Ever since commentor Cece suggested I do a passion fruit review post last December, I’ve been slowly collecting and trying passion fruit in all its various forms. And now I can finally post my comprehensive review and taste test results. See, I do get around to doing everything I say I will… sometimes it just takes a while! In this post, I’ll be providing comparisons between fresh passion fruit, frozen passion fruit puree, dried whole passion fruit, and and dried passion fruit powder.
Fresh Passion Fruit
Passion fruits have to be shipped a long way to get to Canada, several parallels north of Brazil where they are native. I have to wonder how these compare to what you could get in South America. The passion fruits I bought are from T&T Supermarket Waterloo, in that little fridge off to the side of the produce section where they keep the more interesting fruits (like shine muscat grapes).
To be honest, I’m not the biggest fan of passion fruit. You’d think someone like me who adores all things gooey and gelatinous would love the inside of this fruit, which oozes out like a runny chia pudding when cut into. Yes, I do find the thick, slimy texture of passion fruit flesh to be fascinating! But that’s where the love ends.
Passion fruits are studded with big intrusive seeds. Some people may like their crunch, and I do appreciate them in other applications, such as this passion fruit butter or in dried passion fruit as you’ll see below, but in fresh passion fruit I feel like it disrupts the lovely texture of the fruit’s flesh.
Also, because its shell is so thick, you don’t end up with a lot of yield per fruit. It turns out that the peels are an issue for scientists too, who are coming up with various ways to reduce their waste, from turning them into flours that can substitute for xanthan gum or extracting pectin to use for jellies and jams. Next time I have fresh passion fruit on hand I’m going to try the flour-making technique to see if I can get something useful out of the shells.
Okay, let’s taste it. The fact that I don’t like acidic foods makes me pretty biased against passion fruit because yeah, the overriding flavour is sour. I can’t dissociate the rest of the flavour from the tartness. From reading up on passion fruit online, they are supposed to be sweet as well as sour. Although I’d let them sit until one started to go bad, the ones I ate may not have properly ripened. I’ll have to try again when I make it to someplace where I can taste really good quality ripe passion fruit.
Recommended for: snacking, fruit salads
Frozen Passion Fruit
These frozen cubes are made of 100% passion fruit puree, seeds and all. I found it in the frozen Filipino food section of T&T between all the ubes, cassavas, and pandan leaves. This stuff actually tastes very similar to fresh fruit and is just as sour as the real thing. I recommend buying this over fresh if you’re using it for any cooking purpose, because it’s much more convenient to use. I prefer it for my passion fruit butter recipe. It’s a lot faster than cutting and scooping out 350 g worth of passion fruit insides!
Recommended for: baking, jams/jellies
Dried Passion Fruit
Another T&T find. I bought this at the Richmond T&T and I was very excited because this was an item I haven’t seen at either the Calgary or Waterloo stores!
The smell of this passion fruit “jerky” is not great. Reminds me of prunes. They also taste… a bit like prunes? I mean, no matter how hard a dried fruit tries to retain its flavour, you just can’t get back the fresh, tropical taste which is one thing that passion fruit really has going for it.
However, I did enjoy biting into the seeds. They provided a great contrast to the gummy dried fruit. Another thing I appreciate is that unlike the fresh passion fruit, these were not so sour. Yayyy! But it’s likely because this brand of dried fruit contains added sugar. Booo!
The texture is less chewy than many other dried fruits, like dates or apricots, which makes it less fun to eat in my opinion. One thing I like about eating dried fruits is how bouncy the texture is, and these weren’t so bouncy.
They were okay, but I wouldn’t buy again.
Recommended for: snacking
Passion Fruit Powder
I found this powdered version of passion fruit at Vancouver’s Gourmet Warehouse. It sat in the pantry for a long time because I couldn’t figure out what to do with it. It’s a very small package so I didn’t want to squander it on something that didn’t turn out well.
I eventually decided to try putting some in a smoothie to see how it compared to a smoothie made with frozen passion fruit puree. The results were very favourable. For one thing, this powdered version doesn’t contain seeds so it blends up much smoother than the one made with puree, which had a little grittiness.
I also tried a little of the powder on its own. I actually like it a lot. It tastes similar to the real thing—much more passiony fruity than the dried jerky version. I think this would be the best for smoothies because it removes the grittiness from the ground-up seeds.
Recommended for: smoothies and other drinks
Wondering how to add passion fruit into a smoothie or shake? According to The Baker’s Almanac, passion fruit pairs well with bananas, coconuts, kiwis, lemons, limes, mangoes, oranges, papayas, peaches, pears, pineapples, and strawberries. In short, anything tropical or citrusy is a good bet. I recently whipped one up that was just frozen pineapple and passion fruit powder with a bit of ground ginger. I will update you guys with other passion fruit recipe ideas as I continue to experiment.
What Should We Try Next?
Well folks, nearly half a year after it was first requested, I’ve finally finished my passion fruit review! So what do you think about passion fruit? How does it rank on your fruit tier list? And let me know if you have an interesting food you’d like me to review; I will try my best to get my hands on it and give it a try!