Soursop (Anona muricata) is a member of the Annonaceae Family and a close relative of cherimoya. It is also known as prickly custard apple and guanabana. The species name, muricata means "roughened on the surface" describing its spines. Soursop is native to South America and the West Indies and bears fruits as large as ten pounds with a flavor similar to musky pineapple and aroma of blackcurrants. It is unusual in that the fruit will grow on branches, twigs, or on the trunk itself!
Soursop is considered aphrodisiac and diuretic and has been used to treat hemorrhoids, obesity, heart and kidney ailments and urethritis. In some parts of the world it is used to treat leprosy and liver ailments.
Soursop is rich in almost all vitamins, minerals and protein as well as carbohydrates. It is regarded as a source of calcium, iron and phosphorus. The fruit is removed from the tree when the thin leathery-like skin has turned a yellowish green, but while the fruit itself is still firm to the touch, as if allowed to fall it will break and splatter.
The fruit yields to gentle pressure when ripe, usually after allowing ripening at room temperature a few days. It can be eaten plain or added to fruit salads, sherbets, preserves and juices. The seeds are toxic and should not be consumed.