The Walden Effect: Farming, simple living, permaculture, and invention.

Are maypops tasty?

Passionflower fruit

MaypopOne of Mom's friends gave her this unripe passionflower fruit, which she then passed along to me.  Since the maypop is edible and the vine is often included in permaculture texts, I might see if the fruit had gotten far enough along on the vine to produce viable seeds.

I'm always up for growing an experimental species, even though I have a feeling that, if maypops tasted all that good, I would have eaten one before since they're native to our region and since I grew up amid foragers.
  In the meantime, I'd be curious to hear from those of you who have grown passionflowers in your garden.  I know the blossoms are beautiful, but is the fruit worth eating?

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About us: Anna Hess and Mark Hamilton spent over a decade living self-sufficiently in the mountains of Virginia before moving north to start over from scratch in the foothills of Ohio. They've experimented with permaculture, no-till gardening, trailersteading, home-based microbusinesses and much more, writing about their adventures in both blogs and books.

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I couldn't get past the smell. We did plant some seeds this spring and the vines are popping up 15 feet from where we planted them. If the pods yellow this year we will try them but we have not had any make it that far.
Comment by Brian Mon Sep 15 08:03:32 2014
We have a ton here (eastern nc). They grow wild all over our ditch banks and climb up our pasture fences. The flowers are beautiful but we've never tried the fruit. Ive heard there are several varieties and some aren't edible. I haven't researched enough to know what the differences are so I'm curious to hear what you find out.
Comment by Krisann Mon Sep 15 08:31:09 2014
We grow the black passionfruit here in CA, and I LOVE it! Super fragrant and delicious. It is the most low maintenance edible that we grow. It's a vigorous vine, so we just have to hack it back a little where we don't want it and that is it.
Comment by Pamina Mon Sep 15 09:13:48 2014

Just got this fascinating comment via email: "We used to cook the seeds with just a little water and then strain out the seeds to make passionfruit syrup to put in our iced tea (or it would be awesome in just about anything) when we lived in West Africa. I live in Montana now, so we don't grow them here. :)  The vines attract snakes unless well trellised (at least in Africa they did, but based on your snake adventures, I bet they would there, too), but the vines are wonderful shade-makers and flowers beautiful."

From this, and a comment on facebook, I'm suspecting that drinks are the primary purpose of passionflower fruits.

Comment by anna Mon Sep 15 09:23:24 2014
FYI: Maypops spread like crazy. Super duper crazy
Comment by eric Mon Sep 15 11:59:50 2014
I've never grown passion fruit in the States since I live in Oregon and it's not hot enough here to get the vines to fruit. I do remember in Africa I would just pop open the black fruits and eat the tart, fragrant seeds. So yummy and flavorful!! Tons of vitamin C! They're much like eating a pomegranate in that there isn't much "fruit" to them, just mainly seeds encased in yummy bits. Delicious added straight to fruit salads or yogurt. Many people would squish and strain the pulp away from the seeds and make fruit leather or a drink concentrate to make into juice with sugar and water added, much like lemonade. Very true about snakes in my experience (green mambas were notorious since they blended with the vines), but not sure that would be a huge problem in your neck of the woods, especially with a fog and cats about. I'd say give it a try for sure!! At the very least, it's attractive shade foliage.
Comment by AmberC Mon Sep 15 13:42:16 2014

I tried maypops for many years, and they only managed to set fruit twice. The fruit was pretty bland. Not bad, but really not much there.

But actual passionfruits- I love 'em! I grow them in an earthbox and take them inside for winter, drastically pruning them. They semi-hibernate and then grow like mad in the spring. They will turn purple and drop from the vine when almost ripe, then just let them finish up on the kitchen counter. When the fruit gets just a little bit wrinkled, they should be ripe. Cut them in half, stir up the insides with a spoon and enjoy over shaved ice. Also goes well with yogurt, or use the half fruit as a cup- add some soda water or if you prefer, vodka.

Comment by Eric in Japan Tue Sep 16 01:05:04 2014

Love maypops. infatuated with them. will it be a short term romance? I doubt it. Though i will say it is mainly lust at this time... Here is what I wrote:

Comment by Anonymous Tue Sep 16 09:50:12 2014

We have these growing on our farm. The flowers spread out across the field and are absolutely gorgeous. I follow your post and look forward to trying lots of your ideas when we build our house on the farm. I plan to grow these on trellises to shade in the summer because it dies back in the winter. The best way to get the seeds is after the fruit falls off the vine. Email me your address and I'll be glad to send you some later this fall. Jackie

Comment by Glenland Tue Sep 16 09:50:28 2014

Passionfruit is a cultural staple here in Australia! We traditionally grow them over the chookhouse, the dunny, the fence, or the shed roof. Pretty much any vertical structure will do :-).

You can't make a good pavlova without passionfruit! It's also used in "tropical" fruit juices and as a flavour in some softdrinks (in particular my childhood favourite, Passiona).

It sounds like maypops are a slightly different variety, but I've no idea how different the fruit is.

Comment by Darren (Green Change) Wed Sep 17 03:00:02 2014
In Tanzania they put it in a juice mixture with mangoes and avocado. It gives a slight tangy taste and a delightful distinctive smell.
Comment by Anonymous Sat Sep 20 23:25:35 2014
I have been amazed at the number of people I see who eat maypop completely under ripe. In North Carolina the variety that grows wild has a green fruit, but when opened up under ripe the flesh and seeds are white and don't taste very well at all. You should wait till the fruit is REALLY wrinkly and then the flesh and seed are more orangy and tastes deliciously sweet. This is how we always ate them in Asustralia too, let them go wrinkly! That may not work for commercial sale as most people would think that the fruit has gone bad, but MUCH better in taste that way!!
Comment by Harold K Fri Sep 11 09:44:59 2015
The passion flower fruit is delicious. You just have to be patient and let if fall from the vine. If you pick it it will never ripen. The inside will be white & a little dry if it is not ready. When it is ready the pulp is yellowish & it is very tasty. The seeds are edible. All you do is pop it open and plop it into your mouth & enjoy. The flowers and the leaves are also edible. You can make a tea from the leaves. When they are dry you do not need as much as when they are freshpicked. It helps calm the nerves and helps you sleep. Google recipes for Maypops.
Comment by Linda Johnson Ahlgrim Sun Nov 22 19:55:20 2020

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