Soursop or gravioloa tastes better than its sounds, and possibly even better than it looks. It’s quickly becoming one of my favorite fruits on our farm as it seems to fruit the majority of the year. Even our 3 year old tree puts out huge 8 lb fruits.
Latin Name and Family
The Latin name for soursop is Annona muricata. It is a species of the genus Annona and is in the custard apple tree family, Annonaceae. Other common names are Guanábana, Corossol, Graviola, Brazilian Cherimoya, and Brazilian Paw Paw.
Soursop taste and culinary uses:
Soursop tastes likes guava and pear, and has the aroma of pineapple. The fresh fruit is ideal to eat “as is” or raw, but it is also great for use in drinks, cocktails, and sorbets. You can eat the immature fruits fried or boiled, in soups etc. Alternatively, for the ripe flesh of the fruit popular recipes include soursop punch, soursop smoothies, ice creams, and even pies.
Check out this site for a few ideas: https://www.thedailymeal.com/best-recipes/soursop. Furthermore, new leaf shoots can be boiled and added to other meat or vegetable dishes. However, please use caution to remove all seeds, especially before blending the pulp as the seeds of annona trees are toxic if ingested. Also, the leaves are used to make a tea which is gaining scientific recognition for helping prevent and reduce cancer.
Harvest and storage:
You can pick graviola once starts to turn soft and change from shiny dark green to dull light green and their spines are set further apart. If it ripens on the tree it will drop and bruise too much be salvaged for food. It must be handled with extreme care. The unripe light green fruits can be kept a few days at room temperature. Then, once they yield to a little pressure of your thumb they can be kept a few more days in the fridge. In the fridge the skin will blacken but the flesh is still unspoiled. Hawaii scientists have shown that it is ideal for consumption for 5-6 days after picking it from the tree.
Soursop is high in pectin and vitamin C and B. It is antiviral, anti parasitic, and scientific evidence is beginning to show that it may slow the growth of cancer cells and help to kill cancer cells. It helps with stomach distress, relieves cough and respiratory illness, depression, arthritis.
Soursop is known to contain alkaloids that may account for the relaxing effect people feel after consumption (Bourne, 1979), (Hasrat, Pieters, De Backer, Vauquelin, & Vlietinck, 1997). In Nigeria, they use the fresh juice as an anti-pyretic (reduces fevers). Additionally, in Dominica people eat the fruit to induce lactation. Furthermore, in Trinidad and Tobago soursop is used to provide useful quantities of a range of electrolytes to combat dehydration caused by acute diarrhea (Fisheries, 2008). For more information on the scientific evidence of soursops visit: http://www.thealternativedaily.com/graviola-fruit-for-cancer/amp/.
Characteristics of the soursop fruit:
The fruit varies in shape from somewhat oval, to heart shaped, and equally it is irregular, lopsided or curved. It ranges from 4 to 12 in (10-30 cm) long and up to 6 in (15 cm) wide, and averages around 4.5 lbs but may weigh up to 15 lbs (6.8 kg).
Soursops have a reptilian appearance, with soft, short and curved spines. The skin is dark-green when the fruit is under-ripe or immature. As it ripens it becomes slightly yellowish-green and soft. Soursop’s inner surface is off-white cream-colored. In the center is a soft-pithy core and inside it has smooth, hard, oblong-ish black seeds about the size of beans.
Although soursop is a relative of cherimoya, it grows in the tropical lowlands (for example, less than 1,000 feet). They grow to about 25-30 feet tall. Most people select seed from delicious and ideal fruits for propagation, although some people prefer to air layering, budding or grafting. Soursops begin to bear fruit at 3-5 years old. The fruit may ripen year round but tends to peak in the middle of summer.
Other related articles:
If you like soursop you should try other fruits from the Annona family like my favorite fruit, the lemon meringue pie fruit, Rollinia. Also, equally as famous as soursop although in a different family is the queen of fruits, Mangosteen.
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