Custard Apple or Cherimoya: Seasonal Fruits of Belize

“Fruit Season in Belize” is just starting.  It is the time of year when we see new, very seasonal and perhaps mysterious fruits at the local vegetable stands.  Tropical fruits that grow in Belize, many that are never seen in the US or Canada because they just don’t travel well – soft and delicate.

Last week, I saw the Belizean custard apple or, in Spanish, the cherimoya, at the fruit stand and remembered how delicious this beauty is.

The custard apple at a fruit stand
Custard apples in the middle with local avocados on right and sapodilla on left

My suggestion when you see a strange fruit is to grab it. Talk to the fruit stand vendor about it: is this one ready to eat? How do you guys eat it locally? I always learn a bunch and tried delicious new things. And a few I didn’t love.

You will most likely buy it firm and then after a day or two, it will ripen and soften. Ready to eat when soft.

The inside of the custard apple
They start to turn a bit pinkish when they are ripe

Also, if you don’t trust my opinion on this fruit, Mark Twain called the custard apple “the most delicious fruit known to men”.  His books weren’t half-bad; maybe he knew something about fruit.  🙂 Let’s give it a try.

(I also love the name of this fruit.  I would love to hear more husbands calling their wives “my little custard apple”…so much better than pumpkin or honey.)

The Belize (and other parts of the Caribbean like Jamaica and Trinidad) often have different names for fruits than other parts of Central America. The term custard apple is also used for the sweetsop. It’s confusing…but you just need to know that the Custard Apple is closely related to Belize’s favorite ice cream fruit flavor, the Soursop. It is native to Central America and it is FREAKING DELICIOUS.

You can read: Soursop: My Brush with Fame and Fortune Here

One I ate a few years ago, it was fully pink and delicious

Also good to know…the large black shiny seeds are poisonous when crushed.  They are very hard…not something that would crack accidentally. A hammer might do it.

Here it is chilled and split. The inside is creamy…unlike any other fruit I’ve tried (other than soursop but I know for many of you that is NOT helpful) Perhaps like a ripe banana but creamier.

Inside of custard apple
I see why it is named custard…sherbet apple would be fitting too

It is soft and smooth, velvety and sweet. Tangy as well.  I’d say it’s like a tropical pear flavor with a bit of vanilla with a light citrus twang. It is more creamy than the grainer soursop.

This fruit is delish.  Just eat it with a spoon. It is also very popular blended with milk or condensed milk and ice to make a smoothie (yum).

This apple cost me $10bzd in my shop – and took me a few days to finish. (People on mainland Belize are probably aghast at that price…they are probably available in your yard for free right now) But they do not grow on Ambergris Caye.

Congratulations Custard Apple!  You maintain your spot on the SanPedroScoop Top Five fruits in the world.

In case you wanted to see my full list…

1.  Avocado (available in Belize in the summer, sporadically during the rest of the year if brought from Mexico)
2. Red Cherries (not available in Belize unless specially imported)
3. Mangos (Mexican mangos are imported in fall, winter and early spring, Belizean mangos available widely all summer long)
4.  Raspberry (imported)
5. Custard Apple

What have I missed? What’s your favorite fruit?

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  1. Joan on February 12th, 2024 at 10:20 am

    Durian of course!!! And I emailed you the recipe.

    • San Pedro Scoop on February 12th, 2024 at 3:54 pm

      You don’t actually like durian…right? EEEEK!

  2. Bb on February 12th, 2024 at 11:03 am

    10 bz for one apple ?

    • San Pedro Scoop on February 12th, 2024 at 3:53 pm

      Yes…I think it was 2 or $2.50bzd a lb. They are quite big and heavy for their size.

  3. Christine on February 12th, 2024 at 11:23 am

    How long is the season? Will they still be available in May?

    • San Pedro Scoop on February 12th, 2024 at 3:53 pm

      It’s hard to say – I’m used to seeing them Feb – about April but it can change each year. May starts MANGO season! My favorite season – there are so many different types of mnagos in Belize.

  4. Lisa on February 12th, 2024 at 11:53 am

    How could you forget sweetsops (chirimoya) or sapodilla? Or Starapple (Caimito)…or tiny apple bananas or ripe sweet pineapple? Succulent small honey papaya ?

    Keep your imported fruit. Meh.

    • San Pedro Scoop on February 12th, 2024 at 3:52 pm

      I’ve never tried sweet sops – I don’t think i’ve seen it in San Pedro but I will keep looking. An amazing pineapple is heavenly – but I think I might be taking them for granted now!

  5. Josh Knox on February 12th, 2024 at 7:24 pm

    We grow PawPaw in Massachusetts: a Soursop. Yum!

    • San Pedro Scoop on February 14th, 2024 at 9:14 am

      The NYTimes had a great article on pawpaw – and someone who is growing them in the Bronx (maybe Brooklyn) and how they are having a resurgence. Soooo cool. I’d love to try one.