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.
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.
More Cocktail Recipes
Yield: 2 servings
Total Time: 20 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 and sugar.
*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 cups (480ml) water, 2 cups (400g) sugar, and a large handful of mint leaves in a medium 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.