Perfection itself. This is how Mark Twain once described the fruits of cherimoya, a culture known today as an ice cream tree or a cream apple. By the way, in history, these fragrant fruits with delicate pulp are also known as the "lost fruits of the Incas" or "the pearl of the Andes." And the images of cherimoya on ceramics of the prehistoric culture of Peru say that people appreciated this fruit many centuries ago. So why is the fruit with the strange name cherimoya unique?

What is a cherimoya?

In ancient times, the slopes and valleys of the Andes sheltered groves of wild cherimoya - the closest relative of another exotic fruit Annona. Native to this culture are the lands of Ecuador and Peru. Although a little later, researchers found a cream apple in the south of Mexico, in Central and South America. After the foot of the Spanish conquistadors set foot on these lands in the 16th century, almost the whole world learned about cherimoya. Already in the 17th century, the plant spread far beyond the borders of its native continent. Today it is cultivated in Tanzania, Egypt, Italy, India, Thailand, Singapore, New Zealand, Israel. There are several varieties of this fruit around the world.

Despite the amazing taste that seems to forever captivate everyone who has ever tasted this wonderful fruit, it cannot be said that cherimoya belongs to popular commercial crops. And all because it requires special attention and careful attitude to yourself. Delicate fruits even under slight pressure crack and lose their presentation.

The cherimoya tree is an evergreen deciduous plant with velvety leaves and fragrant pale yellow flowers. Their fruits, as a rule, are conical or heart-shaped, quite large (20 by 10 centimeters and weighing from 300 g), covered with a thin pale green skin. But despite the fact that cherimoya is often called a cream apple, it bears little resemblance to an apple. Outwardly, it rather resembles an artichoke (covered with a thin skin in the form of scales) or a blackberry (also consists of several symmetrical cavities, inside which seeds are contained).

But another name - an ice cream tree - perfectly characterizes the taste of ripe fruits. Their soft, fragrant texture resembles a custard in texture and tastes like a cocktail of pineapples, bananas, strawberries and papaya. And if you freeze this delicious pulp, you get something very reminiscent of ice cream. By the way, it was not we who noticed this, but the Peruvians. Even today in Chile and Peru, frozen cherimoya puree is eaten from waffle cups. But to use black seeds inside the tender pulp, like the skin, is strictly prohibited. They contain toxic substances.

Nutritional characteristics

Cherimoya is a good source of vitamins and minerals. This fragrant fruit is rich in fiber, which is good for the cardiovascular system, and its relatively low calorie content allows it to be included in the diet of people who lose weight.

Scientists have found that these exotics contain several antioxidants from the group of acetogenins. Preliminary studies have shown that these substances have anti-cancer properties, are useful for treating malaria and getting rid of intestinal parasites. Meanwhile, there are results of other studies - less joyful. An excess of these antioxidant substances in the body provokes symptoms similar to Parkinson's syndrome: tremor, trembling, problems with movement. But moderate fruit consumption is completely safe for the body.

Almost one fifth of the recommended daily allowance of vitamin C can be obtained from one small cherimoya fruit. The result of such vitaminization is the active production of collagen. And, as you know, it is a protein substance responsible for the elasticity of blood vessels and skin, and is also necessary for bones, joints and internal organs. In addition, ascorbic acid prevents scurvy, strengthens the body's resistance to viral infections, speeds up wound healing, and protects against free radicals.

Vitamin B complex supports the activity of the nervous system, digestive organs, muscles and the respiratory system. And in the tender pulp of the fruits of the ice-cream tree, B vitamins are represented almost in full composition. In addition to them, the delicacy contains copper, potassium, magnesium, manganese, phosphorus, iron and other equally useful nutrients.

Nutritional value per 100 g
Calories 70 kcal
Proteins 5.1 g
Fat 1.9g
Carbohydrates 55.2 g
Fiber 7.2 g
Ash 2 g
Vitamin B1 0.3 mg
Vitamin B2 0.4 mg
Vitamin B3 1.8 mg
Vitamin B5 0.7 mg
Vitamin B9 5.5 mg
Wi tamine C 35.9 mg
Vitamin E 0.1 mg
Vitamin K 2, 9 mg
Calcium 25 mg
Iron 0.9 mg
Magnesium 49.9 mg
Phosphorus 81.1 mg
Potassium 839 mg
Sodium 12.5 mg
Zinc 0.6 mg
Copper 0.2 mg
Manganese 0.3 mg

Benefits of cherimoya

In traditional Mexican medicine, cherimoya fruit is used as a sedative, anticonvulsant and anxiety reliever. And after several laboratory experiments on rats, scientists concluded that the antidepressant abilities of the fruit. But the most amazing thing, perhaps, is that these fruits act on cancer cells like chemotherapy, but do not damage healthy tissues. Although this is not all the useful properties of cherimoya.

Beneficial effect on the heart and blood vessels

Vitamin C contained in fruits helps the body resist free radicals. Another important ability of cherimoya is to break down lipids and thus lower the level of low-density lipoproteins, which are better known as “bad cholesterol ”. Vessels cleared of unnecessary lipids are able to transport more blood, while reducing the load on the heart. And thanks to a balanced ratio of potassium and sodium, fruits regulate blood pressure and heart rate.

Fights cancer cells

Cherimoya is a useful fruit for cancer patients.

The unique composition of these fruits makes them effective in combating degenerate cells without affecting healthy ones. In the leaves and stems of the plant, the researchers found the substance acetogen, which has powerful anti-cancer abilities. To be more precise, this substance stops the growth of a malignant formation. Anti-cancer properties have antioxidants and fiber (cleanses the intestines from carcinogens, thereby preventing colon cancer), which in significant doses were found in fruits. At the end of the 20th century, scientists confirmed the effectiveness of cherimoya in the fight against 12 types of cancer.

Increases immunity

Fruit rich in vitamin C is known as an effective immune booster. Cherimoya, as already mentioned, contains an impressive concentration of ascorbic acid. One large fruit a day increases the body's strength to fight infections and free radicals several times over.

Cleanses the body of toxins

All products that contain fiber act like a brush in the body - they are cleansed of toxic substances and toxins. This characteristic also applies to exotic cherimoya. But beyond that, delicious fruits are rich sources of polyphenolic antioxidants, which are also important for cleansing the body of harmful substances.

Improves brain health

Some components of cherimoya such as potassium, folic acid, antioxidants are known to have many benefits for the nervous system and brain. Folic acid, for example, will protect against Alzheimer's disease and cognitive impairment. Potassium improves blood flow to brain cells, increases concentration, neuronal activity and strengthens memory. Beneficial effect on the brain and vitamin B6. It is in its competence to improve mood and prevent depression.

Promotes healthy and sound sleep

Cherimoya is one of the good natural sources of magnesium.

And it is a mineral responsible for the duration and calmness of sleep. A few slices of cherimoya for dinner and you can forget about insomnia, anxiety and sleep cycling disorders.

Helps the digestive system

The Indian tribes that inhabited the American continent also knew and loved the cherimoya. They used the fruits for food poisoning. Modern researchers have proven that the pulp of the fruit regulates the production of gastric juices and stabilizes the acidity in the stomach, cleanses the liver of toxins and activates its work, and also promotes weight loss. Do not forget about fiber, on which the reliable functioning of the intestine depends.

Benefits in cosmetology

Vitamin C is one of the most beneficial substances for the skin. By promoting the production of collagen, this vitamin maintains the elasticity, smoothness and youthfulness of the skin. And being a powerful antioxidant, ascorbic acid prevents the appearance of wrinkles, heals the skin of the face. Thus, cheremoya helps to slow down the appearance of signs of aging - wrinkles and age spots.

Vitamins contained in fruits, as well as iron, magnesium and zinc, stimulate the growth of healthy hair and relieve dandruff. Interestingly, powdered cherimoya seeds are an effective treatment for head lice. To do this, plant powder is diluted with water and applied to the scalp, washed off with warm water and shampoo after an hour.

Do you think graying is an inevitable process that cannot be influenced? You are wrong. Loss of hair color is often just the result of a copper deficiency. It is this chemical element that is responsible for the saturation of hair pigmentation. In one medium fruit of the cherry, there is 10% of the daily norm of copper. So regular consumption of these delicious exotics will protect against gray hair.

How to choose fruits

Cherimoya season in the homeland of this crop lasts from November to May. The fruits are usually picked from the trees a little unripe. It is in this form - fresh, with still dense pulp and uniform color - that the fruits enter the market. Ripe fruits are green or yellow-green fruits, quite heavy for their size. Their flesh is creamy in color and very tender and juicy in texture. That is why in the homeland of cherimoya, it is customary to eat these fruits with a small spoon directly from the skin, while avoiding dark brown shiny seeds. Juicy pulp is suitable for fruit desserts, as a filler for yoghurts and making ice cream, smoothies, juices.

A edible cherimoya is recognized by its pleasant aroma and tender flesh. Its skin should be the same color, without dark spots or damage. As already mentioned, cherimoya is sold unripe. But this is not a problem. At room temperature, the fruit will reach the desired consistency within a day. It is worse if the fruits are overripe: they become tasteless.

Exotic fruits are stored at room temperature. If you put the fruits in the refrigerator, their skin will darken, but the taste of the creamy pulp will not suffer from this.

Other uses of cherimoya

The seeds and skin of the fruit are toxic and dangerous to humans. But there are cases when these parts are useful. Crushed black seeds are sometimes used to make insect repellents. The Mexicans use ground powder from the seeds to kill lice and other skin parasites. Sometimes seeds are used when it is necessary to induce vomiting or defecation. For medicinal purposes (but with the observance of exact proportions), the skin of the cherimoya is used: in South America , tea from it is a remedy for the treatment of pneumonia. In Jamaica, dried flowers are added to snuff.

In South America, the cherimoya is called the queen of fruits, and during the time of the ancient Incas, only the leaders of the tribe were allowed to use the fruits of this tree. Looking at the appearance of these fruits, it seems that they are representatives of the prehistoric era, which were miraculously lost in time. But under the unusual skin hides no less unusual flesh. Surprisingly tasty, amazingly tender and extremely useful.