Yes, there can be absolutely no doubt that it is summer! The line of demarcation for the seasons on St. Croix is not a visual one, but a physical one. Your body recognizes the intensity of the summer sun before your eyes start to understand that the lush landscape is now drying. Then the thirst sets in, and all you physically crave are ways to beat the heat and cool down. This is one of my favorite summer time “Cool Down” treats.
It’s made with the Soursop or Guanábana fruit. Soursop is a prickly green fruit that grows on the island. Its flesh is similar in texture to wet or soppy edible cotton. It has a large black seed tucked comfortably inside the white pillowy softness of the fruit. Its milk-colored, sweet, and tangy juice is refreshing when it ripens.
One of the most communal and beautiful parts about living on St. Croix is that virtually everyone has some kind of fruit tree growing in their yard. Add to it that we live on an island whose sense of food-sharing is such a part of our culture. If you have fruits or vegetables, you share them.
I remember once walking into my office and my co-worker brought me an ENTIRE grocery bag of mangoes. After doing a brief happy dance, I thought nowhere else is this kind of on the job BLISS possible than on the island! Then the other day, my cousin Rumina dropped by and brought me three soursops. I had to find something to do with it, and this is where the idea for a Soursop Granita was born.
Granita is simply frozen juice that is scraped with a fork throughout its freezing to ensure a crunchy, ice-like texture. Pile it into a glass and you have a refreshing anytime summer treat.
This post is going to be less of a “recipe” than a sharing of an idea and a basic technique. This is literally all too taste. You can’t really mess this up. You will have to work VERY hard to mess this recipe up. It is literally un-mess-up-able! The only possible way to “mess this up” is unless you forget to scrape it through the freezing process. But even then all you have to do is thaw it and start all over again!
Ingredients and Tools:
Approximately 3 Cups of the Juice from One Small Ripe Soursop
Enough Gently Boiled Water to cover the Fruit
A Few Drops of Banana Essence
The Juice of 2 Limes
About 1/2 to 1 Cup of Sugar
A Tiny Pinch of Salt
A Freezable Shallow Glass Container
1 Cup of “Nothing Else To Do All Day”
2 Tablespoons of “Patience”
5 Spoons and the Equal Amount of “Friends to Share this Refreshing Summer Treat”
Peel the Soursop’s outer green skin off entirely. Pull away the white pulp of the fruit from its fibrous center core. You will be left with the white flesh of the fruit and the large sable colored seeds embedded inside the pulp.
Pour enough boiling water over the fruit pulp to cover it. Let it stand until cool at room temperature, then refrigerate overnight.
Create a simple syrup by bringing together sugar and water to a boil until the sugar is completely dissolved. The sweetness of this treat is to your taste, but I would suggest about 1 cup of water to a bit more than 1/2 cup of sugar. Set the simple syrup aside to cool and then refrigerate. This will yield one cup simple syrup. If you find you do not need all of it to make the Granita to your desired sweetness, then you can keep the sugar refrigerated for a few weeks, and use the remainder in ice teas!
The next day pour the sour sop mixture through a fine sieve and press to extract as much juice as possible. There will still be loads of flavor and juice left in the remaining mash and from the first pressings. You can reserve this to make soursop juice in the near future by simply freezing the remains.
Combine the cooled simple syrup, lime, banana essence, and about two to three cups of the Sour sop juice together in a shallow glass bowl.
Cover with plastic wrap and place in the freezer. It depends on the temperature of your freezer, but I checked on mine at about one hour intervals. During each check, I used a strong fork to scrape the sour sop juice to start separating the ice crystals.
Hour One looked like this:
Around hour three it started to show better signs of solidifying: