Cherimoya (Ashta)

December 17, 2009  •  Category:

The next thing that a Lebanese  foodie would do upon arrival in Beirut is check out the neighborhood fruit stalls. Found some cherimoya (ashta in Arabic or anone in French) and had to taste the fruit Mark Twain called ” the most delicious fruit known to man”. Here again, I was not disappointed. Meltingly sweet, with a flesh so tender it dissolved in the mouth, a taste of the most heavenly pear you have ever experienced…I wish you could all have one! Grown about 30 miles near Beirut, in Nahr Ibrahim ( River of Abraham), it did not travel far. Nahr Ibrahim is also known by the river of the God Adonis (God of fertility). Legend has it that he died there in the Spring and the river got tainted red with his blood, hence the reddish hue of that river. Archeological sights abound near  there, going back to Phoenician times as well as Greeks, Romans and more. It is said to be the path of a  pilgrimage in antiquity when  people would partake in bacchanals near  the source of that river in Faqra, a few miles north.

When the fruit yields to gentle pressure, it is ready. Tear a piece gently and suck the white flesh, which will instantly melt in your mouth and release a black seed; then reflect on the wonder of God’s creations as you sigh in marveled contentment.



21 Comments  •  Comments Feed

  1. Rosa says:

    I love this unique fruit!



  2. Ivy says:

    Very interesting. I never heard of this fruit before.

  3. Bria says:

    Amazing! I want one. 🙂

  4. HistoryOf GreekFood says:

    oh, the custard apple! I have never eaten it but a friend described its taste like a combination of anana, mango, papaya, strawberry, apple and big bubble gum! Quite unique!

  5. Mona says:

    Back home in AP-India, this fruit is so easily available in HUGE quantities at very reasonable rates when in season. Oh I miss this wonderful fruit now. Here it is one of the most costliest fruits.

  6. SE(Denufood) says: miss this fruit so was so easily available in India..we call it sitaphal…

  7. Marysol says:

    Beautiful photo of a beautiful fruit.
    As a kid living on the island of Cuba, I enjoyed Cherimoyas, on a regular basis, either out of hand, or in a batido (milkshake).
    I recently found them again, in a local grocery store, and nearly broke into a dance, right there, in the middle of the produce aisle.
    But my new discovery barely resembled the same fruit I had back on the island. It had no flavor, and the texture was not as creamy as I remembered.
    So, I’ve been pouting ever since. But I’m still keeping an eye out for this succulent fruit.

  8. profdr says:

    Qeshta (Arabic), Eshta (Arabic), annona, cherimoya,… is my love and researches
    did you you know about my Nagi and Badr new atemoyas selections, few seeds than custard apple or cherimolia and sweeter. There are also names of died brother and father , hope them be in the highest ferdause (paradise)

  9. cmiranda says:

    Wow , I didn’t know they had cherimoyas in Lebanon.I always thought they were only available in Central America.Gives me something to look forward to when I go to Beirut next year.

  10. Jean says:

    I just bought two scrumptious looking cherimoya (called custard appled here) at the Japanese supermarket in SIngapore …. and can’t wait to eat them. Kisses sister, enjoy your trip to the old country 🙂

  11. david says:

    Great post – great descriptions and picture. Cherimoya can be very expensive in the US, when it can be found, and outside of California, Florida or NYC, that can be a challenge. The flavor is incredible – to me it’s reminiscent of a highly complex mixture of banana, melon, mango and coconut. Many sweet fruits have such a one-dimensional flavor; this is an exception – a very complex and deep flavor indeed! It should be noted that the seeds (which have an impermeable, protective shell) are NOT to be ingested.

  12. kristy says:

    This is not the cherimoya. This fruit is the sugar apple. It is the same family as the cherimoya. Check out my blog if you want to see how the cherimoya look like. You can actually order this fruit from They are very sweet.

  13. curious :P says:

    what are its benifits???????? can someone answer!

  14. Kamal says:

    Here in India we make delicious ice-cream with this fruit.

  15. Bev says:

    Cherimoya and what I know as ashtah are in the same family but they are not the same fruit. I first tried ashtah in Beirut (which is what you have pictured here)but in the states, all I can find are cherimoya. Although they also taste sweet and wonderful, they are not the same. I wish I could find ashtah in the US.

  16. Ziad says:

    ohhh man this is the fruit of my childhood memories of Lebanon , I always confused it with cherimoya but that looks nothing like this ,no this would be a larger version of its cousin called the sugar apple or sweetsop ,the next closest thing to it would be annona but i think this is what is known as custard apple which resembles it exactly in shape and size and interior but we call it ashta ,thx for the wonderful memory lane Joumana

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