Try some delicious Lilikoi fruit from Hawaii
Lilikoi fruit from Hawaii is one of those versatile tropical fruits that can be eaten raw or used in a variety of sweet to savory dishes, exotic tropical drinks to, tasty snacks and even some delicious entrees. Check out some of the history, healthy benefits and these cool lilikoi fruit and recipes for you to make below.
What is Lilikoi or Passionfruit?
Lilikoi or passionfruit is a yellow passion flower fruit known as Passiflora edulis forma flavicarpa grown in Hawaii. It is a vine that creates beautiful flowers and then some edible seed pods that can be eaten raw or used in a variety of drinks, desserts to even savory dishes.
The flowers of the passionflower are truly stunning on both the purple and yellow varieties found on the island with five white petals and striking purple and white leaves and they yellow stamens that totally pop. After the flower dies, the fruit pod starts to develop into its egg shape from 1 inch to 3 inches wide and a thick shell colored from purple to orange or yellow colored.
What does lilikoi taste like?
Inside the fruit pod are the juicy flesh with dark seeds and the fruit can range from tart to sweet tasting. The seed pods are ready when they reach a certain size and just fall off the vine and ready to harvest. Lilikoi produces fruit year-round but has a big flush during the summer season when one plant can bear hundreds of fruits.
How do you pronounce Lilikoi
Very simple and easy – Lili like a flower and koi like a fish or lilikoi
When is lilikoi season?
Typically lilikoi season is a long time frame in Hawaii and lasts from June until January on the islands. Carpenter and honey bees are the typical pollinators of the fruit and when the ripe fruit ripens, it typically falls to the ground and can be harvested and used right away.
How to eat Lilikoi (passionfruit)
Basically, to eat lilikoi fruit you cut through the center and scoop out the inside seeds and runny fruit, mostly juicy flesh. The seeds are also edible so you can eat with the juice and flesh. Can you eat the lilikoi seeds ? Most locals here eat the entire seeds and flesh from the cut rind. Or you can scoop it out and use this as a basic ingredient for a variety of sweet or savory dishes. If you don’t like the seeds you can always spit them out when you scoop out the fruit.
Look for thick skin and the fruit fills heavy meaning it has a lot of fruit. Avoid fruit with wrinkled skin showing decline in the fruit and starting to get over ripe and maybe sour fruit. It is easy to just cut the fruit in half and scoop out the flesh inside to eat or use as an ingredient.
Storing Lilikoi Fruit
Lilikoi can last from 2 to 3 weeks in the kitchen. If it is too hot, then you can place directly into a fridge for storage. The Lilikoi pulp can also freeze very well.
History of Lilikoi in Hawaii
Originating from Latin America and named by the early Christian Missionaries calling it the flower of the five wounds for the crucifixion and passion of Christ and the corona symbolizing the crown of thorns. The passion flower is now grown in all tropical locations with many common names like lilikoi in Hawaii, Chinola in Puerto Rico and Marcuya in Ecuador and Brazil, Granadilla in Mexico. The missionaries collected the seeds and grew them in many tropical environments where the plant did well in these environments.
Lilikoi was introduced to Hawaii in from Australia in 1923 which is native to Australia. When Lilikoi was introduced to Hawaii in 1880, they were brought to a district in East Maui called Lilikoi and the name stuck for the fruit.
The passionflower fruit is popular being grown in many home gardens and also has naturalized in many wild areas of the islands. Fruits in season can be found at many local farmers markets, road side stands or little mom and pop markets or you can pick them wild if you see them.
Health benefits to eating Lilikoi
Not surprising, Lilikoi is a great fruit to have with so many health benefits. The lilikoi fruit is packed with vitamins and nutrients to include:
Vitamin C – Lilikoi is filled with Vitamin C and is a powerful antioxidant that prevents colds, lowers cells from damage and other cancer causing elements along with helping to make blood vessels, collagen, muscles and cartilage and keeping skin young.
Vitamin A – the pulp and seeds contain VItamin A which keep eyes and cells healthy, aids in reproduction and immunity.
Dietary Fiber – Lilikoi fruit is filled with fiber which is important with lowering cholesterol, heart disease, certain cancers, diabetes and a healthy bowel
Essential fatty acids like linoleic and oleic acids that protect the skin
Riboflavin and niacin and a variety of vital elements for healthy skin growth and complexion.
Nutrients – lilikoi fruit is loaded with nutrients that includes phosphorus, calcium, magnesium, folate and potassium.
What to make with Lilikoi fruit
This versatile fruit can be made into so many different things like juice, cocktails, syrups and jams, sweets and even savory dishes. The fruit is typically separated from the seeds or used with the seeds for a variety of dishes. For lilikoi juice, you strain and separate the seeds from the pulp. This might be a little strong and sour tasting so if you want frersh lilikoi juice, adding some water, seltzer or other juice to make it not so concentrated and sour in my opinion is necessary. But used for a basic ingredient for a variety of dishes, you can use the juice straight up from straining the pulp out and you can check out some of these lilikoi recipes below.
Delicious and easy to make Lilikoi butter
So good lilikoi creme brulee
Popular and easy to make lilikoi bars
Refreshing Lilikoi juice
Delicious Passion Fruit Ice Cream
Savory lilikoi butter and fish recipes
Check out these other Hawaii food topics
Looking for more food inspiration about Hawaii, check out these other topics below for you to discover and enjoy.
Have you visited Hawaii and tried some Lilikoi fruit?
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