Do you enjoy trying exotic fruits that are seldom found in your local supermarket? The ungainly looking soursop is one to add to your list. Covered in tough green skin and ominous-looking spines, this fruit looks a bit like jackfruit or durian. But what does soursop taste like? Is it worth your money? Let's find out.
The soursop has a sweet tropical flavor with a tart, acidic undertone. Its taste is a combination of pineapple, banana, and apple all rolled into one bite. Soursops offer a creamy mouthfeel with a juicy, fibrous texture. Once sliced open, the white interior has a strong citrusy, floral aroma.
Different factors impact the fruit's flavor and texture. The type of soursop, as well as the level of ripeness, will play a role. There is an increasing number of varieties, and grafted versions have been "engineered" to create fruit with less fibrous pulp.
The soursop is a member of the custard apple family and is known as guanábana in Spanish. It is a distant cousin of the pawpaw. Once halved, you'll notice both these fruit types have large, dark seeds set in their flesh. You can find out more about the taste of pawpaw here.
The soursop is delicious eaten on its own when the ripe fruit is picked from the tree. You'll discover that the texture isn't ideal for slicing into neat cubes for a fruit salad. The somewhat fibrous, juicy texture causes it to lose its structure. But, it can be torn into pieces and served chilled with sugar and cream.
To eat on its own, use a spoon and scoop out the flesh. Select a fresh, ripe soursop and halve it. A sharp kitchen knife will easily slice through this fruit. The seeds are bitter and inedible. They're also mildly toxic, and should be discarded before eating. Thankfully, there aren't a lot of them, and their large size makes it easy to pick them out.
Soursops are an excellent ingredient for adding tropical flavor and fragrance to sweet food and beverages. Popular uses in recipes include:
- ice cream and sorbet
- custard-based flans
Extracting the juice from a soursop is simple. Slice the fruit in half and scoop the pulp into a sieve or cheesecloth. Gently pressing down on the fruit will reap a bounty of juice, suitable for adding to drinks or your favorite dessert.
How to select a good soursop
Depending on where you live, finding the fruit may be your biggest challenge. They are readily available in tropical climates such as South East Asia, South America, the Caribbean, and Central America. Outside of those areas, your best option is to find markets that sell exotic, tropical produce. Vendors in Chinatown, New York have been known to sell them. Asian grocers will sometimes stock the fruit when they're in season.
Look for a fruit that is green with a yellowish tinge. A dark green color signifies an unripe fruit. If this is your only option, you can buy it and leave it for a week to ripen on the counter before consuming it.
When lightly pressed, the fruit should have a little give. The spines will have softened and shouldn't be painful to touch.
A ripened soursop can be stored in the refrigerator for 4-7 days. If the fruit has been chopped up, then it will last two days in the fridge. Store in an airtight container for best results.
If you can't get your hands on soursop, then some alternatives will work just as well. Your best option is to opt for a cherimoya, which is also a member of the custard family. Although the fruit is smaller than most soursops, it tastes similar.
If cherimoya fruit isn't available, your next best option is to combine pineapple, lemon, strawberries, and bananas in a blender and mix until combined. This mixture will add a tropical flavor with a hint of sourness to desserts or beverages.
Soursop is revered for its nutritional properties, including Vitamin C, iron, fiber, and calcium. It is high in antioxidants, vitamins, and minerals while being low in calories.
The leaves, stems, and fruit of the soursop are used medicinally with studies showing various health benefits. https://www.healthline.com/nutrition/soursop-benefits#section3. A product that derives from soursop is Graviola (A. muricata). Although there has been a lot of hype previously about its potential to treat cancer, there is still a lack of reliable medical evidence to back up any claims [source].
How to make a soursop smoothie
- 1 soursop
- 1 cup fresh coconut
- ½ cup pineapple, roughly chopped
- 1 cup spinach leaves
- 1 tsp fresh ginger, peeled
- ½ cup coconut milk
- ½ cup ice
- Peel the soursop with a paring knife or simply peel off with your fingers. Cut it in half and chop off the stem. Place the pulp into a bowl and break the flesh into small bits, then remove all seeds and discard.
- Add the soursop, coconut, pineapple, spinach leaves, ginger, coconut milk and ice to a blender. Pulse until everything is nicely combined.
- Pour the smoothie into a tall glass and serve immediately.
- Soursop leaf can be used to make a refreshing tea.
- The seeds are poisonous and should always be avoided.
- The name soursop derives from the Dutch word "zuurzak," which means "sour sack."
- Pulverized seeds are useful in the treatment of head lice and as a pesticide.
Frequently asked questions
Is soursop sweet or sour?
Soursop has a unique flavor that is predominantly sweet, with a sour undertone.
Can you eat soursop seeds?
The seeds from the soursop fruit should not be eaten as they are unpleasantly bitter and have low levels of toxicity. A seed extract is sold in some countries as a supplement.
The soursop has a sweet tropical flavor with a tart, acidic undertone. Its fibrous sections mean that people often use the fruit for juicing rather than to eat on its own. For those that enjoy fruity desserts, they will be able to create a tasty sweet dish with this ingredient.
Do you have a recipe that uses soursop? Let us know in the comments below.