Wednesday, September 21, 2016

The Fruit of the Passion Flower

We are fortunate to have a Passion Flower that has established itself in our garden. Susanna has expounded upon the Passion Flower in previous blog posts, here and here. Pennsylvania, alas, has a very short growing season as the plant doesn't resurface from the long winter until early summer. Blossoms don't begin appearing until September. It is always so exciting to discover a blossom or two on our meager plant. We have, on occasion, had large green pods develop after the bloom, but never many, and they never ripen. Growing Passion Flower in California is another story. And, thanks to a generous gift from a CA friend, I was recently able to play with the beautiful fruit of the passion flower. In August, her bountiful vine yields 50 - 100 passion fruit per day! These beautiful magenta pods are the stage of growth that our plant never achieves. Once harvested, she says to let the pods sit and continue to ripen until they turn very wrinkly. The more wrinkles, the sweeter the fruit.
 Once they are wrinkled, you can store them in the fridge for a few days, or slice the top off, and collect the juice and pips from inside the fruit. The juice may also be frozen for later use. It is tart, but a little touch of sugar sweetens it directly. The tiny seeds may be eaten, but they do have a little crunch to them.
The first way I used the fruit was to simply serve it alongside fresh fruit with marshmallow cream. I added a touch of freshly grated nutmeg also. The sweet marshmallow cream was a perfect complement to the tart passion fruit. The fruit would also be perfect served over vanilla ice cream, or even pancakes along with a touch of syrup.

My second 'experiment' featured a Minted Passion Fruit Spritzer. I muddled the pulp and pips of one passion fruit with 2 tablespoons of sugar and 6 or more fresh mint leaves, pressing the mint leaves to extract the flavor and muddling the mixture to help dissolve the sugar. Then, I added about 2 cups of water and mixed it all together. It was such a refreshing beverage on a hot summer's eve.

A second batch of the spritzer was served to a group of tea room visitors that attend tea at Sweet Remembrances every other month. They were happy to share in the harvest!

And finally, I made tea sandwiches using a cream cheese base, some crushed pineapple, and the passion flower fruit. It was a fun tropical sandwich with half of the sandwich edged with pecan pieces. Although the pineapple was the predominant flavor, the passion fruit made it interesting!

What a fun time we had experimenting with this edible treasure. Special thanks to M.E. for sharing her harvest!


relevanttealeaf said...

Thanks for enlightening us about Passion Fruit. I don't think I've ever eaten it before. I'm not surprised that Martha has it growing abundantly in her gardens.

martea said...

Thank you for sharing the ways you used the passion fruit, Nancy. It's always fun to see how many ways it can be incorporated into different things.

I'm delighted that you are enjoying them.

Marilyn Miller said...

How fun to see the varied ways you used the fruit. I do love them with anything cream cheesy, so that sandwich would be a delight I am sure.