Step by Step, How to Make Passion Fruit Juice aka Liliko‘i Nectar

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Looking for an easy way to make passion fruit juice? After years of trying different methods, I’ve found that this is the easiest way to juice passion fruit. If you have access to fresh liliko‘i, juicing the fruit is a great way to use it in recipes. Like this easy passion fruit drink that evokes a taste of the tropics!

Once you’ve made passion fruit juice, give this recipe for passion fruit jelly a try!

cut open lilikoi, purple and yellow varieties

Passion fruit is a tropical plant, a member of the Passiflora family. The hard-shelled fruit grows on perennial vines that can be quite rampant here in Hawaii. The flowers are beautiful, and can grow up to three inches across. They require pollination, which can be somewhat problematic, since they’re so large. Small honeybees don’t quite cut it; carpenter bees are good at getting the job done, though.

When fruit sets, it starts as a small orb and grows in size until the fruit itself is two to three inches in diameter. The yellow passion fruit is most commonly found here, but purple passion fruit and a fuzzy peach-colored variety that’s often called Jamaican liliko‘i that has more of a sweet flavor. There’s also a giant liliko‘i variety that’s a bit rare — it’s about the size of a cantaloupe and even has a slight melon-like flavor!

two passion fruit flowers against green leaves

Liliko‘i is one of my favorite tropical flavors. It’s tart and tangy and sweet all at the same time. The skin color of fresh passion fruits varies, and one — the Jamaican liliko‘i — even has a fuzzy surface, much like a fresh peach.

Each passion fruit contains about a tablespoon or two of bright orange, seedy flesh. The passion fruit seeds are edible, and the flesh and seeds are typically eaten together. You eat the seeds, but they are hard and not exactly chewable. They’re usually just swallowed whole, along with the tangy sweet pulp. (Try scooping some over vanilla ice cream for a delicious treat!)

How to eat passion fruit straight out of the shell: Cut hard shell in half with serrated knife. Use a spoon to scoop out the flesh. Put liliko‘i flesh — seeds and all — in your mouth and savor the flavor. Don’t try to crunch the seeds; just swallow them whole.

If you want just passion fruit juice — for making jelly or bread or liliko‘i gingerade — you’ll need to remove the pesky seeds.

How to make passion fruit juice

I’ve fine-tuned my method of making passion fruit juice after years of foraging for liliko‘i. The trick is to break the pulp from the seeds. I’ve found the best way to do this is with a blender or food processor.

yellow passion fruit in an enamelware pot

Get prepared to juice passion fruit

Clean your fruit. A liliko‘i vine can climb 30 feet or more, making the fruit hard to reach. The sturdy outer shell of the passion fruit protects it from damage when ripe fruit drops to the ground. It’s easy to harvest this way, but the fruit can be dirty. Plus, you never know what kind of critter has been crawling around on it. (Hello, slugs and rats!)

The first thing I do when I’m ready to juice passion fruit is fill my sink with cold water and toss the fruit in for a bath.

Discard any yucky fruit.

If you find any fruit that has a soft spot, use caution. The shell is thick enough that a small soft spot might not impact the pulp inside, but fruit with larger soft spots should be discarded as the inside of the fruit is likely moldy.

 passion fruit juice with seeds in a chinois from above

Juicing passion fruit

I usually do bags full of liliko‘i at a time, so I use a five-gallon bucket for the waste. Set it on the floor next to your work area. Use a cutting board that can catch liquid or, alternatively, a plate. (Some juice invariably spills when cutting the fruit open, and I like to catch that. A rimmed plate allows me to do that.) Set your blender nearby.

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Scoop out the pulp.

Use a sharp knife (I prefer a serrated one) to cut through the passion fruit shell. You can cut the fruit however you like, but I’ve found that cutting about an inch off one end is best, rather than cutting each passion fruit in half. If you cut the fruit in half, you’ll end up with pulp in each half, and you’ll need to handle it twice.

Shifting the knife closer to one end means that the passion fruit pulp ends up in one half most of the time.

Use your knife or a spoon to pull the pulp out of the shell and into your blender.

Separating the passion fruit pulp from the seeds

Once your blender container is full, run it on medium speed for 30 seconds or so. Your goal here is to break the fibrous attachment between the pulp and the passion fruit seeds — without actually chopping up the hard black seeds.

straining passion fruit juice through a chinois, view from above showing black seeds and wooden pestle

Strain the passion fruit juice.

I use a chinois that my mom gave me years ago. (I totally just learned that’s what it’s actually called!) Some people might call it a cone sieve. You can use a mesh strainer, too, but they’re a bit harder to clean up afterwards. Pour the seedy liliko‘i juice into your sieve and press as much juice through as you can using the wooden pestle that comes with and fits perfectly inside the chinois.

https://www.attainable-sustainable.net/tangerine-syrup/

Do it again.

Passion fruit juice is very strong. I’ve discovered that I can get more juice by running the seeds through the blender a second time. To do this, put the passion fruit seeds back in the blender and add half again as much water. If you had a blender full of juice to start, fill the blender halfway with water. Blend for 30 seconds again, strain, and add this juice to the full-strength first batch. Might as well get the most out of your efforts!

straining passion fruit juice through a chinois into an orange bowl

Preserve your passion fruit juice

When liliko‘i is in season, the fruit is abundant — if you know where to find it. Even so, it’s a coveted flavor and I like to keep it on hand for guests from afar. I preserve it by freezing it. I freeze some in ice cube trays to add to smoothies, and some in larger amounts in glass mason jars to bake with or to turn into gingerade. I find that a pint-size jar is perfect for freezing the juice. The juice of this fruit can be added to my passion fruit cake, too. (Treat yo self — it’s delicious!)

Passion Fruit Juice Recipe

Passion fruit juice is quite tangy and has a very strong flavor — a little goes a long way! This passion fruit juice recipe is not over-sweet, maintaining some of the tanginess from the fruit. This passion fruit cooler is perfect for hot summer days and one of my favorite tropical flavors.

cut open lilikoi, purple and yellow varieties

★ Did you make this passion fruit juice recipe? Don’t forget to give it a star rating below!

Fresh Passion Fruit Juice Recipe

Fresh Passion Fruit Juice Recipe

Yield: 6 servings
Prep Time: 5 minutes
Cook Time: 5 minutes
Total Time: 10 minutes

I've covered how to juice the fruit, but you'll also want to know how to make it ready to serve. Juice straight out of the fruit tends to be a bit overpowering. How sweet you like your juice is a personal preference.

Ingredients

  • 6 cups water
  • 2 cups lilko‘i juice
  • 1 cup honey , or organic sugar

Instructions

  1. Mix all ingredients in a large pitcher and stir until sweetener is dissolved.
  2. Serve fresh passion fruit over ice. Store leftovers in the refrigerator for up to a week.
Nutrition Information:
Yield: 6 Serving Size: 1 grams
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 213Unsaturated Fat: 0gSodium: 19mgCarbohydrates: 57gSugar: 57g

Did you make this recipe?

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Originally published in October, 2016; 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.

10 comments… add one
  • Michelle Mar 24, 2018, 6:57 pm

    Super easy to make and tastes so good!

    • John Feb 3, 2020, 5:20 pm

      Hi, I normally make my juice through using a blender, so no big difference

  • Elizabeth Sep 16, 2018, 9:37 am

    Why do you need to dilute the passion fruit juice so much? I followed the recipe and now have 8 cups of undiluted juice and can’t see adding all that water. Thanks for your insights!

    • Kris Bordessa Sep 16, 2018, 9:39 am

      You don’t *need to. If you like it stronger, by all means reduce (or eliminate) the water. You’ll have to adjust the sugar to suit your tastes, though. Liliko‘i juice is really potent without being diluted, but you may prefer it that way!

  • Denise Marso-wright Aug 26, 2019, 5:38 pm

    I was thinking of just freezing the pulp and seeds. To use at a later date. I love to eat the seeds..along with the pulp. What are your thoughts?

    • Kris Bordessa Aug 28, 2019, 11:45 am

      I think it will freeze fine. The texture might be altered a bit?

  • Bethany Aug 31, 2019, 3:47 pm

    Thanks for the recipe! We have an abundance of passion-fruit and I wasn’t quite sure what to do with it. I love this juice and my guests are always so impressed when they taste it. I’m going to try to freeze some at the end of the season.

  • Peggy Jan 1, 2020, 11:13 am

    Just made this! It was a hit with the whole family. Thank you for the instructions on cutting and scooping out the seeds and pulp. Simple and brilliant! Mahalo!

  • Bruce Weber Apr 16, 2020, 9:30 pm

    When I was in Hawaii ( Hana, Maui) last January, I gathered Lillikoi from my friend’s farm, extracted the juice just as you described , froze the juice and brought it home to Portland. I then adjusted the strength and sweetness according to what I wanted to do with it. It was wonderful but didn’t last long. I’ve been looking for sources of straight, unadulterated juice and have mostly found things made from concentrate. They taste terrible and nothing like Lillikoi. Concentration seems to alter the tast of this fruit much more than others.
    Do you know of any sources of unprocessed juice?

    • Kris Bordessa Apr 18, 2020, 1:23 pm

      I’m sorry, I don’t. It’s a treasure when we get it!

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