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Cherimoya varieties and flavors - observations

Cherimoya varieties and flavors - observations

Between my trip to Calemoya and to the South Coast Field Station, I've had the good fortune to get my hands on a rather large number of cherimoyas, and for the first time, after eating so many of them while knowing what varieties I was eating, there were very distinct patterns that emerged.

In this thread, I'll post my observations in order of preference. But first, here's a picture of an assortement of cherimoyas that look very different. In the upper right hand corner, the bumpy fruit is actually an atemoya, and it tasted very much like a sugar apple with a hint of cherimoya, or was it a cherimoya flavor with a hint of sugar apple? Well, it definitely was in between the two. Even the texture was in between the two, a little firmer than a cherimoya, but not quite like a sugar apple. Needless to say, this sampling sparked my interests in atemoyas, and I am now trying to grow "African Pride" and "Lidstrom". There's no reason why atemoyas shouldn't grow up here, at least from what I can tell.

The fruit on the upper left hand side is a "Chaffey", and has a very different flavor. It has a lot of acidity, and a strong cherimoya flavor. The texture is a little drier, maybe slightly gritty, not quite as juicy as say a white or a Bays.

The other two fruits are unknowns, found inside the south coast field station orchard. I didn't have a map of the trees in order to figure out what they are. The yellow skinned fruit was absolutely delicious, sweet, some acidity, and creamy. It is very interesting because it doesn't look like any of the other fruits in the orchard. In fact, from the outside, it looked like a yellow "Selma", but it was white inside. The other fruit in the lower left was most likely a "Bay" fruit, somewhat insipid compared to the others.

The following thread was started by Axel on March 04, 2006 at 8:53 pm PST

Selma, the all time winner

By far my all time favorite flavored variety. A few years ago, ordered some Selma fruit from Calemoya, and back then, I concluded it was by far the best fruit. However, my bias was wiped out this year by a a fruit that was picked way too early and turned out to be insipid. I was dissapointed, but once I got my hands on some tree ripened fruit from Calemoya, any doubts about Selma dissapeared instantly.

The flavor is the most complex, in that it has the most acidity, and yet is very sweet. It's like a good wine in the sense that there are so many different flavors at work here. Selma has too many seeds and it's hard to find a nicely shaped fruit, even in the Calemoya orchard where virtually every other tree there produced many large, picture perfect fruit. So that's why Selma isn't a preferred fruit. However, Calemoya has enough of a following for the fruit that they have planted 10 or so trees, making them the first commercial grower of the fruit.

Rumor has it that Selma develops the best flavor and color in cooler climates, and thus, it's no wonder that Calemoya's Selma fruits were so much better than the Selma I got in Simi Valley. In fact, that fruit had developed far less color than the fruit from Calemoya. But I think it's most likely due to the fact that that fruit was picked too early.

In Goleta, Selma is the last fruit to ripen, and the season typically doesn't start until mid April, about 2-3 weeks after Booth, also a very late variety. So Selma is very late, and may be a Summer producer for the Bay area.

Selma seeds are very different from other seeds, with a much rougher seed coat, and the seeds typically stay pitch black in color even after they dry.

It was reported in the Fruit Gardener that a Selma tree survived the 1990-91 freezes with little damage, compared to heavy damage on neighboring Bay, White, and Booth trees, even though the Selma tree had no positional advantage in a relatively flat orchard. Other reports have confirmed this finding, so this may be a very hardy variety. The hardiness may be due to the fact that it might go dormant during the cooler Winter months, which also explains why the fruits ripen so much later. Essentially, the fruits are in suspended animation during the dormant period.

The above followup was added by Axel on March 04, 2006 at 9:08 pm PST.

Picture of the Selma, sliced open

Here;s a picture of Selma sliced open. The right side shows the skin left over after I devoured one side. Most of the color is right under the skin, and the best flavor is right by the skin, so the red coloring seems to correlate with the flavor.

The above followup was added by Axel on March 04, 2006 at 9:15 pm PST.

Kinda of an ugly fruit from the outside

Selma really isn't a pretty cherimoya, especially when it gets close to being ripe. See the picture, not exactly very photogenic.

The above followup was added by Axel on March 04, 2006 at 9:19 pm PST.

White, Booth, and White X Booth

White and booth are quite common. White makes very large, super sweet fruit, and the tree is very vigorous. Unfortunately, white isn't as good, it simply doesn't have that much depth in flavor. The flavor is just super sweet, almost overpoweringly sweet, kinda like eating candy. It's so sweet, it's like eating saccarin. Calemoya's customers confirm this as well, they prefer booth over white. Also, fruits picked too soon develop some bitter overtones, so it's important to pick the fruit just right. White is very juicy as well.

Personally, I like white quite a bit, although I prefer booth as well, I can only eat so much white fruit in one sitting, because the sweetness is so overpowering. This is not the case with Booth.

Booth makes smaller fruit with much smaller seeds, but there are more seeds in the fruit. Booth is very juicy, but very creamy at the same time, and has a nice acidic overtone that mellows out the sweetness. It's a great fruit. Booth trees aren't as vigorous, but have a nice, upright growth habit.

Calemoya did a number of whiteXbooth crosses, and selected one cultivar that turns out to best combine the most desirable attributes. They didn't name this variety, so for the time being, I'll just call it "Rusky". The fruit looks like a Booth, but bigger. It doesn't have the creaminess of the booth, but it does have the acidity of a booth, making it a delivious fruit indeed. The tree has the vigor of white but the upright growth habit of booth.

The picture below shows, from left to right, a white, the whitexbooth cross in the middle, and the booth on the right hand side. I think the middle fruit looks almost like a bays, but bays fruits are smaller and insipid compared to this fruit.

Anyhow, that's all for now. I'll add more pictures later.


The above followup was added by Axel on March 04, 2006 at 9:50 pm PST.

Chaffey @ Safeway !!

Hey Axel ! Nice pictures and commentary on the flavors...Yesterday I cut open that moya from Safeway, and from your pictures and description of taste and texture...I do believe it is Chaffey....Are they growing that variety down in Santa Barbara for the commercial market ?

I stopped off at a few Asian Markets in the Bay Area last week to see if any moya's there yet...and did not find any.. The one I had last night from Safeway was actually pretty good....just as you described above for the Chaffey...I will continue to look around...maybe they got some at the SF Farmer Market ?


The above followup was added by EZ on March 05, 2006 at 8:22 am PST.

Cherimoyas in Chinatown

I have seen many in Oakland Chinatown, but I have no idea which ones they are.....


The above followup was added by carlo on March 05, 2006 at 10:52 am PST.

Sf farmers market

I got some there two weeks ago and some guavas. The cherimoya was ok but all th cherimoyas I've ever had arne't anything you guys say they are. I just gota have tree ripend one i guess.

The above followup was added by Thomas on March 05, 2006 at 2:27 pm PST.

Ripening a cherimoya

Whats the best way to ripen a cherimoya?
I purchaced one today at "SF Market" an asian grocery store in south Sacramento.

I have heard that store bought cherimoya are hit or miss (usually miss), but I am egar to try this fruit that I have heard such great things about.

It is a bueatifull fruit just over a pound, it looks like the pictures I have seen of booth, and it is quite hard.

Should I ripen it at room temp than refrigerate? Or just throw it in the fridge?



The above followup was added by Jeff_Woodland on March 05, 2006 at 2:46 pm PST.

Selma trees available?

Can one purchase Selma cherimoya trees from any commercial nurseries?

The above followup was added by Terence Welch on March 05, 2006 at 3:14 pm PST.

Fruit storage, availability of Selma

Jeff, don't store the fruit in the refrigerator, it's a sure way to not get it to ripen properly. Let it ripen at room temperature. When it gives to finger pressure near the bottom, then it's ready to eat.

The "Chaffey" look is also the same as "Bay", the most widely commercially grown cultivar, and "Pierce" and a few others, so it's hard to tell, but if the flavor is slightly acidic, and the flesh texture is slightly granular inside, then it's most likely a Chaffey.

Terence, Selma is not available for purchase at a nursery, but you can get trees from Calemoya in Santa Barbara.


The above followup was added by Axel on March 05, 2006 at 9:42 pm PST.

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