The cultivation of chirimollos

The attractive appearance, taste and smell of the custard so special, draw attention of tourists who visit us. This semi-tropical fruit that we have made our own, has qualities that are now recognized also abroad. It is believed that in the near term, its cultivation will increase, to satisfy a growing market.
The scientific name is Annona cherimola species and is a South American contribution to the fruit. It originated in the foothills of the northern highlands of Peru and Ecuador, located between 1,500 and 2,200 meters above sea level. In regions too close to them also come lĂșcumo and papaya, fruit trees deeply rooted in the country and whose suitability for agriculture and domestic consumption has been there privilegiada.En Chile, according to the land made in 1992, about 1,500 hectares planted with cherimoya, which means a marked increase in cultivation, due to expectations of the fruit export. So long has passed the area of 400 hectares had been stable for many years in our environment.
Its fruit colorful, and exquisite decorative applications typically have between us in Chile, as added to milk or wine and ice cream making and consuming fresh, in a variety of desserts. During its period of maturation, winter and spring, the only other fruit available for the uses described are the strawberry and banana.
At continental level, its cultivation is still little known, falling to semi-wild plantations in their home and neighboring countries, except for some commercial crops consideration in Chile, Bolivia and Peru. In Europe, only in Spain.
Other species of the genus Annona, similar to the custard apple, grown in central and southern regions of America, which have tropical climate. These include the soursop (Annona muricata) and sugar apple (Annona squamosa), whose development is limited by increased susceptibility to certain pests, particularly some types of fruit flies. There is also a hybrid of A. cherimola and A. squamosa, atemoya, with plantations of importance in Israel.

Requirements cherimoyas

Because of its strict climatic requirements and sensitivity to frost, the crop in Chile is particularly focused on two points which are traditional producers of cherimoya: La Serena and Quillota. However, it also is being planted in other locations in the central zone with mild climate and strong maritime influence, especially on the slopes of the hills are less exposed to frost.
The cherimoya is a slow growing tree that reaches a large size after a long time. It is long-lived, since copies can be found close to one hundred years, yet productive.
As its growth is messy, the plant requires pruning for an adequate education. In many cases it is necessary to install a trellis type support, with rods to be flexible and support branches laden with fruit.
Being an evergreen fruit, a very particular characteristic of this tree is that in late spring is almost completely clear of leaves, remaining in that state for a month.Just then, other fruit are at their peak foliage, while the cherimoya enters a latent form, after which emerges forcefully and flowers. This growth of shoots and flowers occurs during the summer.

The fruit

The custard apple is a fruit compound called botanically sincarpio, formed through the merger and subsequent development of many pistils, between 70 and 100 - which has the flower. For fruiting occurs, the egg must be fertilized every pistil and give rise to a seed, a fact not easily occur because the gap between the receptivity of the pistil and pollen release evacuated by 180-200 stamens of each flower. To this is added the difficulty that the species has the bees to penetrate the interior of the flowers, very narrow in its corolla.
For these reasons, the cherimoya naturally low yields generally achieved with a high proportion of fruit girl and deformed. Only a few manage to be pollinated flowers and many of them are in part, to develop some ovaries while the rest remain stunted.
However, the problem of fruit set can be solved through manual pollination system, which ensures higher levels of production, large fruit and symmetric. The method consists of depositing on the flowers, with a brush, the pollen collected the day before.

Cherimoya varieties

There are several varieties of cherimoya, although the differences are, more than anything in the external characteristics of the fruit. Of these, the two most widely planted today are smooth and brown shell. The first produces a fruit rounded and smooth, while the second is more elongated, somewhat conical, with bumps on the bases and a half.
Compensation to the difficulties encountered this fruit, in terms of productivity, is the abundant and tasty fruit pulp. So much so, that where you can cultivate a cherimoya, is planted with pleasure, because we all know that there are no exceptions to the rule that states: the good, little.
The tasty custard we used in desserts and fine Burgundies.


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