It is a small tree that everyone knows in Martinique for its fruit and its leaves which are brewing, it appears excellent sleeping pills.
Originally from Caracas (Venezuela) and naturalized over many years in the Caribbean, it seems that first plants were introduced in the 17th century from Curaçao, the french occupants of Martinique.
Here is what wrote father Labat thereon
"The tree as the French call Evergreen and fruit, Soursop, call Guanabo among the Spaniards, Cachiman or Momin at some other Europeans who live in America... The French, who found much of this species with a hopping Dutch near the coast of char, called Curaçao or Curasso, or Soursop by corruption, and who brought the species to the Islands French, gave him the name of that island instead of his own, or that they don't know, or for any other reason that point came to my knowledge. »
The name of Soursop was very quickly adopted by our peoples. A village in Saint-Barthélemy and a river, on the road to the crossing, in the natural park of Guadeloupe, are called as well.
The shrub is very common in the countryside around houses.
An edible fruit
Usually big enough, with a form of heart wave, it can reach average 12 to 25 cm in length and a diameter of 8 to 12 cm. It is dark green, "scales" irregularly conical, curved and pointed. It is recognized that the fruit is ripe, when these small tips start to blacken. The pulp is white and contains numerous black seeds or dark brown, flattened, which can reach up to 1.5 cm long and a width of about 1 cm. The Soursop is eaten kind, sliced, or juice, very refreshing and slightly tart. These are the two most common ways to eat today in our islands. But once, at the beginning of colonization, it feuded recipes. And after the father Labat, there was the Soursop fried with oil or lard, the Soursop in donut and a 'wine' of Soursop, very good, it seems.
Fried soursop or Soursop in fritters
"It gathers it often until it is quite mature; It peels, cut by slices, and after removing the seeds, you fried it with oil or butter, or lard that Spaniards called Manteca, which means butter... and you eat it with orange juice. Sometimes, after it is cut by many slices, passes in a clear paste, and fries as the Apple fritters, and eaten with sugar and orange juice. "(Father Labat).
True to say, for our part, we have never tried these recipes, which seem quite extravagant car coming out of our eating habits. But, even once, we can only admire the imagination of father Labat overflow, and ask ourselves if at this time, it didn't much of his time in the kitchen!
A small 'wine' greatly appreciated in the 17th century
Ferment for about two days, Soursop juice became, it seems, 'as a small wine gadkari and nicer'. If it expresses the juice of this fruit, it is a liqueur quite refreshing and pleasant, with a little sugar to correct the tip of its acids. If allowed to ferment for thirty to forty hours, it loses its acidity, and becomes like a Gado wine and more enjoyable, but giving furiously at the head. This wine remains in his goodness for a day and a half or two days, after which it is sours imperceptibly, and in five or six days, he became the strongest vinegar. "(Father Labat).
In addition to its use in the kitchen, Soursop has also, apparently, the therapeutic virtues. In the 17th century, already thought to be a remedy against fever. Therefore, it was advisable to eat a few slices to the sick. It was also a heat-induced diarrhea medication.
In herbal tea, the leaves of the Evergreen are very used, because they are soothing and promote digestion. "Is used also leaves macerated in warm water, to rub parts of the body affected by sunburn" (R.P. Duss).
But it's BREW that leaves are most used in our islands, because they are, it seems, a great sleep aid. There was a time where nobody was going to bed without taking his "Soursop tea" because it was self-, saying the best way to fall asleep peacefully and spend a good night. How many times have I fact wake up from a deep sleep by my own mother, because I had forgotten to take my "Soursop tea", i.e. my famous sleeping pill!
A plant used to make strips
If nowadays most edges are made of 'Gliricidias' or 'Gliceridias' (Gliricidia septum Jacq.), in the 17th and 18th centuries, as noted already the father Labat, it was common to the Evergreen "the Corossolier just got much better seed of cutting. '' When it wants to edges, we plant the seeds in the nursery, and when the jets have fourteen or fifteen inches high, it throws them in a time of rain, and plants the chalk... These kinds of edges come very quickly; they are very good, well cover places they must keep. "Their leaves that are strong and in great numbers, easily resist the impetuosity of the wind, and their wood that is very flexible and yoke, is less likely to break than trees stiffer and stronger. It is in this way that the major part of the cocoa were protected from the wind.