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I got a guanábana — now what?

Beautiful things are possible with this spiky, pungent fruit

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Joanna van der Gracht de Rosado
Joanna van der Gracht de Rosado is a writer, artist and educator from British Columbia, Canada. She has lived in Merida, Yucatan, since 1976, where she co-founded the TTT school and raised two children. Joanna blogs at Changes In Our Lives.
Photo: Adi Wong / EyeEm

The first time Jorge brought home one of these spiky, pungent green fruits, I felt sure that no matter how much he effused, there was no way a guanábana would taste good. And when he cut it open, and I saw the whitish–gray-tinged flesh, peppered with many hard, dark seeds, my suspicions intensified.

“But this is,” he said, “my favorite fruit.” 

“What do you do with it?” I asked. 

According to Jorge — who was born and raised not far from where we live in Yucatán — guanábana is one of the soursops, and these are super fruits. 

Soursops are considered anti-inflammatory, antioxidant, and antibacterial agents that are used to help treat multiple afflictions. They are traditional remedies for many ailments such as lice, fever, edema, coughs, blood infections, arthritis, depression, parasites, asthma, and inflammation. Some studies have shown the soursops may even reduce tumors for prostate, breast, colorectal, and pancreatic cancers. However, evidence for these claims is not conclusive.

But how to eat the guanábana waiting on my table? It looked like a great green sponge. The taste has been characterized as earthy, with sour citrus notes somehow combining strawberry and apple flavors. Jorge said the fruit could be consumed fresh, made into a tea, jelly, ice cream, or juice. Finally, he added the one possibility I would consider — pie — and I’d never met a pie I didn’t like.

So we asked his mother for the recipe, and I made it. My pronouncement? Absolutely delicious!

And here you have it so you can judge for yourself.

Guanábana Pie is a taste of Yucatán. Photo: Joanna van der Gracht de Rosado

Guanábana Pie

Ingredients: 

  • 1 pre-baked pie shell
  • The pulp of a 1 kg. fresh, ripe guanábana (broken open, cut into pieces, and seeds removed)
  • 1 can sweetened condensed milk
  • 2 egg yolks
  • 2 tbsp. corn starch dissolved in a little water

Place all the ingredients into the blender and when smooth, cook the mixture in a double boiler for approximately 10 minutes, stirring constantly or until the mixture thickens. Allow to cool, then spoon out and spread evenly over the pie shell. Refrigerate until ready to serve.

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