Produce report: February 27
Divine, sweet-tangy, tropical passionfruit are in season now but will become even more plentiful (and a little cheaper) over the next couple of months. If you are not lucky enough to have your own vine, farmers’ markets are likely to have the best buys.
These Brazilian expats are at their sweetest when a little wrinkled. They might look past their best but there’s goodness within – passionfruit contain vitamins C, E and some Bs and are a good source of potassium. Store at room temperature until ripe and afterwards place them in the fridge for up to a fortnight to stop them ripening too much.
Passionfruit are not actually picked from the vine. Instead the fruit falls to the ground when ready for harvesting. Should you have a glut, you can always freeze the pulp in ice cube trays. Once frozen, pop the cubes into plastic bags to use later in icings and baking.
Or do what Peter Gordon recommends and make tasty syrup to spoon over ice cream or sweet muffins: Cook a cup of pulp (about 12 passionfruit) with half a cup of water and a cup of caster sugar. Bring to a simmer for 10 minutes, stirring often. “Taste for sourness - adding lime juice if needed, then pass through a fine sieve while still hot. It will be seedless but delicious, and will keep for a week in the fridge.”
Or serve it like Peter’s London restaurant, the Providores, in a Pash-a-lini. Put 2 tablespoons passionfruit syrup in a champagne flute and top with sparkling wine.
Try this gluten-free passionfruit and lemon loaf for afternoon tea or with a dollop of yoghurt for dessert.
For even more delectable recipes, see 5 passionfruit treats which includes this lovely banana passionfruit upside-down cake.
It’s thumbs up this week to Countdown supermarkets for their new ‘odd bunch’ policy. Good news for the consumer and the grower, the initiative will help cut down on waste too. It involves selling ‘ugly’ fruit and veges which would normally have been dumped into landfills. The produce may be misshapen or have spots from hail damage, for instance, and so is sold at discounted prices. Even better, everything is packaged in polyethylene, a plastic that can be recycled in selected Countdown stores.