It’s rainy around these parts, and while I usually enjoy my frequent visits to the local open air farmer’s markets, today I ventured to my neighborhood supermarket. Boy, am I glad I did! While I perused the deeply-hued kale leaves and the mountains of vibrant citrus options, something in the opposite end of the produce section caught my eye. Nestled between the over-sized Mexican papayas and Macaw-colored mangoes sat one of my all-time favorite fruits on this planet. I nearly crashed carts with an elderly man on my mad dash to the cherimoya finish line, as I couldn’t believe my eyes. Cherimoya season usually doesn’t start for several more months, but there, before me, stood a stack, begging me to take them home. Far be it from me to deny the little artichoke-shaped buggers their true destiny, I scooped a few, and gently placed them in my cart, like the precious gems they are.
It’s true that the cherimoya is like the ugly duckling at a high school dance, constantly getting overlooked for its more popular tropical fruit cousins, but don’t let its aesthetically unpleasant exterior fool you. Once sliced in half, what hides beneath the chartreuse casing is nothing short of a gift from mother nature. What looks like an unassuming outer shell gives way to the silkiest, most creamy fruit that tastes like a week in Jamaica. And while disposing of its hefty seeds can be a bit bothersome, the custard flesh is worth the tedious spitting. At room temperature, chilled in the refrigerator (my personal favorite), or frozen, there is no wrong way to partake in this indulgent treat. Plus, as an added bonus, many varieties are heart-shaped, and with Valentine’s day quickly approaching, it could be a satisfying alternative to the more decadent fare.
Do yourself a favor, and take a cherimoya for a spin. After all, it’s the inside that counts.