The Weirdest Fruit, Part II


Hi, I'm Yoli, Community Moderator for KCET.org. I like food and want to learn about locally grown food, fresh ingredients, and interesting cuisines that can be found in Los Angeles. Come with me on this journey, and let's dig in together! If you missed Part 1, check it out here.

I've recently discovered a fruit known to my Salvadoran family as guanaba, known in the U.S. as soursop and throughout the world by many names. I'm on a quest to learn more about it, find it....and eventually eat it.

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Like any researcher of my time, I started by hitting up Google, Wikipedia and Youtube.

Through Wikipedia--for what it's worth--I learned that soursop is native to tropical regions like southeast Asia, Mexico, the Caribbean and South America. It can also be found in the U.S. as far north as southern Florida, especially in the Florida Keys region where it is apparently popular in home gardens.

As I continued my research, I discovered that the Horticulture Department at Purdue University has a very informative page about soursop. It cleared up a small problem I was encountering when searching for pictures-- all soursop images I found online were very different looking.

According to Purdue, soursop looks different depending on the region it's found.

Soursops are roughly divided into 3 general classifications: sweet, subacid, and acid; then subdivided as round, heart-shaped, oblong or angular; and finally classed according to flesh consistency which varies from soft and juicy to firm and comparatively dry.

The site also taught me one of the most important things to know when learning about a new food: how to eat it.

Soursop can be eaten with a spoon, made into a drink (without the seed, which can be toxic), made into a custard, cut up and used in soup, or fire roasted.

This guy on YouTube cuts open his soursop (which appears to be of the sweet, oblong variety) and eats it by itself, making it seem like the best option.

According to my extensive research on the topic, soursop is supposed to taste like a mix of strawberry and pineapple, both fruits I like. But what's the use sharing all of this info with you if it is almost impossible to get your hands on soursop? Do not fear, for a simple google search with "soursop" and "los angeles" led me to El Camaguey Meat Market, a Westside mainstay and emporium for all things Latin American, according to LA Weekly.

On my next post I'll write about my trip to El Camaguey, disappointments, and the danger of early mornings without coffee.

Wikipedia image by Asit K. Ghosh, filed under a Creative Commons License.

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