Custard apple

Cherimoya or Cherimoyo . Fruit belonging to the Anonáceas family, which has around 800 species, the fruit comes from the custard apple, a tree that can reach up to 8 meters in height. It was already cultivated in the Andes of Peru since the year 200 by the Mochica culture.


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  • 1 Origin
  • 2 Features
    • 1 Tree
    • 2 Fruit
  • 3 varieties
  • 4 Crop
    • 1 Pests
    • 2 Diseases
  • 5 Producing countries
  • 6 Nutritional value
  • 7 Benefits
  • 8 Consumption
  • 9 Sources


The custard apple is native to South America , from the Andean zone bordering Ecuador and Peru , where it grows at altitudes between 1,400 and 2,000 m. Terra-cotta vases modeled in the form of custard apple fruit have been unearthed in prehistoric tombs in Peru. It was introduced to the East via Africa , by the first Spanish navigators. The custard apple is currently distributed in almost all countries with a subtropical climate.



Small tree up to about 8 m tall, with a short trunk and a broad, more or less rounded crown. It presents low ramifications forming “skirts”. The young branches are covered with a felt of greyish hairs that often take on a rust color. Oval leaves, alternately arranged, with a short petiole and regular veining, covered on the underside of an apparent hairiness. Flowers: solitary or grouped in a number of 2-3 in the axils of the leaves of the previous year and until the leaf falls, that bud cannot develop (it is protected by the leaf petiole).


The fruit has a heart-shaped appearance, with a size of around 7.5-12.5 cm in length, thin and fragile skin , practically smooth, and decorated with fine cells that mark the limits of each fruit. Its pulp is fleshy, smooth and sweet in flavor. It contains numerous shiny, rounded and flattened seeds, 1 cm long, spread across the inside of the pulp. Altogether it weighs approximately 150-250 grams. Of greenish tones on the outside (although it darkens when ripe) with reticules of different sizes, whitish colors in the pulp and dark for the seeds.


Custard apple varieties are grouped according to the shape of their fruits.

  • On the skin it has small depressions and aureoles similar to fingerprints. It has great fertility, the fruits are large, with few seeds and it grows rapidly.
  • The fruits are medium in size and mature late, the tree has great vigor
  • The skin of the fruits is smooth and large. They are tasty and aromatic. Seeing them reminds us of a pineapple. They occur a lot on the Portuguese island of Madeira.
  • The bumps are small and pointed. The size of the fruits is medium. They are tasty and full of seeds.
  • The skin of the fruits has no protrusions or marks.


The custard apple is a tree that shows all its splendor in subtropical climates, characterized by hot temperatures (generally not exceeding 30ºC) and little thermal oscillations, dry winds and high temperatures during its flowering stage can damage the flowers and destroy the formation of the fruit.

The ideal soils for cultivation are those that have a light substrate, with organic matter and sufficient drainage so that waterlogging does not occur, thus aerating its roots. It is advisable to avoid hard, compact and waterproof (clayey) floors.

Harvesting (done by hand) begins when the green of the fruits clears, but maintains a firm appearance (this firmness will help the specimens not be damaged during transport).


There are few pests that affect the custard apple, highlighting:

  • Fruit fly (Ceratitis capitata) It affects especially in thin skinned cultivars, accelerating the ripening process of the fruit, therefore it is recommended to anticipate the harvest.
  • Cochineal (Coccus hesperidum). This mealybug invades the stems and fruits, favoring the entry of the bold (Limacinia penzigi).


  • Neck rot (Phytophthora cinnamomi). The fungus mainly penetrates through root wounds, resulting in their necrotization. The tree acquires a generalized chlorotic appearance.
  • Root rot (Armillaria mellea). Old trees planted in poorly drained soils suffer strong attacks from Armillaria, leading to foliar chlorosis and defoliation, causing a decrease in vigor.

It causes the death of the roots, appearing a white mycelium on them and mushrooms on the base of the trunk.

Producing countries

The main producing countries with a subtropical climate are: Peru, Colombia , Spain (especially on the Granada coast), Chile , Bolivia , Ecuador , the United States , South Africa and Israel .

Nutritional value

Among the nutritional properties of custard apple, it should be noted that it has the following nutrients:

Nutrients Value Nutrients Value
Calories 72.50 kcal. Grease 0.70 g.
Sodium 4 mg Carbohydrates 14.10 g.
Fiber 2.40 g. Sugars 14.10 g.
Protein 1.25 g. Vitamin A 9.80 ug.
Vitamin C 14.18 mg. Calcium 21.20 mg.
Iron 0.43 mg. Vitamin B3 1.21 mg.


  • Large amount of carbohydrates , where fructose and glucose are found in greater quantity.
  • It has a good content of Vitamins A , C , which help strengthen defenses and is a good antioxidant.
  • It contains a good amount of Potassium , where it helps with muscle contraction and the prevention of cramps.
  • It has a good amount of fiber, which helps to have good intestinal motility.
  • Transmits and generates nerve impulse and muscle activity.
  • Fight Cholesterol .
  • It is useful in intestinal transit problems, constipation (great laxative power).
  • Hypertension , Cardiovascular.


The fruit is consumed as fruit, from its pulp you can make soda, and ice cream.


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