Monday, May 24, 2010
Soursop known locally as "Katu Atha"
A MATURE FRUIT WEIGHING ABOUT A KILO JUST PLUCKED NEEDS ABOUT 3 DAYS TO RIPEN
Sour sop with a Latin name of Annona muricata has suddenly hit the news lately due to the claims that it is 1000 times stronger than Chemotherapy for cancer patients and cancer fighting agents.
I am being inundated with requests for this fruit, which I sell for Rs100 each, but which I find difficult to grow. I have about 8 trees and only two actually produce any fruit. I am told that sometimes these trees don't have any fruit for a while. I also have two trees in Polonnaruwa which have yet to fruit.
I prefer to eat it as a drink which is made by liquidizing the fruit pieces after removing all the seeds. One of the common mistakes made is that people pluck the fruit before it is mature, and therefore it does not ripen well. The reason for this is that the period it stays mature is so short, perhaps three or four days on a tree before it becomes black in places and begins to spoil. It is impossible to sell a fruit that looks spoilt, though the spoilt parts can be cut out as the rest actually taste better, because it has fully ripened on the tree. This rule of thumb holds true for most fruit and in Sri Lanka due to the lack of refrigerated transport, the tendency with all fruit is to pluck prematurely.
It is important that tissue culture is done on the good bearing Sour sop trees, and new plants are available in order to get consistent planting material to ensure a good yield. As usual the pundits come up with you must grow a whole area with these trees, but I have yet to be able to source good and reliable planting material, something which we are currently woefully lacking in for all types of fruit trees.
This is an added reminder that in order for us to maximize our potential for increasing our supply of fruit, the planting material is of the utmost importance as one does not have the luxury to experiment as these trees and in the case of the above take about 4 years to properly fruit.