Thursday, July 13, 2006

Going Local: Passion Flower Fruit


The fruit of the blue passion flower falls into the category of wild growing foods that "look like they might but they won't" poison you. If you live in southern California (or South/Central America), you've likely seen these blue flowers and their subsequent orange fruits creeping across backyards in your neighborhood. I hit the jackpot of passion flower fruits, however, when I realized the chainlink fence enclosing parking lot near my office was absolutely covered with the orange buggers. So on a night when I knew I'd have plenty of time to deal with them, I harvested a shopping-bag full.

the actual passion flower and a few green fruits

Related to the somewhat more familiar passionfruit, these fragrant pouches are delightful to peel. You take off the loose, pithy skin and reveal a glob of blood-red seeds held together by a gelatinous membrane (I make it sound delicious, don't I?). Smaller but similar in texture to pomegranate seeds, the insides taste flowery, tangily sweet and slightly bitter.

brains or seeds??

I didn't find much on the internet in terms of recipes; instead I discovered that when found wild they're often eaten out of hand and called "maypops", "water lemons", "golden bell apples", or "granadillas". Also, if you boil the leaves or steep parts of the plant, you can make a drink tinged with just enough cyanide to make you sleepy and reduce stress. (Various reports differ depending on the species--obviously, I would not recommend trying this at home).

messy bowl of strained passion flower fruit curd

Anyway, remembering a long-ago consumed passionfruit curd, I decided to try the same with these close cousins. It turned out just okay--the flavor of the fruits is quite delicate and the egginess of the curd kind-of overwhelmed it. Perhaps a shot or two of lime juice could have punched it up, or I might have been better off just serving the seeds over some vanilla ice cream. Regardless, a fun experiment and a harvest I'll probably repeat on occasion. And now you know--next time you walk by a ripe vine, pop a fruit off and enjoy an exotic snack!

55 comments:

Ivonne said...

Hi Erin,

I've never ever seen this fruit before! It looks beautiful and I can only imagine how the scenery must look dotted with these lovely gems.

While I'm sorry you weren't thrilled with the curd, it looks great to me. Gorgeous colour!

Jessica said...

Maracuj√° caiparinhas all around! These passion fruits look different than the ones I had in Rio (either alone or in heavenly cocktails), but I bet there are some exciting drink possibilities. Good for you for picking the fruits and experimenting; I've always wondered if they're edible, too.

Rorie said...

I'm going on a passion flower fruit hunt this weekend - I'll let you know how it goes. And I'm gonna try those seeds over some vanilla ice cream - sounds heavenly!

Jennifer said...

I just recently found out what this strange flower and fruit producing plant was, and am intrigued to try something with the fruit. I read some place that cooked, for example in a pie or tart, the taste is similar to blueberries? I think I might stick to your suggestion, though, to try it as an ice cream topping.

Alan said...

I have been searching for confirmation that these are edible for ages, Thanks for this. My entire bck wall of the garage is covered with these, so now that I know its edible, Ill spend all weekend experimenting,

Anonymous said...

hi there,

i have often wondered if you could make a wine or a liquor from these fruit? any suggestions or recipes?, otherwise icegream topping souns just great!

Anonymous said...

my first crop of fruit is on the vine. Excited to know I can experiment with eating them, very surprised to hear about cyanide in the leaves! As a pie or on ice cream sounds yummy.

Anonymous said...

Hi, I live in Cornwall, england and have just moved house and found the entire garden wall covered in these plants and little orange fruits. Couldnt find any info on about them on the net but now i'm definately going to go and try some of the fruits! thank you

Tarr said...

Hehe, I just purchased my first, (Passiflora caerulea) Blue Passion Flower from a local nursery. I've been told, the flowers and fruit is eatable and comparable to a raspberry...however to not try and consume the roots or leaves, that's reserved for the Maypop (Passiflora incarnata) or Purple Passion Flower---which is said to have a lot of medicinal uses. Something about cyanide tea scares me. The blog is great though!!

Anonymous said...

wow had no idea when i started researching what the purple flowered vine in the field next to our house was that it would be so awesome and interesting! what is this fruits actual name? and how do you eat it? i cant wait to try it!

Ina said...

Good Job! :)

Anonymous said...

Found this plant at a home we have under construction. Good to know what it is . May have to save plant from destruction. Never expected to see this in North Carolina

Anonymous said...

Hi Erin

We have a couple of these beauties in our yard in Seattle. One a gift from my partner on our 1st anniversary. Another was a cutting from a friend.
Last year the one started bearing fruit. Only one, but this year it is loaded. So, we can eat them?

creativegenius@noisewithoutsound.com

mary said...

I moved to SC last summer and these were growing all over the overgrown pasture and in the yard... I kept trying to kill them thinking they were a pretty weed until my daddy told me what they were and had me and the kids try them out...the kids ended up going on passion fruit hunts and are anxiously waiting them coming summer.

Rolando said...

Thanks for confirming that this passion flower fruit is edible. Our friend just told us about it, but didn't think it was.

We just planted our over the Easter weekend so I'm sure it will be a long while until we see any fruit.

Sue F. said...

I've been growing these for years. The fruit is plentiful, but mine has never turned "orange". It stays green. Does this mean it is not ripe? We pull it apart and the kids love the "seeds" as a snack. I really would like to know how to get them to ripen to orange. Thanks. Sue F.

Sue F. said...

I've been growing these for years. The fruit is plentiful, but mine has never turned "orange". It stays green. Does this mean it is not ripe? We pull it apart and the kids love the "seeds" as a snack. I really would like to know how to get them to ripen to orange. Thanks. Sue F.

Chris said...

Thanks for the posting. I have 2 variety of passion flower in my backyard. The First is a Purple flower and is not making fruit. The leaves are smaller too. The second is a White flower with larger leaves and is making fruit. My white flowers are much more white than the ones in your picture. Yours have some purple in them. How do I know if there are health reasons with the different color variety of the passion flower? Thanks!

Anonymous said...

We use to play with these as children.We did call them Maypop's.Haven't thought about them since.We bought a home on Lake Moultrie,S.C. in Jan.The first time cutting grass,I found the Passion Flowers blooming at the foot of a tree.They are beautiful.Brings back great memories.That's what prompted me to Google them.What great info!

Terry said...

Anyone looking for recipes for the fruit of the Passion Flower will find very little info if you are looking under the name Maypop. You need to serch for recipes for Passion Fruit. The Maypop is one of about 500 species of Passion Fruit and is just as deible as the Passion Fruit found in the Produce Dept. of your local supermarket.

Yutka said...

We have a whole wall of passion flowers and yellow fruit hanging now tantalising in their ripeness. which tempted me to pick, peel and eat. The red seeds taste delicious, crunchy and sweet and I heard you can make syrup from them. Could not yet find a recipe. I don't know, though, if I have the patience to gather them, because each time I just eat them on the spot. Feel they do me some good. Thank god I never tried the leaves.

Terry said...

To find recipes for the fruit of the Passion Flower, go to www,cooks.com and search for recipes for "PASSION FRUIT".
WARNING I would not try consuming the leaves of the passion flower unless you know for certain that they are not toxic. Many plants have deible fruit while the plant itself is poisonous. A good exasmple of this is the tomato and the potato. Both these garden plants produce edible parts, but the plants themselves belong to the Nightshade family and are very poisonous.

Anonymous said...

Thanks for the warning on the leafy parts of these plants. Add rhubarb to your list of great fruit with toxic leaves.

Terry said...

I don't see any reason a wine cannot be made from the fruit of the passion flower. However, this fruit is most likely lacking in Ascorbic Acid, therefore, I would suggest adding 3 tbsp of lemmon juice per gallon if you wish to make wine.

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buy viagra said...

This fruit is well known in my country, Costa Rica, is very rich.

Anonymous said...

I just bought a blue passion flower from a local nursery in Western Pennsylvania. The saleswoman told me it's an annual. Is this true? I'd love for it to come back every year!
Are the flowers of the "BLUE" passion flower edible & does it produce fruit or just other species?

Anonymous said...

This is a perennial in IN. Thanks for posting this! I got my starts from a neighbor. When I saw the fruits, I wondered about them. Found your blog and am excited about eating something exotic! Thank you again :)

tasteofbeirut said...

Erin

Thanks so much for enlightening me of this passion fruit flower! I am delighted too to have discovered your site as well. Thanks again!

Maria Regi said...

After many years I just now found your blog. In Brazil we make passion fruit mousse:
8 passion fruits
1 tablespoon white sugar
1 (14 ounce) can sweetened condensed milk
2 cups cream
1- Strain through the pulp in a sieve or cheesecloth. Stir in sugar and sweetened condensed milk.
2=In a chilled bowl, beat cream until stiff peaks form. Fold 1/3 of the cream into the passion fruit mixture, then quickly fold in remaining cream until no streaks remain. Refrigerate for 1 hour.
Enjoy!

Anonymous said...

The Hawai'ians call passionflowers liliko'i. They sell a delicious sour/sweet jelly and use liliko'i to flavor foods like gelato.

Atlantis Cats said...

My passion flower fruit is green.... still I cut it open to reveal not red but green inside with white seeds..... I ate some... taste like cucumber in a way. Now, we wait & see if I die from eating this wild thing!

Andrea said...

Thanks Erin! I have one in my front yard. There are a good number of green fruits that I was pretty sure were edible, but I didn't know what they looked like when ripe. I'll try them on ice cream. Yum!

Viagra said...

These look delicious!

Susan said...

How do you know when they're ripe?

Unknown said...

I have these growing wild in my horse pasture in Oklahoma. They have just about choked out my wild blackberry thicket! I may try to transplant some of them now that I know more about them (I just knew that they are called Maypop vines around here). I wonder if you might be able to make jelly from the fruit. I may have to give that a try, since I won't be picking many blackberries this year!

Unknown said...

I have these growing wild in my horse pasture in Oklahoma. They have almost choked out my wild blackberry thicket. Now that I know more about them, I may transplant some to my yard to grow on my fence as a trellis. I may try to make some jelly from the fruit, since I won't have many, if any, blackberries to pick this year!

Unknown said...

I have these growing wild in my horse pasture in Oklahoma. They have almost choked out my wild blackberry thicket. Now that I know more about them, I may transplant some to my yard to grow on my fence as a trellis. I may try to make some jelly from the fruit, since I won't have many, if any, blackberries to pick this year!

Unknown said...

I have these growing wild in my horse pasture in Oklahoma. They have almost choked out my wild blackberry thicket. Now that I know more about them, I may transplant some to my yard to grow on my fence as a trellis. I may try to make some jelly from the fruit, since I won't have many, if any, blackberries to pick this year!

Jac H said...

I have these growing wild in my horse pasture in Oklahoma. They have almost choked out my wild blackberry thicket. Now that I know more about them, I may transplant some to my yard to grow on my fence as a trellis. I may try to make some jelly from the fruit, since I won't have many, if any, blackberries to pick this year!

Jac H said...

I have these growing wild in my horse pasture in Oklahoma. They have almost choked out my wild blackberry thicket. Now that I know more about them, I may transplant some to my yard to grow on my fence as a trellis. I may try to make some jelly from the fruit, since I won't have many, if any, blackberries to pick this year!

Jac H said...

I have these growing wild in my horse pasture in Oklahoma. They have almost choked out my wild blackberry thicket. Now that I know more about them, I may transplant some to my yard to grow on my fence as a trellis. I may try to make some jelly from the fruit, since I won't have many, if any, blackberries to pick this year!

Jac H said...

I have these growing wild in my horse pasture in Oklahoma. They have almost choked out my wild blackberry thicket. Now that I know more about them, I may transplant some to my yard to grow on my fence as a trellis. I may try to make some jelly from the fruit, since I won't have many, if any, blackberries to pick this year!

Jac H said...

I have these growing wild in my horse pasture in Oklahoma. They have almost choked out my wild blackberry thicket. Now that I know more about them, I may transplant some to my yard to grow on my fence as a trellis. I may try to make some jelly from the fruit, since I won't have many, if any, blackberries to pick this year!

Jac H said...

Sorry my post came through so many times! It never told me that I had entered the correct code to prove I'n not a robot, and I kept re-entering it! My apologies!!!

Jac H said...

Sorry my post came through so many times! It never told me that I had entered the correct code to prove I'n not a robot, and I kept re-entering it! My apologies!!!

sports handicapping services said...

hi did not know them I find interesting

Anonymous said...

I just found a viney area loaded with the flowers and then to my delight passion flower fruits whilst Camping in Edisto Island Beach State Park. Had the plant before on Mothers porch. Def going to make us a dessert and try a.d harvest seeds to establish somewhere.
Made my whole vacation!

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Anonymous said...

http://www.eattheweeds.com/maypops-food-fun-medicine-2/

Also check his youtube!

rod said...

They are extremely invasive plants. I planted one a few years ago as the flowers are very beautiful and they have taken over the garden and my neighbours as well!! Dry the seeds out and sell them on e-bay!!
Rod...

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Anonymous said...

We live in Hampshire in England and have these in our garden. Fab news that we can eat them as my 2 year old keeps wanying to pick them off the vine (ours are still green though)i cant wait till the autumn when they are orange and edible. Is the orange pith not to be eaten? Thanks fot all the great advice and views on this plant/fruit. Oo exciting times ahead. X

dan said...

Ours is in the sun all day and the wind attacks it, it loves it, but they say this is the worst place for it, our windy winter here on the south coast, UK can't even kill it! Tons of flowers and fruit after every flower, most are orange now, shall I leave them to wrinkle before trying to use the seeds in a mousse?

Anonymous said...

I'm oregon, my fruit are hollow! Like little balloons