My second big discovery was eating cherimoya, but that's irrelevant to this post.
My third big culinary breakthrough in fruit happened today, when I had my first taste of our own native passionfruit, passiflora incarnata, otherwise known as maypop. Why isn't this a more popular fruit? Its every bit as tasty as the common purple passionfruit, and its cold hardy through zone 6! Sounds like a winner to me!
I know that it is a little invasive, but its a native here anyways. I've seen complaints that its seedy, but so are tropical passionfruits! I simply can't understand why more people don't try this delicious fruit here in the south, and I'm curious to know if they'll ever develop it for a commercial market. I do suppose that the soft and velvety rinds are too delicate for the stresses of shipping but think local, people!
I was simply taking a walk to McDonalds since the exercise involved would at least burn off some of the chicken nuggets, (It didn't) and I checked my favorite maypop vine right off the sidewalk on an abandoned lot, finding a heavy egg shaped fruit just waiting to drop. Last year the fruit I found was empty, meaning it wasn't cross pollinated, but this year I was finally able to try it out.
Its a combination of banana and pear to me, with the aromatic qualities of guava. When you open the fruit, the many arils inside are all self contained packets of juice, each containing one seed. Some eat the seeds, but I prefer to suck on each packet as if it were a candy, spitting out the seed afterward and saving them to plant. It starts out sweet, becoming more sour towards the end as the juice is depleted.
Here's a photo of passiflora "incense", which is a sterile hybrid of maypop and passiflora cincinnati. Click on the link for Jungle Garden's great profile of the plant! Since the hybrid is sterile and doesn't produce fruit, maybe I'll just try passiflora cincinnati since the fruit of that species is supposed to be good too. Have any of you had any experiences with passionfruit? Floridagirl,... anyone?