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Summer Ingredient Essentials: Passion Fruit

The name alone makes you think of the tropics: Passion Fruit thrives in hot temperature, which means it's the perfect fruit to enjoy during these hot summer months. Besides its uniquely sweet and tangy flavor, passion fruit is also rich in a variety of vitamins and antioxidants. Rich in beta-carotene, passion fruit juice helps promote healthy bone development while B Vitamins help lower cholesterol and improve circulation. Passion fruit also has a high level of potassium, great as a post workout snack to help aching muscles heal. Though high calorie, clocking in at 230 calories per cup, the 5 grams of protein and 24 grams of fiber can help you maintain a healthy body and happy tastebuds.

How do I pick the best passion fruit?

Passion fruit is best chosen by your nose. A ripe fruit will be fragrant, emitting a sweet, almost vanilla-like smell. The fruit should look nice and plump while feeling heavy for its size. The shell, no matter the color, should have wrinkles and dimples and should yield to firm pressure. They may not be the most attractive on the outside but remember, it’s what's on the inside that counts!

Pass on any fruits that are shriveled, are too hard, or too soft. If all you see are fruits with smooth skin, don't panic. You can ripen them by leaving them out at room temperature for 3 to 5 days until they have wrinkled, dimpled, and become fragrantly ripe.

What can I make with passion fruit?

Passion fruit is a summer favorite for a reason. It's refreshing and sweet with a little bit of tang. Use passion fruit pulp to make popsicles, sorbets, cakes, and pies; or use passion fruit juice as a mixer in your favorite drink, to make a spicy passion fruit glaze for your next BBQ, or drink it straight up for a taste of the tropics. From fruit salads, jellies, pastry fillings and custards to purees, smoothies, and cocktails this fruit can be a part of your summer menu at breakfast, lunch, dinner, and especially dessert!

To prep, first rinse passion fruit under warm water and pat dry. Slice fruit in half, scoop out pulp, and use accordingly. To make fresh juice first strain the seeds out using a sieve or cheesecloth, pressing to extract the juice, then use as needed. Use reserved pulp in sweet breads or popsicles. 

Store ripe passion fruit in the refrigerator for up to 3 days. Whole passion fruit can be frozen, however since the rind is inedible, you may want to freeze only the pulp. Frozen pulp stored in an airtight container will remain fresh for 3 months, perfect to use in morning smoothies. 

Recipes to try include: Passion Fruit Mimosa, Baked Ham with Passion Fruit Glaze, and Parchita Citron Paletas.

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