I can remember sitting at the kitchen table when I was younger – heels dug firmly into the ground, and mouth twisted in disgust from the smell it. “If you don’t eat it, imma’ put two clap pon yuh backside,” my mother threatened.
Soursap – my childhood archenemy.
“Your aunt Lily lived over 90 and she was as sharp as whistle, because she ate soursap,” my mother implored.
I still didn’t eat it. I got two whacks on my bum.
Hate it or love it, soursap is the beloved fruit of the Caribbean. It also goes by the name graviola, guanabana, or guyabano. It’s consumed fresh, squeezed into juice, canned into jam or jelly, or most commonly made into ice-cream (which I never had).
A few weeks ago, it made its way back into my life when my mom picked up a fresh (smelly) soursop from the Asian supermarket. Curious about whether the health benefits were legitimate or not, I decided to do my own research. Keeping it fun, here is a colourful infographic for you to get acquainted with:
If you are ever adventurous enough to try soursop yourself, I’ve also put together a ‘how-to’ guide below.
How to ‘Clean’ Soursop
- 1 knife
- 1 plate
- 2 bowls
Purchase soursop from your local Caribbean grocer or Asian supermarket. A ripe soursap will be green-yellow-brown and soft to touch. Be careful, as the skin will tear easily if handled roughly.
Ponder at your life choices. Why have you bought such a smelly fruit?
Cut vertically down the centre – you can cut the fruit horizontally, but making the cut vertically will allow you to access most of the seeds
Remove mushy brown core, by pulling the stem away from the flesh.
Separate flesh from skin. At this point you can tear off sections of the fruit so it’s easier to deal with.
The skin should come off fairly easily by tugging it away from the flesh. Place skinned soursap in a clean bowl. Note: in the following pictures, my mom will be cleaning the soursop all in one shot.
Separate seed from flesh. This probably takes the most amount of time as there are many seeds deep within the white flesh. You do not want to consume the seeds, as they are toxic. You’ll have to really dig into the pulp to get to the seeds.
Don’t be afraid to get your hands messy by mashing the pulp between your fingers to release the seeds.
Consume musky, white flesh as is, or drizzle some condensed milk to make it more bearable
Truth be told, I thought eating soursap again would bring back bad childhood memories. Instead, I was incredibly surprised to find the fruit…delicious? Wait. This can’t be. Have all those years of being force-fed soursop made me crave its funky flesh? As they say, ‘don’t fight the feeling.’