Sunday, January 2, 2011

FRUITS OF BRAZIL - Graviola (Soursop)

This large, green and spiny fruit belies its somewhat ungainly and unappetizing appearance with a highly perfumed creamy-textured, complexly-flavored flesh that is adored in tropical regions around the world. Although originally from Central America and the valleys of Peru the soursop (aka graviola in Portuguese, guanabana in Spanish, corossol in French, etc. etc. etc) was one of the first fruits to spread from its New World origins to the tropics of the Old World in the Columbian Exchange and today is eaten not only in Brazil and the rest of Latin America but also in Africa, the Indian Subcontinent and Southeast Asia.

Graviola (Annona muricata) is truly a fruit of the tropics, and temperatures of 5C (40F) can be sufficient to kill a tree. In the USA it is only in the Keys of Florida, in the Caribbean Islands and Hawaii where cultivation of the graviola is possible. In Brazil, the tropical northeastern region of the country is the center of graviola cultivation and commercialization.

In contrast to the forbidding appearance of its exterior, the white or cream-colored flesh of the graviola, with its embedded shiny dark seeds hints at its rich flavor profile with a silky or custard-like texture. The aroma of this fruit carries hints of pineapple, and the taste might best be described as reminiscent of musky tutti-frutti or bubblegum. The mouthfeel is luxurious and rich.

Graviola can be eaten as-is, though pulling apart the flesh, extracting the seeds and eating the flesh tends to be a very messy business. It is more often eaten after some sort of processing - as frozen fruit pulp, as a freshly-made fruit juice, or as a flavor for mousses, ice creams, or yogurt.

Because the fruit is heavy (it can weigh up to 15 lb - 7 kg) very quick-ripening and fragile there is little market for export of the fresh fruit to areas outside the tropics. The juice can be canned or concentrated and frozen and these products can often be found in Latin American or Asian grocery stores in Europe and North America.

Just as nothing compares to a ripe, juicy strawberry that has just been picked and is still warm from the sun, the true luxuriousness of graviola can only be experienced by opening a ripe fruit, using one's hands to pry apart the creamy sacs of flesh to remove the seeds then popping the flesh into one's mouth and rolling it around with one's tongue before swallowing. For that, you'll have to come to Brazil, or go somewhere else in the tropics. And during this season of bitter cold and heavy snows in the Northern Hemisphere is that a bad thing?

2 comments:

  1. Hi, even I agree that Soursop has various Medical and Health benefits. As more people are becoming aware of the health benefits of Soursop, the fruit sellers are taking advantage of them by selling the fruit at enormously high prices! But I bought Soursop Juice from SVA India(Mumbai) at a very economical cost, they are very friendly and reachable. You can also contact them on + (91)-(22)-22886789/98 if you are interested in buying the fruit/Juice/Tea/Leaves.
    https://www.facebook.com/indiasoursop

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  2. this is interesting. I recommend Markizza Soursop juice on Amazon the taste is just perfect!

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