Recipe: Lilikoi Lovers Passionfruit Jelly

Posted on by MK Carroll

Looking for more recipes using liliko'i? Check out my recipes page for more, including liliko'i curd and liliko'i frosting!

It's been a good season for liliko'i, and I'm canning as much jelly as possible while the season is on! If you don't have vines of your own, you can buy locally grown liliko'i at Kokua Market in Honolulu, and I've seen some for sale in Chinatown as well. 

liliko'i = passionfruit =  Passiflora edulis  or  Passiflora flavicarpa    

liliko'i = passionfruit = Passiflora edulis or Passiflora flavicarpa

Basic prep:

Prepare ripe liliko'i: use a serrated knife to cut through the shells. The pulp is full of seeds; each seed is encased in a little sack of juice. Either freeze to rupture the sacs (then thaw in the fridge) or run through a blender on low (try to avoid busting up the seeds too much - they are edible, but can have sharp edges when broken). Strain through a sieve, or use a jelly bag if you want it to be clear and pretty.

Specific instructions for using Sure-Jell Low Sugar pectin or Pomona's Pectin below. I'm not a canning expert; you can find great basic information on canning at Food in Jars, and if you are concerned about safety, check out the USDA Complete Guide to Home Canning

Passiflora  blossom

Passiflora blossom

A note on pectin:

Like so many other things, whether or not to use commercial pectin in making jams and jellies seems to have become a subject of debate and judgement. Personally, I think it's a useful tool that you can choose to use or not as you like. In this case, I find using commercial pectin to be very useful, as it means a short cooking time. The bright, zingy tartness of liliko'i gets duller the longer it is cooked, and by using commercial pectin, most of the flavor can be retained while also making a jelly that can be canned and shipped. Most of the jelly I make is intended for people who are far away and cannot easily find good quality passionfruit, so I'm happy to use commercial pectins for this purpose. My personal preference is to use less sugar, so the flavor of the liliko'i really dominates. I've been able to find Sure-Jell Low-Sugar locally (but so far, only at the Safeway in Kaneohe), and Pomonas Pectin can be purchased locally at Kokua Market, Whole Foods, or online. Pomonas is labeled vegan and gluten-free.

Passionfruit is high in citric acid and low in pectin; I've tried combining it with pectin-rich fruit (like Surinam cherries) but the best I've been able to manage without using commercial pectin has been a dull-flavored syrup. This is also why I use only fresh, homemade juice - bottled, canned, and frozen juice just doesn't have the same zing.

Hey, de gustibus non est disputandum. Do as you please - it's just jelly!

Passiflora  fruit

Passiflora fruit

Sure-Jell Low Sugar (the pink box) version: 

4 ½ cups fresh liliko'i juice
2 ½ cups sugar
1 packet Sure-Jell low sugar pectin (pink box)

    1. Mix 1/4 cup sugar with packet of pectin 
    2. Bring juice and sugar-pectin mixture to rolling boil
    3. Stir in remaining sugar 
    4. Return to rolling boil, and boil for 1 minute, stirring constantly

    Remove from heat. Skim off any foam (this is edible, just not pretty). Pour into clean jars, to within 1/8” of the rim. Wipe rims clean and screw on lids. If water-bath canning, process for 5 minutes. Yield: 6 cups.

    Pomonas Universal Pectin version:

    4 cups fresh liliko'i juice
    1 1/2 cups sugar
    4 tsp pectin
    4 tsp calcium water

    Pour fruit juice into pan. Add calcium water and stir.  

    Measure sugar and pectin into a separate bowl, and mix well.  

    Bring juice to a full boil. Add the sugar/pectin mixture, and stir constantly and vigorously for 1 - 2 minutes to dissolve the pectin (I find a wire whisk to be handy for this step). When mixture returns to full boil, remove from heat. Skim off foam (this is edible, just not pretty - I usually put this in a half-pint jar for immediate use). 

    Fill jars to within 1/4" of rim. Wipe rims clean and screw on lids.  

    Water bath canning: process for 10 minutes. 

    Yield: 5 or 6 half-pint jars, depending on how much skimming needs to be done. 

    Got a minute to help me out? I'm doing some research on recipes for homesick Hawaii locals, and you can give me a hand by answering a few short questions!