Fruits are the original dessert; it’s in our DNA to crave their natural sweetness. Long before we were tempted with high-fructose corn syrup and artificial flavours, people refreshed themselves with juicy, fresh fruits.
The flesh of the soursop fruit consists of an edible, white pulp, some fiber, and a core of indigestible, black seeds. The taste of the soursop fruit is compared to that of a combination of strawberry and pineapple with other sweet, citrus notes, contrasting with an underlying creamy texture reminiscent of coconut and banana.
Soursop is popularly grown for individual consumption as a garden fruit. It is a large green-skinned fruit with a spikey, rough textured coat and an edible cottony white pulp interior. The soft pulp and fiber of soursop is widely used to make fruit juice drinks, nectars, candies, sorbets, ice cream desserts, smoothies and shakes.
Soursop is the fruit of Annona muricata (common Spanish name: guanábana), a broadleaf, flowering, evergreen tree which is a species of the genus Annona of the custard apple tree family. This fruit can grow to a mass of up to 7 kilograms (approximately 15 pounds). Soursop is native to the Caribbean and Central America but is now widely cultivated in tropical climates throughout the world. Due to the fruit’s widespread cultivation and popularity in parts of Latin America, the Caribbean, Africa, Southeast Asia and the Pacific, soursop and its derivative products are consumed across the world, also via branded food and beverage products available in many countries, including Canada, Brazil, Mexico, the United States, the UK, Ireland and Continental Europe, Indonesia, Japan, Malaysia, Singapore and Vietnam.
In the Philippines, soursop is called guyabano, derived from the Spanish guanábana, and is eaten ripe, or used to make juices, smoothies, or ice cream. Sometimes, the leaf of the soursop tree is used to tenderize meat.
In Malaysia, soursop is known in Malay as durian belanda and in East Malaysia, it is locally known as lampun. Popularly, it is eaten raw when it ripens, or used as one of the ingredients in Ais Batu Campur, which is a popular mixed ice dessert.
In Indonesia, dodol sirsak, a sweetmeat, is made by boiling soursop pulp in water and adding sugar until the mixture hardens. Soursop is also a common ingredient for making fresh fruit juices that are sold by street food vendors.
In Brunei Darussalam, this fruit is popularly known as “Durian Salat,” widely available and easily planted.
In Mexico, Colombia, Venezuela, and Harar (Ethiopia), it is a common fruit, often used for dessert as the only ingredient. In Colombia and Venezuela, soursop is used to make an aqua fresca beverage which is a fruit juice mixed with milk.
In Cuba, a thick smoothie made of soursop pulp, milk and cane sugar goes by the name of champola. Same as with making Jamaican soursop drinks, the seeds are removed when using a blender for processing. Ice cream and fruit bars made of soursop are also very popular in Cuba.
In Australia, another species of fruit similar to soursop called custard apple, is consumed as a dessert.
The good news is that it isn’t difficult to make this refreshing tropical drink. Sitting on your kitchen counter is a tool that can turn any soft fruit into a great drink in moments: the blender. Here are some general suggestions for making this delightful fruit shake that was traditionally served to me as a treat with Sunday meals in Jamaica:
- Use soft, ripe fruit. When choosing soursop, it should be soft but firm. Slightly overripe fruit is usually fine; rotten fruit is not.
- Remove the core and seeds. The seeds are normally left in the preparation, and removed with your hand while consuming, unless a blender is used for processing.
- As you would when blending most fruit shakes, you’ll need some added liquid as well. One of the most important ingredients in many beverages is water. Sparkling water adds a nice touch.
- Soursop shake is sweetened with condensed milk and nutmeg to make a thick, rich drink. For a lighter shake, skip the condensed milk and sweeten with honey only to taste. Use a squeeze of lemon or lime juice to balance the sweetness and complexity.
- Always taste after blending; it’s never too late to adjust the flavours.
- Use a hand blender make your shake even creamier (this step is optional). Add some crushed ice if you like, for extra chill and body.
Double or even triple this recipe to serve a crowd. Always adjust the sweetener and check to see if a little freshly squeezed lemon juice would balance the mix. Now, I can assure you that my Jamaican mommy who taught me to make soursop shake/drink/juice, never used sparkling water, but these general suggestions are the basics that will in time, allow you to make great fruit drinks without any recipe at all.
Soursop Fruit Shake
Taste the tropics!
1 x 1lb ripe soursop
5 – 6 cups water
Sweetened condensed milk (sweeten to taste)
1 tablespoon vanilla extract
A squeeze of fresh lemon juice (optional)
1 teaspoon grated nutmeg
- Peel the soursop by hand and place in a large mixing bowl. Remove the core and the seeds.
- Place the prepared soursop into a blender. Add 3 cups of water and puree. Add an additional 2 cups of water and puree for 1 minute longer.
- In a large mixing bowl, use a strainer or a sieve to remove fruit fibers. This will allow for a smooth, pulp-free shake.
- Add the sweetened condensed milk, nutmeg, lemon juice (optional) and vanilla and stir to blend. Taste and adjust ingredients as needed for desired taste.
- Serve chilled, with or without crushed ice. Add a dash of nutmeg to each glass before serving.
Use a hand blender make your shake even creamier.
For a lighter version, omit sweetened condensed milk and sweeten with sugar to taste. If you choose to make the lighter version, note you can substitute water with almond milk.
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See more: Cooking Green Goodness
The sweet tastes in fruit entice us. This is because our palates crave the unique balance of sweet and tart that really good fruits provide. When we consume them, their healthfulness reward us unlike “fruit-flavoured” drinks like sodas. The difference between a drink made with freshly pressed juice and one made with a sugary mix, is like night and day.