SOURSOP - TASTE SENSATION
(One of a series of articles about growing fruit trees
in Samoa, written by Digby Gotts and published in the 'Samoa Observer'
between December 2000 and April 2001)
One of the difficulties of life as a fruit tree advisor is that people
always want to grow something that doesn’t do well in their environment.
Hence the popularity of mangoes in Samoa. One tree that grows readily
in Samoa that seems to be largely ignored, except by children, is the
soursop, or sasalapa. A tree that grows reliably from seed, survives well
in this environment and produces yummy fruit all year really deserves
a bit more attention.
Soursop fruit is a little tricky to get to know, because eaten off the
tree or bought from the market it is often over-ripe, giving it some off
flavours. Yet the juice from this fruit can make a dessert worthy of a
5 star restaurant but simple enough to be made by any villager.
Pick the fruit once it starts to turn pale green to yellow green but
while it is still hard. Keep it in your kitchen until it softens, which
should be less than a week. Once the fruit is soft, deal with it as soon
as possible, as those off flavours develop within 24 hours. The next bit
is a bit messy, so wash your hands well. Peel the fruit and remove the
hard core, slopping the flesh into a coarse sieve or colander. Run your
fingers around inside the sieve, pushing at the flesh. The juice should
go through, leaving the seeds and cotton wool fibre behind. The white
and creamy juice can be poured into containers and frozen until needed.
Save a few of the seeds from the best fruit for planting, but compost
the rest with the fibre and skin.
The soursop juice can be used in many ways, but a favourite dessert in
our house is to mix some into soft ice cream and then refreeze before
serving. The sweet sharp tangy taste is better than any commercially flavoured
ice cream I’ve yet found. If you’re into mixed drinks, try
blending some frozen soursop with bacardi and blue curacao for a great
daiquiri. The non-alcoholics out there might prefer simply mixing it with
soda water. The juice can also be used as a topping on its own, mixed
into cheesecakes and jellies or simply eaten frozen after blending as
a sorbet. I’m sure that there are some creative people who could
really show their stuff with this one.
Soursop is easy to grow your own from seed, but Nafanua has some young
trees. The trees should start to bear fruit at around three years old.