Saturday, 7 July 2007
Fresh from Bali, I thought I’d bring a little tropical infusion to Weekend Herb Blogging.
Whenever Jonas and I make a visit to an Asian grocery store we’re always fascinated with the weird and wonderful selection of drinks and juices found in the cold section. We often buy a couple to try out like basil seed drink, mung bean juice and persimmon tonic.
One of my absolute favourites is soursop juice and since the brand I buy in Australia is Indonesian, I was determined to find this mysterious sirsak to eat fresh and ripe in Bali.
The soursop Annona muricata is also known as soursap, guanábana, graviola, sirsak, zuurzak, coração-da-índia, guyabano or corossol and is native to the Caribbean, Central and South America. It is related to pawpaw and custard apple and around 30 tonnes are grown in Australia every year in tropical north Queensland. In the USA it’s has limited production in Florida and it’s also grown throughout South East Asia.
In its native Caribbean it’s believed that a tea of boiled soursop leaves brings on sleep and is also used to soothe digestive problems. It’s health benefits include high levels of carbohydrates (mostly fructose), vitamin C, vitamin B1 and vitamin B2. Unfortunately recent research has seen some initial links between soursop consumption and unusual forms of Parkinson’s disease.
Alas June/July isn’t the soursop season in Bali and we wandered through markets looking for them without much luck. I came across some, but they were so blackened that I wondered if they were overripe or even rotten and couldn’t bring myself to buy one.
Later, in a Muslim market in the Tabanan province I found my prize and my helpful guide negotiated a 5000 Rupiah price – probably very expensive by Balinese standards but to me it was a ridiculous bargain (AU65c / US55c / EU40c).
The flesh was slimy, squishy and creamy: like an avocado or a custard apple and reminiscent of the starchy stickiness of a banana. I have to say the texture was a bit of a turn off.
The flavour was tropical, strong and pungent on entry but with a delicate ending and a soothing creamy aftertaste. They taste similar to lychees but also have a ripe purée pear and bitey pineapple edge to them. You could also say they taste remarkably like bold, fake watermelon flavoured candy.
Soursops are seriously delicious in flavour but terrible in texture. I wished I’d had a blender to turn the creamy flesh into a delicious juice. Instead I sat through the sliminess to devour the candy fruit.
Since the soursop has many large black seeds and a lot of fibres, it’s best puréed and strained. It can be drunk as a juice, blended into cocktails or used as a dressing for a fruit salad. It could even be made into a sauce for desserts, such as a mango sago pudding or other tropically themed dishes. The team over at Cape Trib Exotic Fruit Farm recommend mixing the purée through vanilla ice cream and they also have a recipe for Soursop Cheesecake.
This week’s WHB is hosted by Chris from Mele Cotte so be sure to pop on over to see what else has been going on in the world of herbs, fruits and veggies.
Tags: morsels and musings food blog food and drink australia recipes weekend herb blogging whb fruit tropical fruit soursop sirsak annona muricata guanábana zuurzak graviola