Saramuyo (known in English as sweetsop or sugar apple) is another one of these tropical fruits here in the Yucatan Peninsula in Mexico that is completely new to me. It’s part of the custard apple family closely related to soursop (guanabana) and growing up in Toronto, Canada it’s definitely not the kind of fruit I would have come across at the local grocery store or Ontario farmers market.
It ripens quite quickly so I feel as if even logistical challenges of transporting sweetsop makes it impossible to get without having it grown locally to where you live. Lucky for me I’m surrounded by it and it’s currently saramuyo season (mid summer through fall)!
I first found this intriguing fruit at my local frutería (small produce shop full of fresh local fruits & vegetables). I had no idea what it was and next thing I know my frutería lady broke one open and shoved a piece in my mouth! The outside almost looks like greenish/grey/purplish reptile skin across a heart shaped fruit about 6-8 inches in length. The inside is filled with soft white sweet custard like flesh. These fruits ripen very quickly & can easily break open in your hands so it’s important to choose one that’s still fairly firm. As soon as it starts ripening the entire fruit turns incredibly mushy from the inside & starts collapsing inward.
I have been fighting with this fruit for a few weeks because I couldn’t figure out how to eat it but I was determined to conquer it. I kept ending up with ones that were too ripe and would literally just fall apart with the outside caving in in my hand making a huge sticky mess. Getting passed that it is also one of the most difficult fruits to eat because the sweetest part are the bulbs of pulp inside but each one has a huge black seed inside it. I was told at the market to just pop each bulb in my mouth and suck the flesh off the seed and spit the seed out. Everyone at the market agreed but to be honest I found this method to be super annoying. I actually love washing, cutting & prepping fruit but when it’s time to eat…I just want to sit and enjoy it!
There’s not a ton of info online on how to eat or cut a saramuyo/sweetsop so I decided to rebel from the popular local method of sucking the fruit bulbs & spitting out the seeds to come up with my own Jen friendly method. The outer scale like skin & seeds aren’t edible so it requires some work to get to the good stuff.
1) First cut the sweetsop in half vertically from the top stem to the bottom. Heads up that they ripen quickly and become incredibly soft inside that often my first ¨cut¨ is just an invitation for the whole fruit to open and fall apart.
2) Remove all of the soft fleshy bulbs of pulp from both sides.
3) Gently squeeze on each bulb to get the large black seeds out. It doesn’t take much time or effort to get the seeds out…just a little patience. The seeds aren’t edible so I just discard them and have kept a few to see if I can germinate them to later on plant them.
4) I’ve tried scooping the rest of the flesh out of the inside and sadly it’s quite bitter in contrast to the sweet bulbs surrounding the seeds. Some of the flesh is still good so I just give it a light scrape all around without digging in too deep.
5) Once the seeds have been removed the sweet custard like flesh can be eaten raw as is. If you look closely in the picture below you can see a slight colour difference between the pulp (on the left) and the flesh that was gently scraped from the inside (on the right).
Like most things found in nature there is said to be a long list of health benefits from eating sweetsop. It´s so amazing that a fruit I had never heard of until recently is so widely praised here in Mexico and most tropical locations for its strong medicinal, nutritious & therapeutic benefits. Saramuyo is a great source of vitamins & minerals such as vitamins A, B6, C, riboflavin, potassium & magnesium and believed to help with everything from digestion, blood pressure, diabetes, anti-cancer properties to removing toxins from the body. Therapeutically some swear by using the sweetsop seed oil or flesh for treating external infections or use as hair treatments. Really I just love it for it’s sweet custard like fruit but I´ll gladly take all natural health boosts while I´m at it!
I hope you all get to try saramuyo or sweetsop at home or on your next tropical vacation soon.
DISCLAIMER: This post is for informational & enlightenment purposes only. The content is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis or treatment.