Dec. 4, 2023
The fruit is picked when full grown and still firm but slightly yellow-green. If allowed to soften on the tree, it will fall and crush. It is easily bruised and punctured and must be handled with care. Firm fruits are held a few days at room temperature. When eating ripe, they are soft enough to yield to the slight pressure of one's thumb. Having reached this stage, the fruit can be held 2 or 3 days longer in a refrigerator. The skin will blacken and become unsightly while the flesh is still unspoiled and usable.
Studies of the ripening process in Hawaii have determined that the optimum stage for eating is 5 to 6 days after harvest, at the peak of ethylene production. Thereafter, the flavor is less pronounced and a faint offodor develops.
In Venezuela, the chief handicap in commercial processing is that the fruits stored on racks in a cool shed must be gone over every day to select those that are ripe and ready for juice extraction.
The soursop, unfortunately, is a shy-bearer, the usual crop being 12 to 20 or 24 fruits per tree. In Puerto Rico, production of 5,000 to 8,000 lbs per acre (roughly equal kg/ha), is considered a good yield from well-cared-for trees.
A study of the first crop of 35 5 year-old trees in Hawaii showed an average of 93.6 lbs (42.5 kg) of fruits per tree. Yield was slightly lower the 2nd year. The 3rd year, the average yield was 172 lbs (78 kg) per tree. At this rate, the annual crop would be 16,000 lbs per acre (roughly equal kg/ha).