The Sweet Sop, (Annona Squamosa), is a member of the Annona family. Other members of the Annona family include the soursop, cherimoya, atemoya, and the custard apple. Sometimes the sweet sop is called a sugar apple.
Sweet sops grow on a tree that ranges from 10-20 feet in height. Originally form South America, it is now found in many tropical areas. The tree has thin, oblong leaves, with greenish-yellow flowers. The bark and leaves contain annonaime- and alkaloid.
Sweet sops range in shape from heart shaped, round, ovate, and conical. They are usually 2 to 4 inches in diameter. The flesh of a sweet sop is almost custard like, arranged in loosely cohering segments, and white to creamy white in color. Some say the taste is reminiscent of “strawberries and cream”. The flesh is sweet and juicy and sticky. It is never cooked. When eaten, it is usually eaten as is, and the seeds are then spit out. It is important that the seeds are spit out, as they are acidic and poisonous. The skin is thick and yellowish-green in color. The riper it gets, the blacker the rind gets. The skin gets crispy and crunch with the sugar content, and can also be eaten.
Sweet sops, have a long shelf life, sometimes up to 3 to 4 years. They come into season in during mid summer, and are in season to mid fall.
© 2014 Chef Jennifer M. Denlinger All rights reserved