My first soursop experience came not long after we had purchased our property in the Mowbray Valley, near Port Douglas in Far North Queensland.
Several trees with shiny green leaves and perfumed, creamy flowers developed strange, bulbous looking, heart shaped fruit with what looked like prickles on their green skins.
What a delightful surprise was in store for us when we cut open the creamy, tangy fruit once it had ripened to a softer yellow-green colour. Its delicious, juicy flesh was rather too fibrous for my liking but its taste was heavenly!
The evergreen tree (annona muricata) grows to eight or nine metres in height, with its fruit, which ripens in the warmer months, being up to 30 cm in length, but more commonly around 20cm.
It’s a good idea to keep a close eye on the development of the fruit as it ripens. Left too long on the tree, the once perfect fruit drops with a thud, to explode on impact with the ground!
Soursops, in common with all of the fruits discussed on this website have considerable health benefits as they contain antioxidants such as Vitamin C and some of the B vitamins, along with fibre and minerals such as potassium and magnesium.
But I notice that some fruits and their derivatives (eg powders, juices and capsules), which are recommended specifically to cure ailments such as cancer, have not been clinically tested for these claims.
My recommendation to you would be to not believe everything that you read unless properly controlled studies have been conducted by reputable organizations, with no vested interests in the product, such as independently funded universities.
A case in point are the claims made by some for the cancer curing properties of soursop leaves, also for the seeds and fruit. But other authorities will tell you that the chemical, annononin, present particularly in the seeds, when consumed in large quantities over a prolonged period, may be associated with an increased risk of developing Parkinsons disease. However, it wouldn't occur to me to eat the seeds, which are quite large!
NB: We do not endorse their use but if you wish to purchase soursop leaves or bark in Australia, one reliable source in Far North Queensland is Cape Tribulation Exotic Fruit Farm.
Of course, other fruit seeds, such as those from apples and apricots are also toxic if consumed in vast quantities, so scientific 'findings' need to be put into context and investigated a little more closely to see exactly what was being measured.
It may well be that, in time, some of these tropical fruits will prove to have near miraculous properties – please let me know if you read any convincing academic articles about that?
In the meantime, I suggest that you enjoy this freshly picked, chilled fruit or strain it and make it into refreshing drinks, mix it in with icecream or use it as a topping. Yum!