Friday, August 30, 2013

Lilikoi - A Successful Hunt and the Reward

These past few weeks I've been doing some foraging on my way home from town. Primary target....lilokoi, aka- passion fruit. I haven't bother to cultivate this fruit on my homestead because of the abundance in the general area. There are a number of lilokoi patches around. But I have noticed that some of the patches are considerably smaller. Die out from the drought? Not sure. The plants look healthy enough, but in some areas the old established vines are dead and dry.

This year there is a bit more competition for the fruits. I guess more people are discovering that foraging is socially acceptable. Or possibly it's because of all those lilokoi recipes handed out last year. Regardless, there seems to be more people stalking the wild lilokoi.

Washed and dry, ready to be processed into juice.

Already this year I've collected several 5 gallon buckets of fruits. That sounds like a lot, but lilokoi doesn't yield a lot of juice. Thus I'm still in the market for more. It's really easy to gather this fruit. When ripe, the fruit drops to the ground. Good thing, because the vines climb to the tops of trees. But just picking it up is a cinch.

Once home with my booty, I will wash the fruit in soapy bleach water, allowing it to soak for 10-15 minutes. Reason? The fruit was sitting on the ground. Slugs can carry nasty parasites and rats transmit leptospirosis around here. Besides washing the fruits as a safety precaution, I also wear gloves when I pick up these fruits.

Fruits cut in half and ready to have the pulp scooped out with a spoon. 

Once washed and rinsed, I let the fruits dry before cutting them. No health issues here other than trying to keep all my fingers intact. Wet lilokoi can be slippery. The rinds are tough. Combine those two features along with a sharp serrated knife, and I'm sure to slice my finger! The index finger on my left hand always cringes when my right hand holds a sharp knife. 

The inside of these lilokoi is full of seeds in a gelatinous fruit, usually orange or yellowish. Not a lot of juice but enough to be worth harvesting. Besides, the taste is wonderful.  

Pulp ready to be worked through the sieve. 

I use a spoon to scoop out the flesh into a sieve placed in a pot. Once I get a good amount of pulp, I simply work it with a wooden spoon. The marvelous juice collects in the pot. This is a very low tech method, but it works. 

Beautiful juice ready to jar up and store in the freezer. 

The juice looks just as pretty as it tastes. Au natural, it is tart, making it a good substitute for lemon. Lilokoi chicken. Lilokoi ice tea. Lilokoi meringue pie. But I use it to flavor sugar cane juice and smoothies.


  1. I use the same low-tech method for juicing liliko'i as you do! I've tried the one where I was told to scoop the seeds and pulp into blender and add a bit of water and give it a whirl and the seeds would release the pulp...I did not care for the results and I did not like to dilute the juice with water...

  2. Lilikoi are tasty, but my favorite juice is guava. I used to stop anywhere the bushes hung over the roadside, and pick what was in reach, since the drops were usually too over-ripe or damaged. I washed them, and fooled with juicing through mesh, et cetera, but it tastes great with lots of the rind, country-style. Speaking of mesh, you might find a stainless steel mesh safety glove really useful, as they really do protect from the errant slices. They wash up pretty easily, too.

  3. Barry, thanks for the glove suggestion. I just ordered one on Amazon.