What is Passion Fruit?
Lore has it that when you eat a passion fruit, you will fall in love with the next person you lay eyes on. That would be a powerful fruit, wouldn’t it? And possibly a little frightening….
Passion fruit comes from a type of flower, called (reasonably) a passion flower. They are a tropical fruit and common to South America, Australia and South America but also grows in sub-tropical climates including Florida and California. They have a tough outer rind and juicy, seed-filled center. You have to get past the fact that the insides look like gelatinous-goop…the taste is fresh and amazing.
What Do Passion Fruit Look Like?
The most common passion fruit are purple and small round/oval, or yellow and slightly larger. If they are green, they are not ripe. They have a thick waxy rind that wrinkles as the fruit ripens. Inside is pulp which is a combination of orange-colored juice and small, crunchy seeds.
Where Can I Find Passion Fruit?
Passion fruit are sometimes available in supermarkets but more often you’ll need to go to specialty markets or Latin and Caribbean markets (there you might find the fruit labeled called “parcha” or “maracuya”).
Or if you want the pulp or juice but can’t actually find the fruit itself, look in the freezer section of your regular or specialty market and you might find it there. You may also find passion fruit juice and concentrate in juice aisles (or the freezer section) although some may contain other juices or sweeteners mixed in
How Do I Pick the Best Passion Fruit?
Passion fruit is most ripe when it appears all wrinkly and is a dark purple or dark yellowy-red in color – not what you are usually looking for in a ready-to-eat fruit, but true here.
Green passion fruit are unripe and can be left on the counter for 3-7 days to ripen. The heavier fruits are the best as they have plenty of moisture inside. Try shaking a passion fruit and if you feel a lot of liquid or pressure in there, that means it’s filled with good stuff! You can also do the smell test – tropical aromas are a good sign. As with all fruit, avoid fruits that have bruising or discoloration, or any signs of mold or decay (but you want the wrinkles here!) .
What Do Passion Fruit Taste Like?
Passion fruit has a sweet-but-also-tart flavor, and a fragrant aroma, which adds to the eating experience. It’s hard to compare them to another fruit since they are so unique but if pressed: think a little like a kiwi, a little like pineapple.
How Do I Prepare Passion Fruit?
Eating a passion fruit can be pretty straight-forward. First step is to wash and dry the fruit to remove and pesticides or preservatives. Then simply cut it in half, scoop out the pulp and eat (some people like a little sugar sprinkled over to cut through the sourness. MOther people love the bit of sour). Avoid scraping the white part of the inside of the skin which is bitter (like the pith of citrus fruit).
If you are looking for the juice than you want to remove the seeds. Do this by pressing the pulp through a sieve which will separate the seeds from the liquidy pulp. You won’t get a ton, but if you are using the juice for baking or another purpose, this is a necessary task.
And finally, if you are looking for the puree, simply put all the seeds and juice in a blender and puree, straining for the end product. A bit of crunch will be part of the final product – but it’s a whole lot easier than straining out all of the seeds,
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How Do I Cook With Passion Fruit?
There are definitely more ways to use passion fruit other than the eating raw and drinking the juice straight-up. Passion fruit is actually quite versatile in savory and sweet dishes, as well as beverages.
Passion fruit marinades and sauces go extremely well with fish, shrimp, or chicken, giving these proteins a tropical island-ish flavor.
Passion fruit shows up a lot in both non-alcoholic and alcoholic drinks. Mix some puree with sparkling water for a refreshing and simple mocktail, or add the puree to fruit smoothies. On the boozy side, you could combine passion fruit pulp with different alcohols for cocktails. Try passion fruit puree or juice with coconut rum, ginger ale and pineapple juice. Or stir some into vodka with a generous splash of lime juice.
Passion fruit is most often encountered in desserts. Passion fruit can be baked into cakes and tarts, or used in ice creams, sorbets or granitas. Passion fruit also lends fantastic flavoring to curdsand custards, mousse, fruit butters, and puddings.
When are Passion Fruit in Season?
Passion fruit usually are available year-round but being a tropical fruit, they are more abundant in the warmer months. Its prime growing season is early summer through winter.
How Do I Store Passion Fruit?
If your passion fruit is not ripe, it can be left out on a counter for 3-5 days to ripen. The best way to get the longest life out of your ripened passion fruit is to store them in the crisper or vegetable drawer of your refrigerator. This way, they can last approximately 1 week.
Passion fruit puree, juice or pulp freezes really well. So if you get your hands on lots of passion fruit and want to make it last, make a batch of juice or puree and freeze it.
Are Passion Fruits Nutritious?
Passion fruits are rich in antioxidants and a good source of nutrients including fiber, vitamin C and vitamin A. They are low in fat.