I haven’t written a blog like this in quite some time. Mainly, because I thought I had pretty much tapped into all there could be. Silly me. It started off innocently enough. A late run to the Sunday farmers market to net some goodies for the week had me lingering in front of a stand judging the merits of eggplant. The seller thought I was balking at the price, but I was really trying to figure out how much I needed for my recipe. I ended up buying the rest he had, and since he was relieved of having to haul eggplants back home, he tossed in a half a dozen of these fragrant fruits for free.
“What is this?” I held one up to Rafa as I was unpacking my bounty. They were over ripe, orange sized yellowish fruit with a wonderfully perfumed scent.
“Maracuyá, or passion fruit” He says helping me with my bags.
“Huh. What do I do with it?” It seems they needed to be dealt with quickly since anything left in the Costa Rican climate rapidly deteriorates and becomes a cloud of fruit flies, hell-bent on making your life miserable in the kitchen. I pondered over one, feeling its papery wrinkled rind and out of curiosity, I cracked it open, and in egg like fashion, a mass of juicy, pulpy seeds plopped to the floor. Was not expecting that one.
Maracuyá (Passiflora edulis) is in the family Passifloraceae and is a common fruit in Central and South America and used mainly in desserts and drinks. Like most of the fruit down here, it is packed with vitamins and antioxidants and is touted to do everything from relieving depression to increasing libido (like I need that). Lets face it, pretty much any fruit you get here is awesome for you in some way, shape, or form and I love eating them all!
I opened the rest of them into a blender thinking I would whip up a smoothie on a hot San Jose afternoon but decided against it. Staring back at me from the blender pretty much looked like a mass of sweet-smelling fish eggs.
I ditched the idea of the blender and went to my fine strainer and ended up squeezing the juice and pulp from the seeds. The juice was sweet but rather acrid. Not good to drink straight, but I can definitely see how well it would go with gin or rum. I ended up just mixing it with other fruits. Lame, I know…but tasty!
Now, I didn’t think that really warranted a blog (then again…what does) but a week or so later I come upon these.
Not Maracuyá, but close: Granadilla. Passiflora ligularis, is still in the Passiflora genus but is the sweeter, less acidic cousin. Again, this fruit is used mainly in jellies, drinks and desserts, but for me there is only one way to eat them; straight up. It’s easy to pop through the thick papery rind and the good stuff is held in this white fluffy padding (not as runny as maracuyás), then you just suck it down. It’s like doing fruit shooters. The seeds are edible and add a crunchy dimension but are not big enough to feel uncomfortable to swallow whole. They are really good if you leave them in the fridge for a bit to cool. Self contained in a thick rind, sweet and crunchy, they make the perfect fast food snack. Do yourself a favor, if you see these crazy fruits around suck a few down. But do it in front of your partner for the libido increasing effect.