Passion Fruit Jelly: How to Turn Lilikoi into a Tropical Breakfast Spread

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Passion fruit jelly is a staple on Hawaii breakfast tables, but it’s easy to make your own! Use fresh juice or juice from the freezer to make this tangy sweet lilikoi jelly. It will bring a tropical flavor to your morning toast, or use it in recipes like shortbread cookie bars in place of lemon.

cut open lilikoi, purple and yellow varieties

What is lilikoi?

Otherwise known as passion fruit, liliko‘i fruit is Mother Nature’s answer to a SweeTart. The first sour bite of a liliko‘i will jangle all the way back to your jawbone. Stick with it, though, and you’ll catch the tropical sweet undertones if this much-loved fruit. Filled with small black seeds wrapped in a juicy orange membrane, lilikoi grows on a vine that can get rambunctious in this mild climate.

While I’m told there have been attempts to eradicate the vine as a pest, I consider myself lucky to have liliko‘i fruit growing in my backyard.

There are a number of different varieties of lilikoi here; some have yellow skin, some have purple skin, and one — often called Jamaican lilikoi or peach lilikoi — has light orange skin that’s a bit velvety. It tends to be sweeter than the others.

Passion fruit jelly or passion fruit jam?

If you’re not sure which one you’re after, go over here to read about the difference between jam and jelly.

Some people make liliko‘i jam, retaining the seeds — or at least some of them — in the final product. Passion fruit seeds are really hard. And they’re not small. They’re about 1/8′ across. I don’t care for them in my passion fruit spread, but if you like crunchy jam, you may like it this way. Passion fruit jam is certainly easier to make than passion fruit jelly, as you can skip the juicing step. (Which is really the most time consuming step.)

Before you can make lilikoi jelly (no seeds), you’ll need to juice the fruit. I’ve found that using a blender to break up the membranes and a chinois to remove the seeds is the best way to do this.  Go here for more on juicing lilikoi

lilikoi fruit processing to juice

Related: Tangerine Marmalade Recipe with Ginger and Vanilla

How to use lilikoi

One can only eat so much lilikoi fruit fresh out of hand, so I find myself juicing much of my bounty to turn into this lilikoi jelly and lilikoi bread. I like to preserve this passion fruit jelly in teeny tiny jars so that I can take them with me as gifts when I visit family and friends on the mainland.

This is a lower-sugar option than many of the lilikoi jelly recipes on the ‘net. I use Pomona pectin, since it allows me to use less sugar than other pectin brands. You can use rapadura whole cane sugar for this recipe, too, but the resulting jelly will be much darker.

Related: Easy Canning Recipes for the Novice Home Canner

Passion fruit jelly in a glass jar, which cut open lilikoi fruit

★ Did you make this lilikoi jelly? Don’t forget to give it a star rating below!

Passion Fruit Jelly

Passion Fruit Jelly

Yield: 40 servings
Prep Time: 10 minutes
Cook Time: 20 minutes
Total Time: 30 minutes

Otherwise known as passion fruit, liliko‘i is Mother Nature’s answer to a SweeTart. The first sour bite of a liliko‘i will jangle all the way back to your jawbone.

Ingredients

  • 8 cups liliko‘i juice, (how to juice liliko‘i)
  • 5 cups granulated organic cane sugar
  • 8 tsp. Pomona's pectin, (1 large packet)
  • 8 tsp. prepared calcium water, (from Pomona; see below)

Instructions

  1. Prepare calcium water. Put 1/2 teaspoon calcium powder (the small packet) and 1/2 cup water in a small jar with a lid. Shake well before using.
  2. Fill your water bath canner to a level that will cover your jars. This varies depending upon jar size. Bring to a boil. Proceed with next steps while the water is heating.
  3. Wash and rinse jars. Bring lids and rings to a boil; turn off heat and let stand in hot water.
  4. Measure 8 cups of lilikoi juice and 8 teaspoons of prepared calcium water into a large stock pot.
  5. Measure 5 cups sugar into a separate bowl. Thoroughly (and I mean thoroughly) mix in the 8 teaspoons of pectin.
  6. Bring juice to a boil, stirring frequently. Add sugar mixture and stir vigorously to dissolve the pectin. Return to a boil and then turn off heat.
  7. If you're concerned about your jelly looking pretty, skim off the foam. It's totally edible, but if you're giving jars as gifts or entering in your county fair, it's just not as pretty.
  8. Fill jars to within 1/4" of top. Wipe rims clean with a damp cloth. Screw on 2-piece lids/rings and place in boiling water bath. Bring water back to a boil (it doesn't need to be a hard boil) and set the timer for 10 minutes. Remove jars to a towel-covered counter top to cool.
  9. Check seals. Lids should be solid and pulled down tight. (if they flex and pop, the jar didn't seal; put unsealed jars in the refrigerator and use those first).
  10. Remove rings and wash outsides of jars. (You don't need to store the jars with rings.)

Notes

Makes 4-5 pints

*You can use rapadura if you prefer, but the resulting jelly will be darker.

To make passion fruit jam with seeds, use 8 cups of passion fruit pulp. For a less seedy jam, combine four cups of passion fruit pulp with 4 cups of passion fruit juice. 

Nutrition Information:
Yield: 40 Serving Size: 1 grams
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 125Unsaturated Fat: 0gSodium: 5mgCarbohydrates: 32gSugar: 31g

Did you make this recipe?

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Originally published in August, 2011; this post has been updated.

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Meet the Author

Kris Bordessa

Kris Bordessa founded Attainable Sustainable as a resource for revitalizing vintage skills. Her book, Attainable Sustainable: The Lost Art of Self-Reliant Living (National Geographic) offers a collection of projects and recipes to help readers who are working their way to a more fulfilling DIY lifestyle.

23 comments… add one
  • Sonia Aug 8, 2011, 7:21 am

    I love liliko’i and am also lucky to have a couple of vines that grow wild on our property! I’ve never attempted to make the plain liliko’i jelly, but I do make liliko’i syrup quite often and from that, I can also make liliko’i vinaigrette, and passion fruit hot pepper jelly, which we love!…I also have made a liliko’i flavored rice pudding (TDF) and a fantastic chocolate cake with liliko’i and cream cheese icing….

    https://www.gather.com/viewArticle.action?articleId=281474977417898

    https://www.gather.com/viewArticle.action?articleId=281474977432020

    • Kris Bordessa Aug 8, 2011, 8:00 pm

      I find I don’t use the liliko‘i/hot pepper jelly as much as the regular jelly! Thanks for sharing these links.

  • April Aug 8, 2011, 9:19 am

    Oh, I love passion fruit. I haven’t had it since I lived in Brazil. They make a wonderful passion fruit mousse there that is just the perfect sweet tart combo (in Portuguese it’s called creme de maracuja). And the juice, so delicious! Although, it always made me so sleepy. I had to be careful not to drink it at lunch (which is the main meal of the day there). If you are interested, I might be able to dig up that mousse recipe, or translate one from the net. I can taste that mousse right now. Those were two of my favorite things there. I miss all those tropical fruits.

    • Kris Bordessa Aug 8, 2011, 7:59 pm

      That sounds *fabulous! Why did it make you sleepy? I’d certainly give it a whirl if you were to share a recipe…

  • Alexandra Aug 8, 2011, 1:44 pm

    Have never tasted this. Now I’m curious. Will I find it ever at the local supermarket?

    • Kris Bordessa Aug 8, 2011, 7:57 pm

      I suspect not, unless you have access to a high end gourmet store. It IS available on Amazon, though – search for Hawaiian Sun Passion Fruit Jelly.

  • Melanie @ Frugal Kiwi Aug 9, 2011, 12:22 pm

    I planted a passion fruit vine for Frugal Man this past summer-a black one though, not a yellow one. It is establishing well and we should get some fruit off of it this coming summer. Not sure it will be enough to can extra, but I’ll keep this in mind!

  • April Aug 9, 2011, 6:16 pm
  • Raven Aug 26, 2011, 4:08 pm

    Adapted your recipe to make liliko’i ginger jelly today. I’m a canning virgin no more! Thank you for making my first experience easy! Now I’m starting another batch of liliko’i wine… yum!

    • marylou Apr 2, 2013, 10:06 am

      I had my first taste og lilikoi ginger jam and now want to make it. I have my passionfruit and ginge, what is your recipe an why the calcium water and will any pectin work.

      • Kris Bordessa Apr 2, 2013, 10:20 am

        I’d just juice the ginger and replace a portion of the liliko‘i juice. Just guessing – maybe a quarter cup? (I guess it depends how gingery you like it!)

        I use Pomona brand pectin because it allows me to use less sugar than the standard brands. The calcium powder comes with the Pomona pectin.

        Hope it turns out great!

        • marylou Apr 6, 2013, 8:54 am

          Thank you so much, I will let you know how it goes!

  • Germaine Aug 28, 2011, 3:21 pm

    My children were born and raised in Brazil, and their favorite fruit is still passion fruit, aka maracuja. It was in season pretty much all year. My youngest loved mousse de maracuja so much that I used to make it for him instead of birthday cake.

    I also used to make passion fruit jelly. I couldn’t get commercial pectin, so I just “made do”, which wasn’t hard since the seeds and skin of passion fruit have a lot of natural pectin in them. I used to just chop the whole fruit up, soak in over night, simmer for a couple of hours, drain in a jelly bag, add a cup of sugar to a cup of juice, and boil it until it set. It worked just fine.

    • Sonia Aug 28, 2011, 4:18 pm

      Interesting. Never thought to use the whole fruit and then drain it in a jelly bag….Thanks!

  • Meleli Dec 22, 2016, 2:31 pm

    Our vines give lots of juice, which I package in a zip-lock freezer bag, and freeze in our freezer until I want to use it. I’ve made quite a few lilikoi cheesecakes, which we love, and make nice presents for others. I’m planning to can some jelly today, so I have the required amount thawed and ready to go. I have found that the less heat the juice is subjected to the stronger the flavour. So, I’ll probably try adding the juice after boiling, and hope it sets up well. I’ll also be using regular pectin (I have liquid and powder versions), so I’ll let you all know how it works out.
    I tried going to site “recipes from Brazil.com” but found it was no longer an active site. It appears to be trying to sell the domain website.

  • Leslie Oct 22, 2017, 1:26 pm

    Love your recipe. I love it without so much sugar as the regular jelly recipe. I really like the fresh lilikoi taste. So to add even more fresh flavor to your jelly recipe, I reserve 1 cup of lilikoi juice and add it immediatly after the second boiling. Thanks for sharing.

  • Megan Apr 9, 2018, 8:15 pm

    I finally found some passion fruit puree abd made this. Yumm!

  • SANDY Apr 12, 2018, 12:15 pm

    KRISS. 40 servings means? How many ounces would I get?

    • Kris Bordessa Apr 12, 2018, 3:33 pm

      Sorry! This recipe ‘form’ I use asks for *servings. This will make 4-5 pints.

  • Liza Hollo Nov 18, 2019, 11:04 am

    Hi! I’m going to try this soon- how long do you think the jelly will safely last in the fridge once you open a jar?

    Thank you!

    • Kris Bordessa Nov 30, 2019, 8:03 am

      I’d say 4-6 weeks or so.

  • Julie Mar 14, 2020, 5:40 am

    I have passion fruit pulp I bought to make jam. I’ve never heard of calcium water. Is this something I need to make my jam turn out. And if so where do you get it ?
    Thank you

    • Kris Bordessa Mar 14, 2020, 7:05 am

      This recipe calls for a specific brand of pectin that uses calcium water (it’s in the packet). I get it at my health food store, but it’s available online, too. I prefer this brand because it allows me to use less sugar, but you could also use other brands of pectin. I’m not sure on measurements of those, though.

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