It aids the autonomic nervous system  

As it has an important level of potassium, is key to the body’s functioning in activities such as the beating of the heart and the contraction and dilation of veins and arteries. On the other hand, thanks to this component other activities such as waste disposal are also carried out in our bodies.

Rich in vitamin C  

This vitamin not only supports the immune system to prevent us from getting sick as we have always heard, but also plays a relevant role in the development and restoration of all body tissues. For example, when we have a wound and we get a scar: vitamin C also participates in this process.

It treats intestinal problems  

It’s common that when someone has symptoms of constipation, doctors prescribe foods with high fiber content, in addition to the necessary medications for each person’s case. Cherimoya is a good option for these cases given its significant percentage of fiber.

Key to cell performance  

A component called Riboflavin, better known as vitamin B2, is necessary for the cells to function properly and this fruit has a good amount of this nutrient.  

This vitamin ensures that the energy that enters the body through respiration reaches each cell successfully so that it can work properly and, in doing so, it also promotes the process of cell regeneration that is necessary for the metabolism to work quickly.

History and origin of the cherimoya  

The discovery of the cherimoya occurred mainly in the Peruvian Andes and in the Ecuadorian mountains in the years 200 AD, some historians also mention that it was found in the Andean regions of Chile and Colombia.  

The Quechuas named this fruit Chirimuya using the word chiri which means cold because it must be cultivated in this climate, and with the word muya which translates to seeds.  

This fruit was baptized by the Spaniards as a white delicacy after its discovery in the American continent, then the cherimoya was transported to continents such as Africa and Europe.  

Currently, some Peruvian establishments such as the Larco Museum show that certain tombs from prehistoric times have traces of cherimoya-shaped bottles such as the Mochica bottle, due to the relevance of this fruit in that period of history.

Custard apple bottle
By Pattych – Own work, CC BY-SA 3.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=3216378

Cherimoya industry  

Get to know the main producers and importers of this fruit in the world.

Top 5 cherimoya producers  

The cultivation of cherimoya is difficult to find since it is an exotic species in the world, which is why it is said that the small amount we see is found in South America and that in the rest of the planet it is practically nonexistent.

In the following table, you’ll find the 5 countries with the highest production of cherimoya.

CountryTons of cherimoya exported per year (approx)


The number one producer of cherimoya in the world. Of its production, 80% is kept to be consumed within the country, the remaining 20% is exported to various countries in the European Union, the North American continent, and some Arab regions.  

Nationally, the crop is found in areas such as Malaga and the islands of Granada, especially in Andalusia, where it is close to 100% of the cultivation of the whole country since there are about 3 thousand hectares that give as profit about 48 million euros and in areas whose climate is suitable for this crop as the municipality of Almuñecar.

About 85% or 90% is taken to domestic markets and only 15% or the remaining 10% is exported to nations such as the United Kingdom, Portugal, Germany, and France.


The production of the Peruvian cherimoya is concentrated mainly in the area of Lima where they get to grow from 7,500 to 8,000 tons thanks to the support of municipalities such as San Mateo de Otao, located in Cumbe, and Callahuanca. This is where the greatest promotion of the cultivation of this fruit comes from since most of its population are farmers dedicated to harvesting it. The cherimoya is the product par excellence in this town.


The cherimoya of Bolivia is produced in regions such as Cochabamba, La Paz, Chuquisaca, Potosi, Santa Cruz, Tarija and Beni. This production is about 7,000 tons per year, of these an average of six tons per hectare.  

In the following chart, you’ll see an average of production for each sector mentioned.  

Custard apple production chart BoliviaINE – ENA (2008).


Its production is close to 500 cultivated hectares. According to information collected by ASOEX, in the course of the 2016 to 2017 season, 356 tons of Chilean cherimoya were accounted for. 92.7% of these cherimoyas were exported mainly to the United States. These exports to the United States were the result of years of work, testing and results with the Systems Approach initiative, which aims to stabilize the export flow between these two countries.

SeasonTons of Cherimoyas exported
2016/2017356 ton


It’s located in the south of this territory, in the region of Loja with provinces such as Pichincha, Imbabura, Azuay and Tungurahua. These places are full of forests with a great variety of flora and fauna.  

The cherimoya is a relevant product for Ecuadorians because it provides an opportunity to boost the country’s economy through exports, which has been affected because most of the country’s needs in terms of economic and food resources are not being met. One of the factors causing this condition is not having a constant rhythm in the production of the fruit, so that in the time that it stops producing, losses are generated in terms of sales.

Top cherimoya importers  

The most recent figures for cherimoya imports worldwide indicate a total of US$722,678 thousand.

According to the Integrated Foreign Trade Information System (SIICEX), the countries with the highest percentages of cherimoya imports are:

  1. United States with an investment of US$333 million.
  2. France with US$145 million  
  3. The Netherlands with US$147 million  
  4. Germany with US$321,000
  5. Japan with US$ 127,000.

How is cherimoya cultivated?  

There are several requirements to cultivate this fruit that you must take into account. Below, we’ll show you what they are:


Soils must be deep and soft with a good amount of organic matter and optimal drainage where the roots can receive the necessary proportion of air and can flourish without encountering rigid soils that hinder their passage.


It needs medium and humid temperatures, avoiding frosts at all costs since they can stunt the crop, especially the leaves and fruits, which will affect its production.  

Cold climates, together with strong winds, can even damage the roots and stagnate the growth of the plant from the first stage.  

On the other hand, extreme hot climates that exceed 30°C will cause burns on the plants, whether on the stems, leaves or fruits, which can also have negative results on the ripening of the tree.

Method for planting custard apple  

In order to ensure that the soil has adequate fertility and so that the roots can successfully penetrate the soil and expand, a layer of manure must be added. This layer of manure must be placed on the bottom to put a layer of soil on top to prevent them from touching the roots. It is recommended about 5 tons of manure per hectare.

The holes must be prepared to a depth of 70 centimeters.

Nitrogen should also be added, and as the plant grows, the amount of nitrogen must be increased.

The cherimoya tends to transpire a lot so it is necessary to water it to prevent it from dehydrating. Watering every fifteen days would be ideal but with a recess in winter. It is advisable to use localized irrigation that produces 25 liters of water per hour.

This tree tends to seek a lot of sunlight so it’s advisable to prune to get the branches evenly distributed in the canopy and not diminish the light with too many of them. This will also facilitate the harvesting process by making it easier to collect the fruit as there will be more space between each branch.  

This pruning should be carried out approximately every three years so that, during this time, the tree is stable and is not weakened by the pruning.  

Pruning mitigates problems with the wind because the more stems there are, the more the wind will blow them away, and this inconvenience is avoided by leaving only those that are most necessary. It is during this third year that the tree begins to bear fruit.

After the formation pruning, maintenance pruning should also be done, which is usually performed in the winter months when the stems, leaves and fruits begin to dry out. This is when we get rid of all the parts that have been damaged so that the cherimoya can heal and create new ones that are able to procreate.  

Another factor to consider when removing a part of the plant is whether or not it can receive enough light to grow. If the answer is no, as if it is growing in a direction where it won’t receive light, it is better to cut it, since it is known that it won’t be able to flower.

Cherimoya Harvesting  

To harvest the fruit, a final pruning called fruiting pruning is done at the end of winter when the fruit is ready. One of the signs that the fruit is ready for harvesting is that it changes to a lighter color.  

When the cherimoya is very tall, you can use poles to connect the fruit from the end of the soil to the branch where it is located.  

Postharvest of cherimoya

To commercialize this product, the quality is verified and it is expected to be in optimal condition: clean, free of diseases, parasites or fungi, with its characteristic color as a sign of its good condition and no black coloration that indicates that it is decomposed. In the same way, the taste and smell must be good since these aspects also prove the quality of the fruit.  

Applying more pesticides than stipulated by the international parameters of the Codex Alimentarius is prohibited.

After the quality control process, the fruit is harvested when it has grown to its full potential, and this will be indicated by a soft yellowish-green color.

The fruit is then weighed to evaluate its yield and determine the price to be charged for each sale.

Once weighed, the fruits are classified from the ripest to the greenest and are also classified according to weight, size or quality.

After sorting, the cherimoya is cleaned of possible traces of soil left on the ground with clean potable water and soap; this cleaning is done with a brush so as not to damage the fruit.

After cleaning, the fruit is dried either in the open air or under ventilation.

Sometimes when the fruit is not 100% ripe, it can be ripened by exposing it to temperatures of approximately 15°C or 20°C for about five days on average.

When transporting them, they should be packed in wooden boxes or plastic baskets that can support about 5.5 kilograms, with some material to soften the blows that the fruit may have on the trip. Once they reach their destination they can be put in polyethylene bags with holes or in nets when they are sold.

To store the cherimoya, it is advisable to keep it at a temperature of 10°C to delay its putrefaction. If it is in temperate climates, it should be consumed in three or four days, and it is also suggested that it be eaten quickly to prevent it from rotting.

Uses and products based on cherimoya  

This fruit is normally consumed fresh, in its original form, and manually. Today we’ll see everything that can be done with this fruit either in products or the uses of its plants.

Fresh products with cherimoya  

Custard apple smoothies  

Whether you blend it alone or with other fruits such as strawberries, blueberries or pineapple, you can make a great variety of drinks with custard apples.  

You can incorporate them into meals such as breakfast, and juice to accompany the midday meal, or to make a snack and it will be totally healthy. We only recommend you remove the seeds so that the drink doesn’t get a bitter taste.

Cherimoya smoothie
Photo by Adrienn87 form PxHere

Cherimoya leaves  

Not only the fruit itself can be used. These leaves are attributed a lot of medicinal functions, either to fight infections or viruses and reduce excess sugar in the blood, especially for diabetics.  

In this case, boil the leaves for approximately 10 minutes and then filter the liquid, let it cool and consume it. They are also very useful for treating pneumonia, cancer and parasites.

Cherimoya-based processed products  

Cherimoya Desserts  

Do you like desserts but are tired of feeling guilty for eating all that sugar? Well, we have a new solution for you! As previously mentioned, cherimoya is a healthy source of sugar, so you can create desserts such as:  

  • Cherimoya Mouse  
  • Cherimoya pie
  • Ice cream
  • Alcoholic drinks
  • Jellies
  • Yogurt
Cherimoya processed product
Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 3.0 Unported by openfoodfacts-contributors by Open Food Facts

Suspiro de limeña  

This dessert is originally from Lima, Peru, hence its name, and the “whisper” comes from the name “suspiro” because it is said to have the softness of a suspiro. It was created by Amparo Ayarza, the wife of the poet José Gálvez Barrenchera, who invented the name of this appetizer. This food is made from a combination of Aporto meringue and cherimoya.

Peruvian cherimoya dessert

By Luisfranciscopm – Own work, CC BY-SA 4.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=75772154

Cherimoya panna cotta  

Panna cotta is a dessert that comes from Italy from the Piedmont region. It’s prepared with sugar, milk cream, and unflavored gelatin, but there is a particular recipe that includes cherimoya and adds chocolate and orange sauce.

To conclude, you can realize that the cherimoya has much more to offer than what is usually expected, not only in terms of how to use it for meals but also in terms of all its by-products and everything it can bring to your body. Wouldn’t you dare to try it?