Taste Test: Cherimoya

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It's called cherimoya, and — as the woman stocking the produce section at Rainbow reminded me twice — it's only in season, like, right now. On the outside, it looks like a cross between an artichoke and a pear — green, scaly, and lightbulb-shaped. It has a few decent-sized seeds in its core that are easy to remove, and its white flesh is jello-smooth. I suppose I could have mixed it in a salad or something, but I decided to just eat it raw. After all, this is a fruit that Mark Twain supposedly called "deliciousness itself."

I don't know what it tasted like to him, but to me it tasted like... part apple, part pear, part strawberry, part cherry, coated in sugar and wrapped in the texture of a fruit roll-up. I wish I'd bought more than one. When the skin turns slightly brown like this one, that's when it's perfectly ripe and good to eat.

Cherimoya is a subtropical fruit and was originally found in South America, but it is now grown in California and Hawaii, too. It has lots of sugar and vitamin C. In the ancient Cupisnique and Moche cultures of Peru, cherimoya was often depicted as pottery, like so:

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If you don't want to eat the fruit raw, try making cherimoya sorbet by pureeing the fruit with sugar and lime juice, then freezing it.

Every installment of Taste Test will explore recipes, the science, and some history behind a specific food item.

Image via Xeni's Flickr