14 Soursop Varieties (The Different Varieties of Soursop)

A focused shot of a soursop fruit.

The soursop originates in Central America’s lowlands. It was plentiful in the West Indies and South America, according to Oviedo, in 1526. It may now be found in the Bahamas and Bermuda and across the West Indies, from sea level to an altitude of 3,500 feet (1,150 meters), and from Mexico, Argentina, and Peru.

For possibly 110 years, the soursop has grown to a small level in Florida. It was not classified by Atwood among Florida fruits in 1867 but was listed by the American Pomological Society in 1879, according to Sturtevant. Before the 1886 winter, a tree at John Fogarty’s Manatee home produced fruit. It is commonly planted in home gardens in the southeastern section of the state, particularly on the Florida Keys.

Varieties of Soursop

A basket of sourpsop fruit.

In Puerto Rico, soursops are classified into three general categories: Sweet, sub-acid, and acid. Then further categorized into round, oblong, heart-shaped, or angular shapes. Finally, the unique fruit is classified depending on flesh consistency, which ranges from juicy and soft to solid and dry. In the area between Aibonito and Coamo, 14 different varieties of soursops were identified at the Agricultural Experiment Station of the University of Puerto Rico.

In El Salvador, there are two types of soursops: guanaba azucaron, which is eaten raw and utilized for beverages, and guanaba acida, which is only used in drinks. Guanabana dulce (sweet soursop) is the most popular fruit in the Dominican Republic. The term “sweet” suggests low acidity in a relative sense. The Agricultural Experiment Station in Cuba has vegetatively propagated guanabana sin fiber (fibreless), medium-sized yellow-green soursop.

This excellent clone has distinctive bluish-green foliage. Dr. Wilson Popenoe named it ‘Bennett’ in honor of G.S. Bennett, Agricultural Superintendent of the United Fruit Company’s Costa Rican Division, to the United States Department of Agriculture in 1920. He said the fruit was huge and attractive, and the tree was the most fruitful he’d ever seen.

Cultivation and Uses

The plant is grown for its spiky, green fruit, which can grow to be 20–30 cm (7.9–11.8 in) long and weigh up to 6.8 kg, making it the second-largest Annona after the junglesop. Away from its natural range, some minor production occurs as far north as southern Florida in USDA Zone 10, but this is largely for local use in gardens.

It’s also grown in regions of Southeast Asia, and Mauritius has a lot of it. Mexico is the fruit’s primary provider, followed by Brazil, Peru, Ecuador, Haiti, and Guatemala. The entire genome for Annona muricata finished in 2021 to aid soursop breeders and inspire the continued development of genomic resources for this internationally important plant family.

The fruit’s flesh is made up of an edible white pulp, some fiber, and an indigestible black seed core. Fruit nectar, juice drinks, smoothies, sweets, sorbets, and ice cream flavorings are all made from the pulp.

Many countries, including Brazil, Colombia, Mexico, Venezuela, and Fiji, consume the fruit’s derivative products as a result of its widespread cultivation. Unless a blender is used for processing, the seeds are usually left in the recipe and removed when eating.

Dodol sirsak is a sweet created in Indonesia by boiling soursop pulp in water and then adding some sugar until the mixture caramelizes and solidifies. Soursop is also commonly used in the preparation of fresh fruit juices offered by street food sellers. It’s called Guaynabo in the Philippines, after the Spanish word guanabana, and it’s eaten ripe or made into juices, ice-cream, and smoothies,

The leaf is sometimes used to tenderize meat. This fruit is known in Vietnam as mng cu Xiêm (Siamese Soursop) in the south and mng cu (Soursop) in the north, and it is used in smoothies or eaten raw. This fruit is known in Cambodia as terb barung, which translates to “western custard-apple fruit.”

In Malaysia, it is known as durian belanda in Malay and lampun in East Malaysia, particularly among the Dusun people of Sabah. When it ripens, it’s commonly eaten raw or used as an ingredient in Ais Kacang.

When the fruits reach maturity, they are usually removed from the tree and placed in a dark location to ripen before being eaten when fully ripe. It has a white blossom with a pleasant aroma, which is particularly pleasant in the morning.

In Brunei Darussalam, this fruit is known as “Durian Salat,” and it is abundantly available and easy to grow. In Indonesia, soursop leaves are marketed and taken as a natural treatment. Tea is normally made by boiling the leaves. It is thought to have therapeutic properties, such as cancer prevention and anti-inflammation.

Culture

Seedlings are spread out in the field at the start of the rainy season when they are 1 foot tall and spaced 12 to 15 feet apart; however, 25 feet each direction has been suggested. A 20 × 25 foot spacing allows for 87 trees per acre (215 trees per hectare).

In Puerto Rico, close spacing of 8 × 8 ft. is regarded to be sufficient for small gardens. The tree develops quickly and bears fruit after 3 to 5 years. Well-watered trees in Queensland have grown to 15 to 18 feet in 6 to 7 years. During dry, hot weather, mulching is suggested to reduce dehydration of the shallow, fibrous root system.

If the tree becomes too dry, it will shed all of its existing leaves before new ones emerge. In Cuba and Queensland, a fertilizer mixture containing 10% phosphoric acid, 10% potash, and 3% nitrogen has been recommended. However, in Hawaii, quarterly applications of 10-10-10 N P K have yielded great results— 12 pounds per tree the first year, 1 pound (.45 kg) per tree the second year, 3 pounds (1.36 kilograms) per tree the third year, and so on.

Harvesting

When the fruit is fully mature but still firm and slightly golden green, it is harvested. It will fall and crush if allowed to soften on the tree. It is easily damaged and punctured, so use caution when handling it. The firm fruits are kept at room temperature for a few days.

They are soft enough to yield to the modest pressure of one’s thumb when ripe. The fruit can be kept in the refrigerator for another 2 or 3 days after it has reached this stage. While the skin will darken and become unattractive, the flesh will remain undamaged and useable.

In Hawaii, studies of the ripening process have revealed that the best time to eat is 5 to 6 days after harvest when ethylene production is at its greatest. The flavor becomes less prominent after that, and a mild off-odor develops.

The main disadvantage in commercial processing in Venezuela is that the fruits placed on racks in a cool shed must be inspected daily to identify those that are ripe and ready for extraction.

Characteristics

Syncarps are ovoid or heart-shaped fruits. The largest can grow to be 40 cm long and weigh up to 7 kg. It has a thorny peel with a dark green color. The inner section is made up of a white pulp that has a somewhat sweetened and acidic flavor. Teas can be made from the leaves of the soursop plant. Soursop can be eaten as a fresh, natural product, as a frozen pulp, as a supplement in the form of capsules, as a dessert, tea, or juice.

Other facts

It has a prickly skin, white pulp, and a flavor that is comparable to litchi, with a faint acidic strawberry flavor akin to Malabar gum. Its little black seeds, on the other hand, are not edible.

Production

The Antilles, tropical America, Africa, and Asia are home to the plant that produces this unusual fruit. It is a plant that is grown in a container at our latitudes but does not bear fruit. However, the crops are not particularly large, and it is most commonly found in residential gardens. Plantations are currently being built in subtropical areas of countries like Spain, particularly in Malaga and the Canary Islands.

Final Thoughts

Soursop is said to be available in 14 different types. However, there isn’t enough information available on varieties of this fruit, potentially because it isn’t as popular as some of the other fruits of the world. ‘Morada’ (Brazil), ‘Cuban Fibreless’ (Australia), ‘Sirsak Ratu’ (Java), and ‘Bennett,’ a blue-green skinned kind introduced to Florida in 1920, are all popular cultivars.

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