The Chirimoya, Annona cherimola, abounds in Málaga and Granada provinces, Spain being the largest producer of these fruits with around 30,000 tons per year for the domestic market.
The Chirimoya, or Custard Apple, originated in the high Andes of Peru and Ecuador. It was first introduced into the Caribbean area and then taken to various tropical areas by Europeans.
The Spanish conquistadors called it ‘manjar blanco’ but the name actually derives from the Quechua word ‘Chirimuya’ or ‘cold seeds’. The plant is from the family Annonacéas and genus Annona and is produced and consumed in Peru, Ecuador, Chile, Bolivia, Colombia, Spain, USA, South Africa and Israel.
The Chirimoya is 75% water with carbohydrates (glucose and fructose) and fibre. It also contains Vitamins A and C, Potassium, Magnesium, Phosphorus, Calcium, Iron, Niacin, Riboflavin, Theanine, folic acid, ascorbic acid and antioxidants. It is considered beneficial to blood sugar levels and helps with the elasticity, firmness, and suppleness of the skin.
Chirimoyas are ripe when the skin darkens to a brownish colour and the best way to eat them is to remove the seeds (there are a LOT of seeds) and scoop out the fruit with a spoon. Straight from the tree is the ultimate way to eat them, so be prepared and always carry a spoon!