Alternative Uses of Fruit Crops

Sometimes I think we put certain fruits into a narrow box and they can only exist in that form.  Grapes can be wine, juice, or fresh eating.  Oranges can be juice or fresh.  Apples? Fresh or juice.  Those ideas lack creativity. How else can fruit be used that is out of the ordinary?  I have some friends in the craft cocktail and brewery industries.  Those folks know that interesting and compelling flavors can drive sales.  That got me to thinking about the passion fruit that I was harvesting.  What can I do with it?  I could eat it fresh, but there are so many arils each filled with a seed.  I could dry them and then suck on them like candy.  I could juice them and drink the juice or make wine from it; however, the chemistry just isn’t there to make a good product.  So what to do?  My decision was to make a passion fruit syrup.  It was easy and turned out pretty darn good (although when using it in a drink a little goes a long way in terms of flavor).

Passion fruit syrup

Passion fruit syrup (the peppers are for looks only in this photo, I did not use them in the recipe).

Passiflora incarnata is a native fruit (some say weed) that has some tropical fruit notes, which makes it desirable.  However, in order for me to get the pulp out, I had to remove the outer rind by hand. There is commercial-grade equipment out there that would make it easier (I think), but for now it was easier to do by hand.  It is time consuming, but the outcome made it worthwhile. To make the syrup I started with about 24 ounces of juice.  I reduced it by about half, then added 1.75 cups of sugar.  It depends on how sweet you like it.  The juice was acidic and not too sweet so I needed to kick the sweetness level up a little.  I stirred the sugar and the juice together and voila! A passion fruit syrup.

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