It’s looking to be a long, hot summer and I can’t think of a more refreshing way to beat the heat than with a big scoop or two of soursop ice cream. “Soursop?” you say, doubtfully.

I know. With such an unattractive name and prickly appearance, who would have thought that sheer ambrosia lurks under this tropical fruit’s spiky exterior? Also calledguanabana in Spanish, the soursop is not a commonly known fruit. Like its cousin, the sweetsop (sweeter, as its name suggests), the soursop is a member of the custard apple family. If memory serves, we had both fruit trees in our backyard in Jamaica. The soursop originated in the West Indies and South America, before making its way to Southeast Asia, Australia, the Pacific Islands, and in parts of Africa.

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Apparently, the soursop has many medicinal uses, some scientifically unsupported, including being a good sleep aid. The lady at the farmer’s market said the leaves are good for cancer.

But we’re talking about ice cream. Of course, you can eat the fruit just as it is, but it’s so much better to make delicious drinks or fabulous custards and ice creams. My all time fave is a Jamaican soursop ice cream that is dead simple to make.

I’m writing about this because on a recent trip to Oahu’s north shore, I picked up a nice fat soursop at a roadside fruit stand with images of ice cream dancing in my head. Now, I’ve been known to have grand intentions, only to have them end up in the garbage pail when the unfortunate fruit ripened way past its sell by date, and it was only fit for fruit flies. This time I was determined.

As I said, my recipe is dead simple, which was even more inducement for me to actually do this. So, here’s how it’s done in case you want to give it a try.

Get yourself a good-sized soursop, enough to yield 2 cups of pulp. Make sure it’s ripe (the spines soften and the skin lightens to a yellowish-green). The first task is to take off the skin, which comes off easily enough by peeling it away with your fingers. You should end up with the flesh which is white and pulpy with lots of black seeds. Next, break it open to remove the core and all the seeds. Do this in a bowl. It’s important to get rid of all the seeds, which contain an irritant poison. According to one source, “When pulverized, the seeds are effective pesticides against head lice, southern army worms and pea aphids.” Think what it’ll do to your tummy.

soursop cross section

After you’re done, you’ll end up with roughly two heaping cups of the pulp and some of its juices. Next step is to set up your food processor or blender and puree the pulp. Once you’ve done this, the hard part is over. Pour the puree back into the bowl, then add and mix in the rest of the ingredients (see my recipe below). Next, if you have a handy electric ice cream maker like my Cuisinart, just follow the freezing instructions. Or you can pour the mixture into your ice cube tray and freeze it. Then voila! Yummy, scrumptious soursop ice cream!


Here’s the recipe:

Jamaican Soursop Ice Cream

2 cups soursop puree

2 T fresh lime juice

teaspoon vanilla extract

1 can condensed milk

can evaporated milk

Put all ingredients in a bowl and mix well. Pour the mixture into your ice cream freezer or into a regular ice cream tray and freeze. Makes about 1 quart. Best to let it harden in your freezer for at least two to four hours before serving. Better yet, leave it there overnight. So creamy and tantalizingly rich with its own distinctive flavor!

I shared this batch with Tracy and Michelle, and Tracy declared it “way better than regular ice cream!” Well, he is my son.

It’s hot and it’s time

For home made soursop ice cream.


Maya Leland 2014