During the dark months, we try to taste as many fruit flavors as possible to get us through the day. In our trials this month, we came across a very special fruit. You may have heard of Passion fruit, but have you tasted it? Passion fruit is one of the original “super fruits,” a category of fruit that continues to grow in North America. Other popular super fruits are Pomegranate, Açai, Mangosteen and Jaboticaba. Many people may have tasted passion fruit flavor, but very few people actually know what a passion fruit looks, and tastes like in its natural form.
Passion fruit is native to South America and is grown in a variety of tropical and sub-tropical areas around the world. The most famous place is Hawaii, where the locals refer to it as Lilikoi. The fruit has two varieties, defined by their different color skins. The purple passion fruit is a sub-tropical variety, smaller, is mildly frost tolerant and can be grown as far north in the United States as San Francisco. The yellow variety is tropical, slightly larger and therefore much less tolerant of cold weather. As a result, the yellow variety is more abundant in Hawaii.
The fruit itself consists of an outer inedible skin with yellow flesh and numerous seeds (which are edible). Depending upon ripeness the taste can range from sweet to very tart, and it has a very distinctive flavor. The most common way the fruit is consumed is in a juice, where the flesh is pureed, strained and concentrated.
Today there are many flavor companies who feature passion fruit as one of their tropical flavors and there are many commercial juice supply companies selling concentrated passion fruit juice for use in the food industry. This commercialization has helped transform the passion fruit from a local delicacy to a flavor people around the world have heard of and tasted, even if they have never been to a tropical area.
Here at Eagle Beverage, we are always working to find the best ingredient and flavor combinations. Recent developments have resulted in the pairing of passion fruit with citrus and strawberry, creating a product that could be used either for a delicious Italian soda or for a delectable Margarita. These are exactly the types of flavors we love developing to keep our minds off of the cold winter days!