Entries in cherimoya (3)


In My Garden: Fruit Trees

It's been unusually warm in my Southern California backyard and my fruit trees seem to thrive in the extra heat, especially my cherimoyas and tangerines. I usually hand pollinate my cherimoya trees to get a good crop of fruit because we don't have the right insects here that normally pollinate the cherimoyas in their native habitat. But this year I was too busy and only got out a couple of times and thought I would be lucky to get a dozen fruit. To date I have picked 40-50 fruit and there's probably that much still on the trees, waiting to get large enough to harvest. I have two of the best tasting cherimoya trees that I think there are, if you like really sweet fruit. Also this year my tangerine tree is producing a ridiculous amount of fruit, and all those tangerines are really sweet and juicy. Only in Southern California are we lucky to be getting incredible fruit November through February when fruit trees in other parts of the country are dormant.


In My Garden: Winter fruit trees

It's that time of the year again when most fruit trees are bare. I have finished eating my chocolate and fuyu persimmons and this year I got 30 to 40 white sapotes from a seedling that came up about eight years ago. I had heard white sapotes were good, but had only tried them once, about 30 years ago, and wasn't impressed. Well, this tree of mine completely changed my mind. It is now one of my favorite fruits and I can't wait until next year.

The last fruit tree to bear fruit, besides of course winter avocados and oranges, is the cherimoya. I have seven really good varieties. Last year I wanted to see how much fruit I would get if I didn't hand pollinate them. I got maybe 20 fruits. This year I hand pollinated the trees two or three times a week for six weeks. It took only about 20 minutes each time, so not much of an effort is needed. This year the trees are overflowing with more than 200 pieces of fruit! I just started picking my first harvest last week, and hopefully will have fruit until February.

Above: Cherimoyas on my tree.

Above: My cherimoyas

Above: Cherimoya 


In My Garden: Cherimoya's 

I consider the cherimoya the best fruit there is. Ask anyone South of the border about cherimoyas and their eye light up. Why? It's like eating a delicious fruit salad in one fruit. There are many varieties of cherimoya. One of my favorites is Santa Rosa. It has the extremely sweet flavor combination of pineapple, banana, and guava. 

Cherimoyas have a green bumpy skin, some fruits more bumpy than others. It looks like a cross between an artichoke and a dinosaur egg. The interior is creamy white with huge black seeds. I cut them in half and spoon out the fruit with the seeds, then eat the fruit but spit out the seeds as they are said to be toxic. It's kind of like eating watermelon before there was such a thing as seedless watermelons. Hopefully someday soon there will be seedless cherimoyas.

Cherimoya trees love the moist coastal air, with the fruits ripening between November and February, depending on the variety, when little other fresh fruit is available. I have five cherimoya trees in my backyard, on one of them I have grafted six different varieties onto it. I have been known to eat three or four a day on a good day! Cherimoyas are extremely expensive fruit, one may cost $7.00 and up. So if you love the fruit, it is wise to invest in a tree or two. When buying a tree make sure the variety you want is grafted to a seedling. Otherwise you won't know what you are getting. Also try to buy a cherimoya tree that doesn't need to be hand pollinated. It's easy enough, but time consuming, using a small paintbrush to transfer pollen from the male flower to the female flower. I would just as soon let the bees do it. 

Cherimoyas are a wonderful fruit. I love them eating them right out of the skin with a spoon, but you can make a drink from it, you can even bake with it. My wife made some excellent cherimoya cupcakes one year. For more information on the fruit, just google cherimoya and lots of sites will pop up. 

Above: my cherimoya trees