Fruits of Mexico - Guanabana

A few days ago, on our drive back from Belize, I spotted these unfortunate looking fruit growing on a large tree in Limones. I immediately recognized the fruit as Guanabana or Soursop has been getting a lot of facetime recently on the internet, touted by many for its possible cancer curing/inhibiting qualities. I'm not sure about all that (and I can only imagine how much of this one would need to eat to see such miraculous results) but I was curious about it and so, when I found them the next day in our local Chedraui, I was quick to find a ripe on to bring home and try. They are not much to look at and even Birdie, an equal opportunity eater, gave me the stink eye when I first pulled it out of my grocery sack.

The Guanabana is a fruit native to Mexico, Cuba, Central America, the Caribbean and northern South America. The speckled skin has a diamond pattern, each diamond surrounding a small soft spine. The skin is dark-green in the immature fruit, becoming slightly yellowish-green as it ripens. Ripe fruit should be soft enough to yield to slight pressure. Having reached this stage, the fruit can be kept refrigerated 2 or 3 days longer. Like a banana, the skin will blacken and become unsightly but inside, the flesh is unspoiled and tasty.

In Mexico, it is a fairly common fruit, often used for dessert or as an "agua fesca". Guanabana ice cream and fruit bars are also very popular. The white interior pulp is studded with many large, smooth seeds, and pockets of soft flesh are bounded by fibrous but edible membranes. The flesh is juicy, almost custardy and sweet tasting. The flesh is an excellent source of Calcium, Folate, Iron, Potassium, Sodium and Vitamins B and C. 

Fruits of Mexico - GuanabanaTo eat Guanabana, I cut the fruit vertically into two halves. Then I cut the two halves into watermelon-like slices. You could also scoop out the soft flesh with a tablespoon. I found the seeds pop out easy either by picking them out by hand or using the "watermelon method"...spitting. Do not eat the skin or seeds.

It was a split decision in our house with the boys both sort of indifferent to the flavor and texture while Birdie and I both enjoyed it a lot. It's not the easiest fruit to eat but, unlike Tuna, Guayaba and Maracuya, the seeds are very easy to manage. I was able to extract about 25 seeds which I cleaned and dried and plan to plant. I am told the tree is fast growing and should bear fruit in 3-5 years. We'll see!