Lilikoi (a.k.a. passionfruit or Passiflora edulis in Latin, or maracuja in Spanish) is one of the most beloved fruits in Hawaii but a lot of people are reluctant to try it because it looks like nothing that they have seen before. So here comes 10 facts about lilikoi, so next time when you're on West Maui, you won't think twice to visit the Napili Farmers Market and pick up some of these mini flavor bombs!
1. While lilikoi's exact origin is unknown, there are several theories about where it came from. It might have been native native to southern Brazil through Paraguay to northern Argentina but according to others, it might have come originate from Australia.
2. The passionfruit is a pepo, a type of berry that has a hard outer rind without membranes within the fruit.
3. Lilikoi is a vigorous vine species of passion flower which often grows over 20 ft in a single year.
4. Several distinct varieties of passionfruit with different exterior appearances exist. The most common varieties are yellow (golden passionfruit) and purple (purple passionfruit). The yellow passionfruit is generally bigger, up to the size of a grapefruit, the purple passionfruit is smaller than a lemon and has a richer aroma and flavor.
5. Other names for passionfruit: maracuya (Spanish), grenadille (French), maracujá (Portuguese) and, of course, lilikoi (Hawaiian).
6. The flower of the passion fruit is the national flower of Paraguay.
7. Passionfruit is widely grown in several countries of South America, Central America, the Caribbean, Africa, Southern Asia, Vietnam, Israel, Australia, South Korea, Hawaii and mainland United States in Florida and California.
8. Raw passionfruit is 73% water and has significant amount of vitamin C: 100 grams fresh passionfruit contain 36% of the Daily Value of it.
9. Besides being eaten raw, lilikoi is used in desserts, drinks, sauces and glazes, ceviche, liqueurs, ice cream, yoghurt, mochi, shave ice, cookies, made into butter or jelly.
10. Last but not least, how to pick a good lilikoi? We know that it's weird but the browner and more wrinkled they are, the better they taste. Trust us! :)