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.
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.
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).
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!