“Deliciousness itself,” was Mark Twain’s characterization of this luscious fruit after sampling its flesh. The meltingly soft texture and fragrant flavor of the fruit has caused it be called the custard apple at times, although it is not to be confused with the actual custard apple. It is also referred to as the “lost fruit of the Incas” or the “pearl of the Andes” and was often depicted on prehistoric ceramics by prehistoric cultures in Peru
The cherimoya is native to the slopes and valleys of the Andes Mountains in Ecuador and Peru. The cherimoya could already be found in southern Mexico, Central American, and further down in South America by the time the Spanish conquistadors came in the sixteenth century.
From the eighteenth century onwards, the cherimoya was disseminated throughout the world. The cherimoya is infamous for being a demanding crop; it requires much attention and prefers a mild, subtropical climate, preferably on mountain slopes that are close to the ocean. In 1871, California became the first and only place in the United States that produces the cherimoya.
The cherimoya fruit is a prized dessert fruit and regularly sells for extremely high prices outside of plantation areas. Its tantalizing flesh is soft enough to resemble custard or ice cream and it is often frozen to encourage the resemblance. In fact, it is often used as an ice cream flavor in Peru and is a popular filling in Chile as an ice-cream wafer and cookie filling.
It is most commonly eaten by simply scooping the raw flesh out of the fruit or peeling it. The cherimoya can also be transformed into a drink; Colombians mix the juice with water and a slice of lemon for beverages
The cherimoya fruit skin and its crushed seeds are toxic; ingestion of either is discouraged except by those well familiar with their medicinal qualities. The seeds have been used for insecticides while a dilution of the skin can induce paralysis.
The dried flowers are used as flavoring in snuff in Jamaica while rural Mexicans sometimes use a dilution of the seeds to induce vomiting or defecation. The pulverized seeds are also used to kill lice and treat parasitic skin problems. The skin can also be brewed into a tea for treatment of pneumonia.

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