Soursop, full of nutrients yet low in calories and high in fibre, folic acid, protein and flavour. It’s a very juicy fruit but like the name says, not the sweetest yet still one of the healthiest natural foods that grows mostly in South America and The Caribbean.
There’s a tree in the yard and I’ve been saving seeds from after eating and juicing the fruit. The seedlings sprung from it have a totally different form and timeline than pretty much every other seedling and plant in the garden.
Interesting things about growing soursop from seeds:
- the chocolate brown seeds take awhile (7-8 weeks – sometimes longer) to show signs of sprouting but slightly faster when you soak them for a few hours or overnight before wrapping them in a damp paper towel. It’s best to set the cups of soil and seeds in a shaded gallery or indoors by soft sunlight. Most of the seedlings here spring up in a few days (like okras, methi/fenugreek, lettuce and tomato) but soursop ones like to take their time.
- seedlings grow well in a cup (or small plant pot) with an inch of soil mix at the base and a light potting mix on top.
- the seedling starts like a thick plastic paper clip looped over under it stretches out and up into a leafless stalk, and sometimes a clinging seed.
- the first leaves are almost fluorescent green and it’s best to let the seedling’s roots take up ’nuff of the cup before transplanting to its eventual home in the garden or yard.
- soursop seedlings can tolerate partial sun after they spring 2-3 leaves but they generally don’t do well with baking sun or heavy rain unless it’s a really strong plant.
I’m not a doctor or nutritionist however here are some of the extensively-researched benefits of soursop. Feel free to research.
Health Benefits In The Fruit and Leaves:
Soursop fruit and leaves (steeped in hot water) are strongly considered be extremely effective for:
1. enhancing the immune and respiratory systems
2. combating cancer
3. lower blood sugar levels
4. improving eye health and the digestive tract
5. helping with stress relief and restful sleep by easing cortisol levels
6. making a nutritious and filling meal and drink
An (unsweetened) tea from the leaf barely has any flavour so if drinking herbal teas or herbal water is tough for you, this one won’t be. Like moringa, hibiscus or ‘wonder of the world‘ leaf tea, it basically tastes like…leaf -in water.
The soft fruit inside (don’t eat the outer part) is a fluffy white pulp with most pockets housing a rich dark seed that lightens in colour when dried. Eat slowly – tablet-sized seeds included. Soursop isn’t actually sour, but if you picture a muted yet flavoured fruit that has a hint of sweetness in the juice and add a twang to it, that’s kinda how soursop tastes.
Ways to use soursop:
- eat the fruit jusso
- juice in a juicer
- steep the leaves in water and sip as tea or soak overnight in room temperature water
- blend into a punch (with spices, coconut milk and honey; some people use sweet milk)
- make into ice cream
- hopefully one day enjoy as sno-cone flavour
Growing these seedlings takes some patience, vigilance and scouting for slugs who like to nip the leaves on rainy nights when the coast is clear. Having access to a tropical fruit that’s so high in nutrients and apparently harder to find these days on the island is a plus and worth the effort it takes to successfully grow seedlings for future trees.
Have you ever had soursop?