Sweet Sop Sweetsop ( Annona squamosa) is an evergreen plant with thin oblong-ovate leaves. The solitary greenish flowers produce a yellowish-green fruit resembling a shortened pinecone.
The tuberculate fruit, formed by the fusion of many ripened ovaries and a receptacle, is 7.5 to 10 cm (3 to 4 inches) in diameter. It is multiple fruits, meaning that many small fruits grow together on the same stem. The skin is green when immature, turning yellow, pink, or purple as it matures. The fleshy white to yellow pulp has a custard-like texture and an intensely sweet flavor reminiscent of pineapple, strawberry, and banana.
The fruit is eaten fresh or used in jellies, marmalades, or preserves. Traditional medicine in West Africa uses the fruit as a diuretic, anti-inflammatory agent, and purgative. The leaves have been used to treat dysentery and malaria.
The fruits are collected from wild trees growing in the forest of West Africa. They can be cultivated, but often they are picked up from roadsides after being damaged by vehicle traffic. Because the trees are not cultivated, they do not bear fruit every year, but there is generally a low yield in most years. The fruits grow on unshaded plants in the forest understory and must be collected before full sunlight reaches them because exposure causes skin discoloration. Sweetsop is used in marmalade, preserves, and ice cream.
In Jamaica, the fruit is sometimes fermented to make a potent liquor called "liquor from sweetsop". In Cuba, a liqueur known as guayabita del Pinar (guava from the pine forest) uses sweetened fruits of sweetsop macerated in rum. It is locally used in Puerto Rico to make a liquor called guayabita.
In Panama, a drink made from the fruit called "coritos" is consumed using a bombilla, which both cools and cleanses it. Usually sold at roadside stalls, coritos are popularly served with pinch of salt and/or ground chili pepper to add a kick to the drink.
In Trinidad and Tobago, sweetsop is used to make a traditional beverage called "sorrel". Sorrel is made from boiling the fruit in water with sugar and lemon juice, then adding either hot or cold milk and nutmeg as spices.
The ripe fruits are sweet enough to eat raw, and can also be added to fruit salads. The fruits are sold in small carts on the streets of Ecuador and Panama, often along with other exotic fruits such as guava or papaya. They are commonly used in fruit juices and smoothies.
The flesh is white with a milky texture and very juicy with an acid-sweet taste flavorful when ripe. The seed is large and dark brown, surrounded by a chambered, light yellowish-white flesh. The endocarp is thin and brown. Unlike most fruit, sweetsop flesh has very little sugar, almost no starch, and a high concentration of acids that make it decidedly unattractive as a dessert fruit.