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Soursop (oxheart, buddha fruit, sharifa, sweet apple)

The soursop (oxheart, Buddha fruit, sharifa, sweet apple) is an exotic fruit that is mainly used to make soft drinks.
Macronutrient carbohydrates 91.64%
Macronutrient proteins 6.18%
Macronutrient fats 2.18%

The three ratios show the percentage by weight of macronutrients (carbohydrates / proteins / fats) of the dry matter (excl. water).

Ω-6 (LA, <0.1g)
Omega-6 fatty acid such as linoleic acid (LA)
 : Ω-3 (ALA, <0.1g)
Omega-3 fatty acid such as alpha-linolenic acid (ALA)
 = 0:0

Omega-6 ratio to omega-3 fatty acids should not exceed a total of 5:1. Link to explanation.

Values are too small to be relevant.

The soursop ( Annona reticulata ), also called oxheart , sweet apple , Buddha fruit or sharifa , is a large, sweet tropical fruit. Oxheart is also the name of a specific tomato!

Use in the kitchen:

The exotic soursop has lots of vitamins, is very rich in nutrients and is mainly used to make refreshing fruit drinks. The thin but tough fruit skin contains a thick layer of pulp. The pulp is cream-colored and encloses several long, black, poisonous seeds.

The soursop is ripe when the flesh gives way when lightly pressed. It is creamy and sweet, but rather bland. The taste and aroma are reminiscent of the related cherimoya , but the oxheart is not as tasty. This is why the juice from this fruit is mainly used to make soft drinks or to flavor ice cream.

If you cut the soursop in half lengthways, you can scoop out the flesh straight from the skin. With the soursop, you also sort out the seeds and don't eat them. If you want to make a drink from this fruit, it's best to press the flesh through a sieve or put it in the blender without the seeds (important!). All types of soursop combine well with oranges or limes . 1 This gives you a healthy, nutrient-rich snack.

Recipes with the soursop or cherimoya:

For a cocktail, remove all the stones and mix the pulp of half a soursop with lime juice and 40 ml (0.4 dl) white rum per serving. To find the stones, chop them up with a fork, as crushed stones would be poisonous in food and drink.

Put the mix in the fridge for two hours and then enjoy. Of course, you can also make the cocktail without alcohol, for example with a little honey . Try adding other natural flavorings to suit your taste.

Not only vegans or vegetarians should read this:
Vegans often eat unhealthily. Avoidable nutritional mistakes

Purchasing - where to buy?

The soursop is a heart-shaped fruit with a diameter of about 10 cm. When unripe, it is greenish-grey with a smooth skin that appears to be covered with a fine net pattern. When the fruit is ripe, the skin appears red to reddish-brown.

In Europe, the soursop is not very important. It is rarely found on supermarket shelves and usually only during the peak season in winter. For Spanish production, the harvest time is between October and February, in Israel it begins in November, in Taiwan in December and in Australia the harvest takes place between January and May. Unlike its relatives, the soursop also ripens in spring. 9 It is practically only available from specialised fruit dealers, in organic shops, in Asian or specialised online shops. Major retailers such as Coop , Migros , Denner , Volg , Spar , Aldi , Lidl , Rewe , Edeka , Hofer etc. concentrate, if at all, on the cherimoya, which they offer between November and February. In East Asia, however, it is the most commercially important soursop fruit. 2

Combined with other fruit juices, the juice of the soursop is well represented in Europe and North America. In the juice, you can enjoy the extraordinary aroma of this fruit all year round.


The storage of the soursop is similar to that of the cherimoya. It is a little more sensitive to damage and spoils more quickly. 2 The soursop is also a climacteric fruit and ripens later. Temperatures that are too cold spoil the taste (not below 13 °C, similar to bananas). It is best to use up soursops as quickly as possible.

Ingredients - nutritional value - calories:

Annonas contain a lot of sugar (glucose). The vitamin C content of the soursop is even higher than that of the cherimoya. It also has more calories: 100 g have between 80 and 101 calories. In comparison, the cherimoya has 50-70 calories per 100 g of fruit. The calcium is three times higher than in the cherimoya, but it has less sodium and folic acid (folate). The other composition of the vitamins ( pyridoxine (B 6 ), thiamine (B 1 ), riboflavin (B 2 ) and niacin (B 3 )) and minerals ( potassium , iron , magnesium , calcium and phosphorus ) is similar to that of the cherimoya. You can find detailed information in the ingredient tables after the text. 10

Health aspects - effects:

The acetogenins and alkaloids that occur in almost all annonaceous plants give the plants medicinal properties. It has been proven that the antioxidants support the body's cells as a natural defense against infectious diseases.

The high calcium content is good for maintaining bones and teeth. It is a natural mineral supply, and not just for pregnant women. Niacin (nicotinic acid) plays an important role in the body's energy supply. Among other things, niacin promotes the formation of messenger substances in the brain. These transport information from nerve cell to nerve cell. A possible niacin deficiency can lead to irritability or even depressive moods. In the right amounts, niacin has a positive effect on health. For example, it helps with arteriosclerosis. The glucose component is responsible for the regeneration of muscles, nerves, DNA and skin.

The soursop has numerous health-promoting properties. However, due to its high sugar content, it should be consumed in moderation.

Dangers - Intolerances - Side effects:

If you accidentally swallow 2-3 seeds, no symptoms of poisoning are to be expected. However, if you chew or chop the seeds, the toxic alkaloids are released, which can lead to temporary gastrointestinal problems. Symptoms such as nausea, vomiting, abdominal pain, diarrhea and dizziness occur within 30 minutes to 1.5 hours after ingestion. You must then ensure that you drink enough fluids. 3

Diabetics should consume this fruit with caution due to its high glucose content.

Use as a medicinal plant:

The many positive properties of the soursop have not been scientifically proven. It is based on the tradition of the tribes who have always lived with the healing powers of the plant. Pharmacological studies have occasionally shown an antioxidant and anti-cancer effect, particularly against bladder cancer. In mice, plant extracts had an analgesic effect. 9 However, further research is needed.

Folk medicine - natural healing:

People in the growing areas use the sweet apple in many different ways as a medicinal plant and expect it to have many health-promoting properties. For them, the fruit is as well known as the apple is to us. But its satiating effect is also very important for many people. In areas where this collective fruit grows and serves as food for the population, the trees are well looked after.

People there use the entire plant. They even use the poisonous alkaloid-containing seeds. In South America, the seeds of the soursop are processed into powder to make a powerful emetic and laxative. 3 The powder is also used to repel vermin. An old myth among the local population says that soursop leaves placed under the pillow can keep head lice away. 4

The pulp of the oxheart can have a fever-reducing effect. It is also said to be effective against diarrhea and colic. It is said that it can even help against malaria. The tree leaves, when crushed into powder and heated, are effective against skin injuries. Applied externally, they are also said to have anti-inflammatory and pain-relieving properties. The powder is also said to have an antiparasitic effect (especially against worms). 4 The substances in the leaves of the plants can be used in tea to help with digestive and circulatory problems. The custard apple leaf extract is said to help with skin injuries or abscesses. Soaked leaves can also relieve joint pain and inflammation.

Occurrence - Origin:

The soursop originally comes from the Caribbean and has spread to Central America and Mexico. It is now naturalized and cultivated in many tropical areas of the world. It needs a much warmer climate than its relative, the cherimoya, but still grows in subtropical summer rain areas. It can also be found growing wild. It is now most commonly found in Southeast Asia and Africa. It is also known in the countries of the Indian Ocean. In India, Malaysia, Thailand, the Philippines, China and other countries, the slime fruit is available in large quantities in local markets everywhere.

Cultivation - Harvest:

As far as soil nutrient content and water requirements are concerned, the soursop trees are undemanding. However, the soursop fruits are all the more sensitive to injury. Since they are climacteric, ie they ripen later, they are harvested when they are still unripe. This means that the 800 gram to 1 kilogram heavy fruits are transported from the plantations to the sales locations as undamaged as possible.

Danger of confusion:

The soursop and the cherimoya are visually very similar: Both fruits are heart-shaped and almost the same size. There is definitely a danger of external confusion. 5

The Annona family includes some very similar looking fruits. The custard apple ( Annona squamosa, sugar apple, scaly custard apple) is also similar to the net soursop, but the skin of the custard apple has curved scales that separate easily from one another when ripe.

Besides the four species of cherimoya, soursop, soursop and scaled soursop, there are several other edible fruits from the genus Annona .

General information:

The soursop is a plant species in the family Annonaceae. The tree and the fruit have the same name: Annona reticulata .

There are about 80 species in the Annona genus. They develop only sparsely through free pollination. Each species has its own special aroma. Economically important are the cherimoya ( Annona cherimola ), the soursop ( Annona muricata , soursop, graviola), the cinnamon apple ( Annona squamosa , soursop) and the Atemoya. The Atemoya is a hybrid of the Annona cherimola and the Annona squamosa . 2 The netted soursop and the soursop are often only found in fruit juices in Europe.

Less well-known are, for example, the Ilama ( Annona macroprophyllata ), the narrow-crowned custard apple ( Annona stenopetala ) and the mucosa ( Annona mucosa Jacq.).

The plants form aggregate berries that look like individual fruits the size of apples. The surfaces of most custard apple varieties clearly show that they are aggregate berries. A common fruit shell envelops each of the individual fruits (syncarpy).

The small tree species of the net soursop only reaches a maximum height of 8-10 meters. Its leaves are lance-shaped and have a length of almost 20 centimeters. A botanical synonym for the tree is: Annona longifolia . 6

Sweet apple is also the name of a Swiss apple variety and oxheart tomato is a type of tomato. Sharifa is a female first name of Arabic origin (honored). Wikipedia lists the Buddha fruit as citron (medin apple) because it can apparently look like Buddha's hand.

Alternative names:

The size and color of the ripe soursop also give it the name oxheart. There are also other popular names for this fruit: Schleimapfel (but is actually the Annona mucosa Jacq. ) , Bullock's heart, Cachiman, Custard apple [English], Anona colorada, Corazón [Spanish], Coeur de boeuf, Corossol [French].

The soursop fruit, also known as Buddha fruit or sweet apple, is known by very different names in different countries. For example, in Zambia it is called mtopa, in Kenya and Tanzania mchekwa (Swahili). 4 In Suriname (a small state in South America) it is called kasjoema. In the countries of the Indian Ocean it is also known as Buddha fruit or Sharifa. 7

In the 16th century, the natives of Haiti originally called the various fruits “Anon,” which means custard apple. The botanist Linnaeus Latinized the popular name and changed it to Annona. 8

Forty natural annonacene acetogenins occur in the Annonaceae group. The compounds are present in the leaves, stems, bark, fruits and seeds.

Wiss. N. English German Common names* Artificial names**
Annona cherimoya Cherimoya, Custard apple Cherimoya Jamaica, cream, sugar apple, sweet sack Annona (wrong for all!)
Annona sylvestris Wild-sweetsop, Bull's heart, Bullock's heart, Ox-heart Net Annone Oxheart, sweet apple, Buddha fruit, Sharifa Custard apple, Cachiman
Annona squamosa Sugar apple, Sweetsop Soursop Cinnamon Apple Cream apple, sweet sack, custard apple
Annona sylvestris Soursop, Graviola, Guyabano Soursop Soursop, Graviola, Guanabana, Corossol
Annona mucosa J Wild sugar apple Slime apple Rollinia mucosa Biribá, wild sweetsop
Annona senegalensis African custard-apple, Wild custard apple, Wild soursop Senegalese Annona Monkey food, Senegalese apple
Annona purpurea Soncoya Annona purpurea Annona manicote
Annona macro-prophyllata Ilama Ilama Annona diversifolia
cherimola x squamosa Atemoya Atemoya
The name Annone or Anone (anón) is the genus name, which is why it is mistakenly used as the name for every species. This name is not specific. In many image collections such as fotolia, Adobe, pixabay, etc., species are confused with Cherimoya or with other names.
*Common names are terms that, according to Wikipedia, come from everyday language and are easier to understand. **Artificial names are new artificial names that are sometimes derived from real common names, but are often fantasy names.

Literature - Sources:

Authors: Beatrice Lippuner |