Passion fruit: its very name conjures the essence of the tropics. Indeed, passion fruit is a warm-weather vine that thrives in hot, humid subtropical and tropical climes. Although it’s available much of the year — coming from Florida, California, Hawaii or New Zealand in various seasons — it’s not generally found in supermarkets outside major metropolitan areas on a year-round basis. All the more reason, therefore, to celebrate its serendipitous appearance.
Despite its alluring name, passion fruit is quite an ugly duckling. The most common variety, the purple passion fruit is round to egg-shaped. Its tough, inedible rind goes from smooth to wrinkled, dimpled and dented, fading to a brownish-purple as the fruit ripens. Hidden inside that plain, unattractive package is a seeded, jelly-like pulp that’s simply heavenly. Passion fruit has a distinctive, haunting flavor unlike any other fruit, and for many people that flavor defines the true taste of the tropics. The pulp of the purple variety is egg-yolk yellow and intensely aromatic, ranging from sweet-tart to very tart. Yellow passion fruit has greenish pulp with larger seeds, and it yields twice as much pulp. Its taste is similar to the purple, but it’s less acidic with hints of vanilla.
How to select and store passion fruit
Let your nose be your guide: ripe passion fruit is richly fragrant with wrinkled (but not dried) skin. Choose fruit that feels heavy for its size and looks plump, despite any wrinkles.
Avoid overly wrinkled, feather-light fruit, as these are past their prime. Avoid very hard specimens as well; they were picked before ripening fully.
If your passion fruit’s skin is still smooth, ripen it for a few days at room temperature, turning occasionally. Ripe passion fruit can be stored in the refrigerator for up to 2 weeks. If you have excess fruit (lucky you), simply cut them in half, scoop out the pulp and freeze it for future use.
Tips for using passion fruit
Passion fruit works beautifully in sweet dishes of all persuasions. The pulp can be simply scooped over ice cream, rice pudding, yogurt or pound cake. It dresses up a fancy fruit salad or jazzes up a smoothie. Or try reducing the pulp over low heat to concentrate its flavor, then whisk in some extra-virgin olive oil to make a simple vinaigrette for greens or grilled fish. Delicious!
Why choose organic?
Choose organic whenever you can to help keep the residues of conventional agricultural pesticides and fertilizers out of your food. Organic produce is grown without toxic synthetic pesticides and fertilizers, using sustainable farming methods that protect the environment and help keep pesticides out of our soil, air, water and food supply. Organic food is the healthiest choice for people and the planet — and we think it tastes better, too!