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.
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.
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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.
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.
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Passion Fruit Jelly
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.
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.
Wash and rinse jars. Bring lids and rings to a boil; turn off heat and let stand in hot water.
Measure 8 cups of lilikoi juice and 8 teaspoons of prepared calcium water into a large stock pot.
Measure 5 cups sugar into a separate bowl. Thoroughly (and I mean thoroughly) mix in the 8 teaspoons of pectin.
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.
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.
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.
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).
Remove rings and wash outsides of jars. (You don't need to store the jars with rings.)
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.
Originally published in August, 2011; this post has been updated.
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