Passion Fruit and Mint Cooler

by on January 17, 2011

Passion Fruit Cooler

This recipe is a testament to why gardeners should never give up to quickly on their favorite plants. A couple years ago, we determined we had to grow passionfruit. As anxious gardeners and lovers of fresh passion fruit, we didn’t just invest in one vine. After all, in addition to our own personal garden fruit greed and long list of passion fruit recipes we wanted to explore, we had an extensive list of friends who were equally devoted to fresh passion fruit.

So, to satisfy our needs, as well as needs of friends who live in ass-cold weather climates, we bought 4 vines. Three vines for us, and one for friends. We’re always thinking of sending fruit to out of state friends. One vine would be plenty. Generous, we are.

During the first year, the vines were nurtured with organic fertilizer, consistent water, plenty of sunshine and lots of sweet talk. When the first alien looking flowers appeared, we were like silly, happy kids who inherited an endless supply of quarters for the gum-ball machine. We geek-ed out in the privacy of our green garden escape.


We waited with anticipation for signs of fruit. Our cocktail shaker was ready and waiting. But, no fruit appeared. The flowers dropped. Again. And again. And again.  A ton of flowers, all dropped like a bad date.

We felt defeated. We felt like the nursery lied to us. There was no ” prolific fruiting” like the tags had promised. Liars. Liars.

What happened? Why did all the flowers drop? Neither of the 4 vines, which we planted in different parts of the garden could produce one passion fruit. So we researched, read, googled and looked up everything we could find. What turned up in some garden forums were  mentions about  passion fruit vines taking a few seasons to fruit.

When the second fruiting season rolled around, our fingers were crossed tightly, hoping that this was the year we’d be rolling in perfumed seeds and nectar. Passion fruit curd, passion fruit tart, passion fruit martinis, here we come.

Again, just like the previous season, every single passion fruit flower bloomed beautifully, then withered away without any sign of fruit. Fail.

Here we went again, researching, thinking that we bought the flowering variety instead of the fruiting variety. The nursery screwed up, lied on the tags and we wanted a refund.

At the end of our gardening patience and after two failed seasons to fruit, we thought about giving up and growing another variety that might be more adaptable to our climate. Or something.  We didn’t know what the hell was wrong.  It must be a bum variety.  Yeah, that’s it.

Luckily, this was an incredibly busy year for us and we didn’t get to pour as much attention to the garden as we had hoped we could. Trees were left a little un-trimmed, some vegetables got the chance to spread their own seeds, and the passion fruit vines were spared the big yank.

Passion Fruit Cooler

Then early one morning this last July, we walked past the passion fruit vines and there it was. The very first, one and only passion fruit dangling above our heads, green and camouflaged amongst the leaves. It was the cutest thing, ever. Score!

From that point on, almost every single flower set into fruit. We started counting. One, ten, twenty,  twenty two…..twenty five passion fruits!!

We’re now about 30 passion fruits richer and that’s the end of the story. The little guys took forever to ripen but we were in no hurry.  What is a few months to ripen compared to a couple years just to get the damn thing sweet vines to fruit.

The moral to all this? Don’t give up too easily. Sometimes the wait is certainly worth the reward.

happy drinking,

diane

Passionfruit Cooler Recipe

Yield: 2 servings

Total Time: 25 minutes

This is based off of fresh passionfruit juice from our garden.  Fruit will vary in sweetness/tartness so adjust amount and sugar amount to taste.  This is pretty tasty as a cocktail with the addition of rum and a bit more lime. If you are a pulp-free type, make a mint simple syrup (see note 2) instead of muddling the mint leaves.

Ingredients:

  • 5-6 whole Mint Leaves
  • 2 T Sugar
  • 1 oz (@ 1/2 a lime) fresh Lime Juice
  • 1 T fresh Passionfruit Juice *see note 1 for extracting
  • 6 oz Water

Directions:

  1. Muddle the mint leaves, sugar, and lime juice together.
  2. Add passionfruit juice and water to the muddled mix. (Add passionfruit seeds if you are so inclined)  Pour into glasses filled with ice.

*Note 1: Extracting Passionfruit Juice

Cut the passionfruit in half then scrap out the seeds and pulp into a small mesh strainer.  Over a small bowl to catch the juice, scrap the seeds and pulp using the back of a spoon in order to separate the pulp and juice from the seeds.  Reserve the seeds if you enjoy them in your drinks or other recipes.

*Note 2: Mint Simple Syrup.

(keeps quite well, so make more than needed and use for iced tea, making lemonade, cocktails, etc...)
Combine 2 c water, 1 1/2 c (285g) sugar, 1/2 c (170g) light corn syrup, and a large handful of mint leaves in a med. saucepan.  Heat just until a light simmer, stirring to dissolve sugar.  Remove from heat and allow mint to steep for 15-20 min. Strain and store in refrigerator until ready to use.

Recipe Source: WhiteOnRiceCouple.com.

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{ 37 comments… read them below or add one }

1 Jen Yu January 18, 2011 at 12:40 am

Your passion fruits are the prettiest ones ever! Jeremy and I are grateful that you didn’t give up. I swear your garden is the nexus of all that is good and green in the world. Hurray and thank you :) You guys are THE BEST. xoxo

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2 Jessica @ How Sweet January 18, 2011 at 3:37 am

This looks so incredibly refreshing!

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3 TheKitchenWitch January 18, 2011 at 4:28 am

Dang, those are gorgeous looking fruits! And as for the drink, you can’t even imagine how much I want one–my month of teetotaling is darn near killing me. Stunning!

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4 alison @ Ingredients, Inc. January 18, 2011 at 7:14 am

Absolutely stunning and my mouth is watering

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5 Carolyn Binder January 18, 2011 at 7:15 am

Hurray! I love to hear about gardening successes. Patience is a virtue that I try to practice in my garden, too. I am hoping for my first big harvest of figs this year. And lemons. Please, please, please!

Enjoy your passionfruit cocktails. So good!

Carolyn

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6 bunkycooks January 18, 2011 at 7:18 am

Wow! Another plant full of fruit! Congrats on your success. :) I wish we lived in Southern California where we could grow fruit, too. These drinks look like Springtime! :)

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7 deeba January 18, 2011 at 7:31 am

I love this post. Even though we don’t get passion fruit here, I love the ‘don’t give up’ bit! I am eagerly waiting for the tangerines on my little shrub to completely ripen. Then it’s giddy happiness while I make bitter orange marmalade! Small joys, but oh-so-worth every moment. Your passion fruit cooler is A M A Z I N G, and so are your pictures!

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8 sally January 18, 2011 at 7:34 am

So glad you didn’t pull those vines out! These drinks look fantastic!

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9 Lucy Lean January 18, 2011 at 7:43 am

Looks delish – congrats on crop – time to add that rum and party?!

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10 Susan @ SGCC January 18, 2011 at 7:49 am

So glad you didn’t give up. Those passion fruits look gorgeous! I’m going through the same thing with my Fuju persimmon tree and my lychee tree. They’ve both been in the ground for over 2 years and nada. You’ve given me some hope that eventually I will get something from them.

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11 Chef Louise January 18, 2011 at 8:22 am

i love it when the stems of the fruit curl up like that and pose for the camera…

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12 susan January 18, 2011 at 8:34 am

your fruit looks so luscious. i am a horrible gardner and always give up. i need to master the art of gardening and you two are inspiring me to do so!

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13 Sukaina January 18, 2011 at 10:06 am

Oh wow…how refreshing does that look! I love the pictures especially the second one! My mum makes a standard passion fruit juice but adding mint just takes it to another level!

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14 jackhonky January 18, 2011 at 1:53 pm

Oh how lovely! Those look fantastic! One of these days, I’m going to visit you guys down there and see your magnificent garden in person! I love that the vines had fruit on year three! Sounds like it was worth the wait!

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15 dario @ foodpixels January 18, 2011 at 2:18 pm

Bellissimo ! I struggle to find the words – great looking passion fruit, great colour palette !

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16 anh January 18, 2011 at 3:50 pm

amazing! I adore passionfruits. We are so spoiled in Australia to have them fresh, and at very adorable price during summer time.

Also I would love to grow more stuff in my small garden. Never had luck! But like you put Diane, never give up ;). At least now I have a really good supply of Laksa leaves for my salad. I need to start somewhere.

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17 Shaina January 18, 2011 at 10:32 pm

I most definitely live in one of those “ass-cold weather climates.” (Perfect description, by the way.) Tonight it is a mere -3 degrees out there.

I’m so glad you didn’t yank the vines. Those gorgeous little fruits look absolutely delightful. I can’t wait to see the other recipes you explore.

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18 Quyen January 18, 2011 at 10:33 pm

Wow – those passion fruit & mint coolers look so refreshing!! As always your photography is beautiful! Thank you for sharing!

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19 Sues January 19, 2011 at 5:29 am

Wow, I’m super jealous! I would die to have passion fruit vines within easy access to me :) Your photos are absolutely stunning and this drink looks so refreshing and delicious. Perfect!

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20 Katie | GoodLife Eats January 19, 2011 at 9:52 am

This looks so tasty!! I love passion fruit, but like a lot of things we don’t get that out here. I saw star fruit for the first time this year and it was $4 for one fruit.

We are feeling this way with our grapes. They are supposed to grow really well here, yet two years…still no grapes and mostly likely only one more summer in this house.

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21 Grace January 19, 2011 at 11:02 am

Interesting Passion Fruit and Mint Cooler, I would definitely try that out this weekend. I was making another drink last week and I thought I should share it, its called the Chlorophyll Thirst-Quencher, a special and tasty taste, recipe could be found on http://www.fourgreensteps.com/community/recipes/beverages/chlorophyll-thirst-quencher

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22 Bertha January 19, 2011 at 2:32 pm

I can’t even begin to tell you how excited and how much envy I have after reading this :). I absolutely ADORE passion fruit and been dying to get the plant. I think I fainted a little when my friend gave me fresh passion fruit at work and I’ve been on a mission to plant the tree. Where did you get your vine? I live in San Jose, CA and I really hope they can grow up here.

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23 White on Rice Couple January 21, 2011 at 11:43 am

Bertha- most good nurseries will have the vine. You should check your local nursery and see if they have it. Then ask them how best to grow it in your area.

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24 Mei Teng January 19, 2011 at 10:02 pm

I love passionfruit. I usually eat it on its own. Serving it in drinks is a great way to enjoy passionfruit.

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25 Dana Zia January 20, 2011 at 3:38 pm

Oh dear, this one strikes close to my heart! Thank you so much for sharing. I am so envious that you can grow passion fruit in your back yard! I am simply crazy about it. We are off to Hawaii in a few weeks and passionfruit is top of my list of thing to find and roll around in at the farmer’s market. We’ll be making this!

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26 Nam @ The Culinary Chronicles February 3, 2011 at 9:03 pm

Goodness—your story just tugged at my heartstrings. And isn’t it just so ironic that it took people so passionate about passion fruit to grow the beauties??

Congrats, congrats! Lilikoi is just so delicious that I cannot wait to see what other goodies come out of your kitchen!

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27 Vibin' Vixen February 4, 2011 at 7:47 am

Looks delish!!! Can’t wait to make that this summer. So refreshing.

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28 Michael July 27, 2011 at 12:54 pm

I lived in Queensland from 74 to 82 and missed passionfruit for years after moving back to CA. But I got one passionfruit from a generous man at the OC Fair about 6 yrs ago that was working in an exotic fruit exhibit. From that one fruit we now have two vines that provided a lot of fruit for a couple of years and used some of those seeds to produce three more vines that this year have literally hundreds of passionfruit. We share with family and friends and have made ice cream, etc. Anxious to try your recipe. Good story! They are worth the effort!

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29 Joanne September 10, 2011 at 11:59 am

Now, 5 years later, we have HUNDREDS of fruit (early September in Southern California). The vine travels about 40 ft in each direction and makes a 8′ tall screen. It fruits for about 4-5 months from late June through November. We pick the dropped ones off our lawn every morning and afternoon and are always searching for more ways to use them (and more friends to give a bag full to). Of course we love the flowers too!

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30 Veronica for Muy Bueno Cookbook March 2, 2012 at 2:36 am

I have never had a passion fruit…I’ve eyed them from a distance and everytime I want to try them I can’t get passed the gooey interior…I will have to try one now…seeing this recipe makes me want to give passion fruit a try…loved your story…don’t give up…all too true for soooo many things…thanks Diane

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31 Raj April 18, 2012 at 3:14 am

Can we get the above (passion) fruit in India..?

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32 Sheryl B April 19, 2012 at 1:43 pm

You know what, it only took one post for me to become a fan of you guys. First, I think the name of your blog is ABSOLUTELY hilarious. Second, I think I’ve found a kindred spirit in people who will grow a passion fruit vine so that they can enhance their cocktails. (ok, and other stuff too). I would TOTALLY do that. Keep up the good work- you have a new follower!

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33 Avi June 20, 2012 at 10:39 pm

Sometime in the next year or two, you’ll have more fruit than you know what to do with. 5 years ago, I planted one vine, and estimate that we had about 300 fruits last summer. Now I’m searching for [not-too-decadent] recipes for things to do with the fruit – that’s how I found your site. Your recipe looks great!
(When it becomes relevant, and it will, I’m starting a dedicated Pinterest board, here – http://pinterest.com/haveda/passion-fruit-passiflora/)

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34 Barbara Dunn August 31, 2013 at 8:08 am

Was ready to give up on my passion fruit vine until I read your comments. This is the second growing season for mine so I’ll wait a while before yanking. I came to your site looking for ideas on using the flower, not the fruit, but didn’t find anything. I’d love to make jam (like geranium jam). Any recipes?

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35 SpicyHot September 29, 2013 at 12:41 pm

Hi, I stumbled on to your post when I was researching whether passion fruit is suitable to grow in Orange County/Southern California. Do they prefer full sun, partial sun or shade (like under another tree)? Did you grow your 4 vines in the same area, or in different locations to see what works best? Love your pictures by the way.

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36 White on Rice Couple September 29, 2013 at 4:51 pm

We aren’t experts on what is best, but for us we reduced our vines down to one vine, the roots are planted on the shade side of a shed and the vines have climbed over the top and thrive and grown towards the sun. We would probably avoid full shade.
Thanks for the compliment!

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37 Irena March 14, 2014 at 8:49 am

I loved the story and that you did not give up on the vines. I do grow passion fruit myself ( I have the yellow verity)and my vines produced on the first year but I did pollinate with a brush every single one of them.(you do increase the chances of having more fruit this way.)

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