IN SEASON: Passion Fruit
Kick off a lifelong love affair with this sweet-tart tropical treat.
Buy: At the grocery store, give passion fruit a good sniff and choose the most fragrant one you can find. Then, be patient: Passion fruit are typically smooth at the store, but they taste their best when they look their worst. Once the skin is dark and deeply wrinkled, it's time to dig in!
Store: To ripen passion fruit, leave them on the counter and wait. In three to five days, you'll have a sweet treat. Once ripe, the fruit will keep in the fridge for about two weeks.
Eat: Halve the fruit and scoop out the pulp with its edible seeds. Spoon it over yogurt, swirl it into frosting or stir it into a chicken marinade. Wanna keep things really simple? Slurp the puckery pulp straight from the skin.
With passion fruit, wrinkly equals ready to eat!
The "passion" part of passion fruit isn't a nod to romance at all, but to religion: The vine's spiky flower reminded 16th-century missionaries of the Passion of Christ.
While it might seem exotic, chances are you first tasted passion fruit as a kid without even knowing it: The fruit has been an ingredient in Hawaiian Punch for decades.
When you buy a passion fruit at the supermarket, odds are it will have deep-purple skin. This variety accounts for 99 percent of the crop sold in the U.S.; the rest are yellow and are found mainly in Hawaii.
One piece of passion fruit contains about two to three tablespoons of pulp—great as a snack, but less practical in cooking. For recipes that call for a quarter cup or more, try these options.
Pulp:Passion-fruit pulp (and thinner puree) is usually sold frozen in bags or tubs. While a bit pricey, it's worth splurging for recipes that require a lot of fruit for intense flavor, like passion-fruit ice cream.
Juice: Passion-fruit juice blends are inexpensive and easy to find, and get the job done when you just need the liquid flavor. Stir it with spiced rum and lime juice for a tiki-inspired cocktail, or blend it into a tropical smoothie.
Celebrity chef Curtis Stone is passionate about passion fruit. (That's him shaking up the fruit in caipirinhas on Rachael's show last year.) Growing up in Australia, he'd devour them often as an after-school snack. Now he keeps passion-fruit vines in his yard in L.A. as a reminder of home.