A seedy passion for leather

A couple of folks on the rewild.info forum talked about trading some seeds, and I wanted to get in on the action in order to get some autumn-olive and yucca seeds.  I didn’t feel sure about what I could trade with until I realized that my maypop (Passiflora incarnata — aka passionfruit) transplants had done really well, and several more new plants had sprung up on the sidewalk whence I had stolen mine.

click to enlarge
Maypop fruit

As I went over to check out the possibilities of digging up some plants to trade with, I realized that the main plant had finally fruited.  The leathery, egg-shaped “pops” from the maypop (don’t let the “may” in maypop fool you, by the way; they fruit in mid-to-late summer at the earliest) had finally come out.  Normally, they take on a yellow to orangish hue when ripe, but these green ones had a tinge of yellow to them.  Thinking that seeds would travel by mail far better than living plants, I picked a few and tasted one as I carried them back to the house.  It had the sweet, heady fragrance that many of us know from various passionfruit-flavored drinks.

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Maypop flower

I don’t know how commercial juice companies work, but as I sucked at the flavorful packets of fruit-meat (think of the little cells of juiciness that comprise an orange) that envelop each little black seed, I realized that separating out the seeds would entail quite a bit of trouble.  It took a lot of work between my teeth, cheeks, and occasionally, my fingernails to suck each seed loose from the juicy packet it came in.  As I walked, I cast the free seeds into the tangle growing up around the creek on my way back to the house in order to help the little passion plants spread, and I tried to think of how to both enjoy the flavor and free the seeds without such a disgusting and labor-intensive process.

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Maypops with seeds and fruit leather

As I recall, Billy Joe Tatum’s recommendation for making a passionfruit punch involves boiling the fruit-meat, but that would sterilize the seeds.  Then I realized that I could probably dry the fruit into a leather and pull the seeds free from the dried fruit pulp.  That way I could enjoy the passion flavor and send saliva-free seeds to my friend in Ohio.  It worked really well.  The seeds came free from the leathery fruit pulp with very little work, and the resulting leather tasted great as well.


2 responses to this post.

  1. Posted by jhereg on 11/27/2007 at 2:12 pm

    that’s awesome!

    mmm, now you got me hankering for some maypop leather :-)


  2. The pulp leather is a great idea I’ve daydreamed tat many times for muscadines, persimmons,hawthorn, wild plum. It’s sounds most practical
    for maypop!


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