Passion fruit season seems to be a mystery for many folks, especially because it’s a tropical fruit that seems to be available all year round.
But when is passion fruit in season, so you know when you’ve got a shot at the best, juiciest fruits ?
This guide is going to tell you exactly that, and discuss some of the most common mistakes to avoid when buying passion fruit.
So when is passion fruit in season ?
Passion fruit is a tropical fruit, and a such it’s grown in tropical and temperate climates, and also exported at all times. This means it’s available in stores pretty much all year round.
However the true season is from mid-summer to mid-winter. This may sound like a very wide margin, but there’s a reason behind this.
There’s two main types of passion fruit.
The first is the purple variety, and the fruits take 60-80 days to mature and be ready for harvest. These are the ones that are available once summer starts.
Some will mature quicker, others slower and thus you get a really wide margin of availability.
Then there’s the yellow variety, which is most common in America and Hawaii. These fruits take longer to mature than the purple ones, and their season extends from late summer all the way into winter.
All that being said, the way trade routes are set up and where passion fruit is grown makes it a very widely available fruit, especially in the areas close to the growing regions.
How to tell if passion fruit is ripe
A passion fruit is not the easiest to figure out if you’re not familiar with what it looks like when ripe and underripe.
Here I’ll list some of the most common mistakes folks make when picking out which fruits to bring home, and how you can avoid those mistakes.
Mistake: Only picking nice looking fruits
When passion fruit is in the stores, it’s actually not ripe yet (most of the time). As it happens, underripe passion fruit has a very smooth and sometimes shiny outer skin.
They look the nicest, from this point of view. If we’re judging by the standards we usually use for common fruits like apples, pears, bananas, grapes and so on, we’d be looking for smooth fruits.
But passion fruit is actually ripe and sweet when it’s a little wrinkly and dimply. Yes, if it looks a little bit lumpy and wrinkly, it’s just right.
It’ll also be a little heavier than you might expect for a fruit of this size. This is because most of the fruit is actually juice and juicy pulp, and moisture always weighs more.
You totally can buy smooth fruit. But you’ll need to ripen it at home.
Purple and Yellow passion fruit
There’s a bit of a difference between purple and yellow passion fruit, but they do have a common thread: neither is alright when there’s still some green on them.
You might notice some are purple-yellow, or have some red patches like a mango.
Also, you might notice that when the fruit becomes ripe the color (red, purple, yellow) will develop more quickly in some areas, and those ares in turn will become a little more wrinkly when the fruit is ripe.
Mistake: Not sniff-testing the fruits
Another mistake that’s actually common when shopping from most fruit is not sniff-testing them. You don’t have to rub your nose on the fruit, but if you bring it close you should detect a vague scent corresponding to the fruit.
This is true for passion fruit (and many others) and usually the most heavily scented are going to become the most flavorful.
So always make sure to sniff the passion fruit a little before deciding it’s the one you want, but be mindful of others. Don’t touch it to your face or nose, as you wouldn’t like others to do.
Mistake: Not ripening the fruit for 3-5 days
After you’ve selected the fruit and brought it home, you’ll most probably have to ripe it. Not everyone does so, and instead they stick then in the fridge straight away.
Ripening passion fruit is necessary, since like bananas and avocados they come in a ‘green’ state and need to be left to their devices before eating.
How long a passion fruit takes to ripen depends on each fruit in particular. Usually they take a few days, though not more than 5. Sometimes it could be overnight, especially if stored next to bananas which are famous for ripening other fruit.
You’ll notice the fruit is ripe when:
- the color is mostly uniform
- there are small dimples and light wrinkles on the fruit
- if you squeeze it gently, it gives but does not completely squish (like avocado)
Each person likes their passion fruit a little different, so you might like yours when it’s less ripe than I’ve mentioned here. Make sure to test a batch at different ripeness levels and see which is best for you.
How to tell if passion fruit is off
Now you can also let them ripen too much, and that’s when you’ll notice the wrinkles become more pronounced and the dimples become deeper.
In this case the fruit will become squishy and it’s going to have a very soft texture.
In extreme cases the passion fruit will even become discolored in some areas, or develop black spots.
This is a sign of dehydration and the beginning of fermentation, and you’ll want to throw it out.
Storing passion fruit
When you’re keeping passion fruit for a longer time, you’ll want to know just how to store it.
After ripening, this fruit can be kept (unopened !) for up to 2 weeks in the fridge, though you might want to check on it after the first week.
Mistake: Not storing ripe fruits in the fridge
When storing fruits, many folks do as they would with the most common fruits – apples, bananas, grapes, oranges, pineapple, etc – store then on the counter.
Where most fruits are shelf-stable, ripe passion fruit is not. It’s right up there with avocado and pears, meaning that if it’s ripe you’ve got a small window in which to eat it (about 24 hours).
So when passion fruit is ripe, make sure to place it in the fridge. this will not only slow down the breakdown process, but also keep it cool. As as we all know, sweet flavors are best when cold.
Also note that you can store passion fruit in the freezer. You’ll need ripe, juicy passion fruit and a freezer-safe bag.
Place only the seeds/insides in the bag, and remove as much of the air as possible. Lay it flat and try to flatten it as much as you can, so it will freeze and defrost easier.
Know that after thawing the texture will be mushy, but it wasn’t very firm to begin with anyway.
You can keep it in the freezer for up to 12 months, and even more, though I recommend you use it in a short amount of time.
A great way to use passion fruit is to top off a Pavlova, some ice cream or possibly morning pancakes.
Passion fruit is a really delicious fruit, and it’s always great to have it on hand. Luckily it’s the kind of fruit that’s almost always at the store, and having it in season for half a year really produces flavorful fruit.
You can find it when it’s not in season too, but it’s still delicious.
If you’ve got any food curiosities be sure to check the related articles below, I’m always adding more food facts to make your life that much easier.