Fruit of the Month: Soursop
Rich, silky and sweet, soursop is also known as “nature’s ice cream.” You may have seen it labeled as Brazilian paw paw or graviola (its name in Portuguese), but in Costa Rica it’s called guanabana (pronounced gwah-nah-bah-nah). Here in the tropics, soursop (Annona muricata) can grow to massive proportions: the spiky green fruit often weighs in at more than five pounds!
Native to the Caribbean, Mexico, as well as Central and South America, soursop is grown throughout Costa Rica. Due to its large size, vendors often cut soursop into smaller sections around one or two pounds each, the ideal portion for a few quarts of sweet juice.
Once you open the football-sized fruit, its velvety, white flesh is exposed. Soursop’s unique flavor is often described as a mix between strawberries and pineapple, with undertones similar to those of banana or coconut. The fruit is a great source of vitamin C, B1, and B2, and some studies have shown it to possess anti-cancer qualities.
Though delicious when consumed raw, soursop’s soft flesh is difficult to spear with a fork or scoop with a spoon (fingers are best!). It can be turned into delicious sorbet, ultra-rich ice cream, or homemade candies, but it’s most often enjoyed as a natural juice.
Fresh Soursop Juice
1 pound soursop, peeled, seeded, and cubed
1 ½ cups milk or water
Sugar, to taste
1 cup crushed ice, optional
1 lemon or lime, optional
1. Blend the soursop and milk or water in the blender. Taste and add sugar as needed. Generally, the riper the fruit, the less sugar you will need.
2. If desired, add ice and citrus and blend again until smooth. Tip: Add ice only right before consumption. If you plan to wait awhile to enjoy the juice, store the concentrated mixture in the refrigerator and add ice just before serving.