August 25, 2011

Passion Fruit

Today we’re going to talk about the very unique, the very passionate, the beautiful, sweet Passion Fruit. I’m in a Passion Fruit grove right now, in The Redlands an agricultural area southwest to Miami, Florida. Passion Fruits are native to South America but they grow very well in the warm climates around the world, including our own Sunshine State of Florida.

As you can see these Passion Fruits grow at the end of vines, these vines grow really fast, up to 15 feet a year so the farmer has to make some kind of a structure to hold up the plant, like this trellis or on a fence line. These vines produce a beautiful flower; in about 2-3 months after pollination these flowers have produced a round to oval fruit. Passion Fruit of the vine has an unripe taste, when they are ripe they fall to the ground and the farmers usually come twice a week pick them up.

Passion Fruit comes in a whole bunch of different colors, yellow like this one, red, purple… but no matter what the color outside they’ll all have an intense sweet tart flavor inside. So let’s go to the kitchen and check these out.

As I was saying out in the grove, Passion Fruit comes in different varieties and colors, most commonly found is the purple type and this large yellow type, they both have that strong tropical aroma and flavor. When you go to the supermarket to pick Passion Fruit make sure they’re heavy, because that’s an indication that it has a lot of juice. To develop the best flavor and more sugar you have to let it sit on the counter for a few days at room temperature until it gets wrinkly, then it’s going to be at its peak flavor.

To open a Passion Fruit I like to cut it down the middle like so, I like to cut it over a bowl to capture all that great juice. You’ll find these little sacks with black seeds in them, they can be strained with cheesecloth or with a sieve, but they add a really nice crunch to it; you can also put them through a blender or reduce the size of the seeds. Just scoop out all the little sacks, pulp and juice to the bowl.

Now that we’ve got the juice, what can you do with it? You can make cakes, pies, mousse, icing; you can also use it with fruit, they taste really good mixed with mangoes, papayas, oranges and mixed drinks, believe it or not. You can put your Passion Fruit in a Ziploc bag and it’ll last about a good week in the refrigerator or you can put it in a container like so and it’ll also last about a week in the refrigerator. You can also put your Passion Fruit juice in the freezer, it’ll last about a year and it’ll taste just as good as it did the first day.

The exotic, delicious Florida Passion Fruit can be shipped to your door by one of our growers if you go to our website Tropical Fruit Growers South Florida; is an association of farmers that specialize in growing tropical fruits.

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