Ecuadorians love their fruit juice. In fact, where we might have a glass of wine with a meal, people here are much more likely to drink a glass of juice. It might be from a watermelon, the tree tomato, or just simple oranges. Each fruit demands a different form of preparation. Oranges are the easiest and we juice those using a hand press we bought in Argentina. Some other fruit we put through our Omega Juicer, which grinds the fruit and pushes pulp out one direction and gorgeous juice out the other. But then there are the fruits with seeds that just demand a different plan of attack. Our favorite is passion fruit, or maracuya.
These fruits are generally yellow in color though in accompanying photo, you’ll see one mottled red almost like an apple. They are round and feel almost hollow when picked up. And when you slice one open, they aren’t the most appetizing to see. In fact, my husband once described the gooey mess as frog spawn and he isn’t far wrong. But the goo surrounding each little seed has a delicious sweet tart flavor.
The easiest way to prepare passion fruit juice is to take four of these strange fruits and slice them in half. Scoop out the innards and place in a blender. Top off with enough cold water to fill the blender about halfway. Blend on high for a minute or two. You’ll notice that the previously green looking seeds are now black as the action of the machine spins the pulp off of each one. Take this mixture and pour it through a sieve. Feel free to add a little more water if you like. Then sweeten as needed with a little stevia. Locals add a spoonful or two of cane sugar to the blender. Either way, the little bit of sugar helps bring out the full flavor of the maracuya. You can drink without it, but be prepared for quite the pucker!
Ecuadorians also make this fruit juices with milk instead of water. Those drinks are called called batidos and many fruit juices are served this way. I’m tempted to give it a try and use the maracuya milk to make custard for ice cream. What do you think? Would it work?
If you have any other uses for fresh passion fruit, please let me know! This is a fruit that I had never encountered fresh before and I would love to make it a more permanent addition to my repertoire.