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Guanabana

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I'm looking for Guanabana fruit--aka Chermoya. It has a white flesh and black seeds, yields a juice that is sort of milky looking. Green on the outside, shaped like a large (melon-sized) green spiny strawberry.

I haven't seen it anywhere around here--just in S./Central America. Anybody seen it at a local grocery/market? Maybe one of the Korean ones? It is of southeast asian origin, I believe. I seem to be seeing more tropical melons, but not this one.

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  1. Actually, Guanabana and Chirimoya are two different fruits (although related). Chirimoyas are much smaller than Guanabanas. I have seen Chirimoyas at Whole Foods (P St and Tenleytown) and at Harris Teeter (Pentagon City) every once in a while (very green and VERY expensive). Depending on how you want to use them, a better alternative might be buying frozen pulp, which you can find in most latin or other (ethnic) mini-markets. It's only a couple of bucks and produces good "batidos".

    5 Replies
    1. re: C

      Some web site I went to while in search of a web vendor said that they were also called cheramoyas. Grr. Silly web. Thanks for the distinction! It's the guanabanas I want.

      I mainly want them for the juice, for frozen drinks, etc. So while fresh would be preferable for the former, for the latter, the frozen pulp would work.

      I recently moved to Arlington and haven't had the chance to sample many of the latin groceries. Do you have any suggestions?

      1. re: Sallie

        If you want to buy the frozen drinks pre-fab, Song Que & many of the other frozen drink vendors at Eden will sell you a guavabana slushy, with tapicoa balls if you like.

        -JT

        1. re: Sallie

          I've found it before at Chaparral Meat Market on Wilson Blvd, pretty much across the street from the Whole Foods near Clarendon. Good luck!

          1. re: Sallie

            For Latin groceries in North Arlington, I recommend "La Union" on Old Lee Highway, between Lorcom and Quincy. There are freezers full of packaged stuff, most of which I don't recognize, but at least some of which I can tell is fruit pulp.

          2. re: C

            I have found guanabana pulp, frozen, at several korean markets near the latin foods they stock. have not seen it fresh, but I have seen cherimoyas fresh at several local markets, including Whole Foods, Harris Teeter, and korean groceries.

          3. I have been searching for fresh guanabana (english name: soursop) in the US for some time now. I believe chiromoya is also known as sweetsop.

            It is not even available in the small markets in Miami! Once while surfing the net I found an indication that someone at a farmers market on Key Biscayne had them.

            They are maybe the most perfect natural food on earth!!!! It is a crime that they are not availabe everywhere. I had a whole one in Jamaica, and now I am haunted by it. Not only is it unbelievably delicious, but it is a natural tranquilizer (at least in fresh form.) Frozen pulp and canned juice are only a shallow reminder of the fresh stuff. If anyone out there has plans to travel to the Caribbean or South America, I strongly urge you to visit a farmers market and partake of this great natural wonder.

            1. I've found cherimoya at latin american and vietnamese grocers and Whole Foods (don't think Koren stores usually carry them). Once or twice, I saw guanabanana at produce carts outside on 14th Street in DC.

              That said, in the US, both of these fruits tend to be underripe and many times never ripen properly, going straight from being rock hard to icky and putrid (a big risk when they cost $3+ per fruit)...

              On a positive note, mamey/sapote is now in season. I got a perfect one at Todito in Adams Morgan. Makes the best batidos.

              1 Reply
              1. re: butterfly

                A mamey shake is glorious. This is indeed great news for all Chowhounds. But if you see any home-grown guanabana on the streets of DC, please post immediately!

              2. Wegmans had them a few weeks ago.

                4 Replies
                1. re: James G

                  Oh, James, how I wish that were true. But I just talked to the produce manager at Wegman's, and he said it can't be legally brought into the United States. He (nor I) know of anyone commercially producing it in the US. If you saw any Guanabana anywhere, it was home grown, so there's very little of it. I don't know why that is exactly. My suspicion: because of its tranquilizing properties!

                  1. re: Steve

                    I was going on the claim that guanabana was the same as cherimoya, which I did see there; I see now that there is some question about these two fruits' similarity, so it seems that I was wrong. Sorry!

                    1. re: James G

                      It's easy to tell the difference. Guanabana has little spines on the exterior. Cherimoya is smoother with scale-like patterns. Then there's another called Atemoya that looks more like an artichoke.

                      But sapote and mamey are more confusing. I was talking to the guy who sold me the sapote (which is called mamey in Cuba). He said that in El Salvador they have a different fruit called mamey that is round and has a lighter colored seed. It isn't available in the US. The mamey/sapote that we bought is football shaped, has orange flesh, a shiny black seed, and a distinct nut flavor). He said there are several different fruits that fall under the "sapote" umbrella and this one is known as "sapote grande."

                      1. re: butterfly

                        Guanabana is also called sour-sop. Theyre pretty easy to find in Florida, but I'm not sure about here. Same w/mamey.

                2. I've seen Guanabana everywhere in Costa Rica, any farmer's market, Mercado and even stores, real, fresh fruits. I've been looking everywhere here in the U.S and I can only find it in farmer's markets in Hawaii, any farmer's market in Hawaii has it. of course is more expensive there than in Costa Rica and not so big and and ready to eat. but that's about it. it cures cancer, for real, so I wonder why the U.S doesn't want people to know much about it.. mmmmm?