I’m lucky enough to have a yard bursting with edible plants: an apricot tree, a huge rosemary bush, some sage and lavender, baby lemon and lime trees, and my favorite — a passion fruit bush. All summer (and a little through the winter, too) it blooms with some incredible, vibrant flowers. Once the green passion fruits ripen, they turn an incredible, deep, rich purple and the fruit is full of fragrant orange pulp with dark seeds. The pulp can be strained for the juice, but the real magic happens with the rind.
From vine to jar.
- 6 ripe passion fruits
- 1 lemon
- filtered water
- Honey to taste
- Pectin or unflavored gelatin (optional)
Cut the fruit in half and scoop the pulp into a mesh strainer over a bowl. Place the rinds into a saucepan or large pot and cover with filtered water; add the juice of the lemon. Bring to a boil and simmer, tightly covered, for 1 1/2 hours or until the flesh has plumped to twice its original size and is a deep purple hue.
Remove the rinds, keeping the liquid into the pot. Scoop out the soft flesh and discard the hard peel. Chop the flesh into smaller pieces and return it to the liquid with the honey. Passion fruit can be kind of bitter, so add as much honey as you want to cut the bitterness. Bring the liquid back to a boil for another five minutes.
Passion fruit rind, like apple peel, has a pretty high pectin content, which is drawn out by the citric acid in the lemon juice. I usually add a teaspoon or so of unflavored gelatin to the last boil to help it all set, but if you’re planning to give some to a vegetarian you can either add some more pectin (find it near the canning supplies at the store) or just go without and have a little soupier jar of preserves.
Remember that pulp you strained over a bowl in the beginning? Mash it around a little to get the juice out and dump the seeds. Mix the juice with another sweeter juice (again, it’s a little bitter) and enjoy a tropical drink. If you let it settle in the fridge for a day or so, the syrup separates and you can pour off the clear part and use the concentrated flavor in an ice cream or sorbet base. Got any other ideas for it? Let me know in the comments!