(Annona muricata – Family Annonaceae)
corossol/cachiman épineux (French), Sauerapfel (German), guanabnan/zapote agrio (Spanish), zuurzak (Dutch), thu-rian-rhaek (Thai), seetha (Tamil), durian Belanda (Malay), guayabano (Philippines), ci guo fan li zhi (Chinese), togebanreishi (Japanese), seremaia (Fiji)
Soursop is a tropical fruit native to the West Indies and northern South America, but now cultivated in Mexico, India, Southeast Asia, and Polynesia.
It was one of the first fruit trees taken from America to the tropical regions of Australia and the lowlands of East and West Africa. It seems to thrive especially well on tropical islands.
is the mountain soursop of the West Indies, and is a larger tree than the ordinary, but bears smaller and inferior fruit.
The name may have originally come from the Dutch “zuurzak”, which is also used in the Netherlands Antilles and Indonesia; but the derivation is uncertain. The Malay name does indicate this Dutch origin.
The word “Belanda” means Hollander and was used to indicate something foreign and made known by the Dutch. Because the fruit is spiny, the word “durian” was also applied to indicate its similarity to the familiar durian fruit.
This interpretation also indicates that the fruit was “foreign”, but resembled something “familiar” or already known and has resulted in other interesting etymology of that region.
“Halwa belanda” means chocolate and “kuching belanda” means “foreign cat’ or “rabbit”, which was also introduced into Malaysia.
The small trees bear their fruit indiscriminately on twigs, branches and trunk. These fruits range in size from four to twelve inches in length, and up to about ten pounds in weight.
They can be oval or irregularly shaped as one side usually grows faster than the other. The thin skin has a leathery appearance, but is surprisingly tender. This skin is a dark green, but later turns yellowish-green, and finally all yellow when over-ripe.
Because of the soft spines on the skin, the soursop is sometimes called the prickly custard apple. The white flesh consists of numerous segments, mostly seedless. If there are seeds, they cannot be eaten as they contain toxins.
The fruits are picked while still firm and said to be at their best if eaten five or six days later. The flavour varies from poor (like wet cotton) to very good, but it is more acidic than its relatives.
The aroma is like that of a pineapple.
Depending on the variety, some can be opened like a melon and eaten raw; while others, especially unripened fruit, is best used as a vegetable.
When boiled, it has the flavour of corn. The fruits are very juicy and make good sherbets, ice cream, or such beverages as the Brazilian champola or the Puerto Rican carato.