I have always been a fan of discovering new tropical fruits, and that is how I stumbled upon the Annona. The Annona is a flowering plant that has approximately 166 species.
Pretty exciting, right? Some fruits from the Annona are well known while others aren’t.
For instance, almost everyone has interacted with soursop and custard apple, but very few people have even heard of atemoya and cherimoya.
A lot of people tend to confuse atemoya with cherimoya and vice versa. Although two tropical fruits have a few similarities, they are not the same. This article will give you a full comparison of these two amazing fruits.
What is Atemoya?
Atemoya is a very delicious tropical fruit that is a hybrid of the cherimoya and sugar apple. The atemoya is mostly grown in Australia,
Florida, the Caribbean, and parts of Central America. The atemoya tree can only reproduce through branch grafting which is manually done.
The fruit itself is normally round in shape, but some are heart-shaped. It also has pale green skin that is delicate and can easily bruise.
The top part is bumpy, similar to that of a sugar apple but the bottom part is smooth just like the cherimoya is. The skin of the atemoya is not edible, so you have to peel it off before eating the flesh.
Underneath its skin, the atemoya has white flesh. The atemoya only has one section of meat that you can easily scoop out, unlike the sugar apple which has segments of flesh. This characteristic is also found in cherimoya.
There are black seeds dispersed throughout the flesh of the atemoya. The black seeds are believed to be toxic. They have a very unpleasant taste and you should discard them.
The white flesh of the atemoya is slightly sweet and sour. It also has vanilla undertones. The flesh is usually very juicy and the tropical taste is to die for.
I personally prefer to eat atemoya on its own. I place it inside my refrigerator until it is chilled and then use a knife to halve it. Doing this makes it quite easy to scoop out the edible flesh and get rid of the seeds.
You can add atemoya to smoothies, ice cream, and puddings. If you like experimenting as I do, try adding it to pies and baked goods
What is cherimoya?
The cherimoya is also a delicious tropical fruit. Its origin can be traced back to Ecuador, Peru, and Colombia. The cherimoya tree grows up to 35 feet in height.
You can easily grow cherimoya from its seed in tropical and sub-tropical climates. This is a plus considering that there is no grafting involved in the process.
Cherimoya season is mostly between May and October. However, the timings may change slightly depending on fluctuations in the weather conditions.
There are different varieties of cherimoya available and they come in different sizes and shapes. The flavor also varies slightly depending on the variety you choose. All in all, most of them have a round or heart shape that is similar to the shape of atemoya.
Most of these fruits are also bigger in size compared to atemoya. This is actually one of the main differences between the cherimoya and atemoya because they have several similarities.
Like atemoya, cherimoya has pale green skin. The skin is scale-like and can also easily bruise. Underneath the skin, cherimoya has white flesh and black seeds. The flesh is one section of meat that you can easily scoop out. It also has a very soft texture similar to that of papaya or pawpaw.
I would describe the flavor of cherimoya as a cross between a banana and pineapple. This flavor profile is very unique and delicate.
Eat cherimoya the same way you eat atemoya. Place it inside your refrigerator until it’s chilled and then use a knife to halve it. Doing this makes it quite easy to scoop out the edible flesh and get rid of the seeds.
You can eat cherimoya fresh or use it in pies, make frozen fruit bars, and even use it to make ice cream.
Additionally, you can use it as an ingredient in your fruit salads or your muffins. The cherimoya enhances the flavor of dishes it is added to.
If you are a cocktail lover, try adding cherimoya the next time you make pina colada. It will take your cocktail to a whole new level.
How to choose the best cherimoya
Ripe cherimoya is usually dark green or yellow-green in color. When cherimoyas are old, they turn brown.
Normally, the fruit is harvested when it is still firm and raw. It ripens off the tree.
Ripe cherimoya has a custard-like soft texture. Choose the ones that are soft but still yellow-green in color.
Do not select the brown ones as they are too old and may not give you desirable results.
A quick comparison between Atemoya and Cherimoya
Atemoya and cherimoya have a similar flavor as well as appearance. Both of the tropical fruits have a soft texture and you can easily scoop out the flesh.
The atemoya is a hybrid of the cherimoya and sugar apple whereas the cherimoya is a tropical fruit that has a sweet and sour taste. Therefore, you can grow cherimoya from seed but you can only graft atemoya.
Atemoya fruits are much smaller compared to cherimoya. Additionally, the skin is warty and spiky. On the other hand, cherimoya fruits are bigger with scale-like skin. Their appearance is very similar to that of sugar apple.
Both atemoya and cherimoya are tropical fruits whose flavors are amazing. Their appearance and flavor are quite similar, and you are likely to confuse one for the other.
The similarities are based on the fact that the atemoya is a hybrid of cherimoya and sugar apple.
In my opinion, you can easily use the two fruits interchangeably. When added to recipes, I can never really tell the difference.
So in case you have a recipe that calls for atemoya, you can always use cherimoya and vice versa. Your family or friend won’t even know the difference.