Wednesday, March 12, 2008

The Fruit Mark Twain & I Both Love

This fruit goes by many names: cherimoya, soursop, custard apple, strangealiendeathfruit. My love for cherimoyas is perhaps more intense than my love for mangoes, though less ardent than my love for the available-in-Asia-only mangosteen. (Ah, mangosteen--distance truly makes the heart, and stomach, grow fonder.)

These are widely available in ethnic supermarkets in Southern California; I'm not sure how available they are elsewhere. The one pictured above is actually from my grandmother's backyard. In stores, they range in size from as large as a three-year-old's head to the size of an adult's fist. A ripe cherimoya will usually be dark green (though this is dependent on the variety), have a loosening stem, and give to the touch in much the same way as an avocado. They can ripen on the counter but can also develop bruised and unappetizing spots inside the flesh if left for too long.

Mark Twain claimed that the cherimoya is "deliciousness itself!" and I can't help but agree. When a perfectly ripe specimen is sliced open and the luminous white flesh glistens with its juices, it's a moment to behold, akin to that of witnessing a sunrise or getting to third-base for the first time. I usually cut it into wedges and peel back the skin using my fingers or a knife, and sink my teeth in. The flesh of a good cherimoya is, as one of its names indicates, custard-like, with just a touch of fibrousness that reminds you that it actually is, in fact, a fruit. They can be sublimely sweet but I prefer them when they are still on the firm and tangy side. I particularly love the membrane that surrounds each seed. Yes, I'm weird, and yes, this fruit does involve the dreaded spitting-out-of-seeds process-- believe me, it's worth it.

, how it's worth it.

More cherimoya links:

1 comment:

causeforchange said...

My friend was telling me about this fruit and I refused to believe it was real! Now I want to eat it. nomnomnomnomnom.