Liliko`i – a Passion Fruit
By Rochelle delaCruz
I’m sure many of you have enjoyed a drink that goes by the rather unceremonious name of POG. Passion-Orange-Guava juice. POG – good juice, lousy name. On our inter-island airlines, this local favorite is often served in a tiny, plastic tub with its name stamped on the foil top and whenever I used to take my children home to Hilo, they would remark on it. “POG? What kind of name is POG?” Guarantee I would hear this right about the time we’re flying over Molokai. “Just drink your juice,” I’d tell them, but confess that the same thought was also crossing my mind. Surely we can do better than this. Who wants to drink something called POG?
So I came up with another name: GLO. What do you think of that? GLO… wouldn’t you rather be drinking GLO instead of POG? I know I would. LOG, OLG and GOL are other some options with my new set of letters but I’m sticking with GLO.
How did I come up with GLO? Easy! Instead of P for passion fruit, use L for liliko`i, the Hawaiian name of this fruit that grows wild in the islands. GLO - Guava, Liliko`i and Orange – howzat? Same juice but better name. Brilliant eh? Too bad the juice company didn’t call me before they paid someone ukumillion bucks to come up with the name POG, because I would have earned my money by presenting GLO.
Liliko`i. Since it grows on all the islands, we’re familiar with this small, round-ish fruit, waxy on the outside but filled on the inside with seeds suspended in something that looks and feels like soft gelatin. To eat, we cut in half and suck up the gooey seeds in one slurp. I grew up with this treat because in our back yard in Hilo, there was a tangle of liliko`i vines that climbed up one side of a tree, and down the other. I have no idea what kind of tree it was, because all I could see were the liliko`i, dangling from the branches. This tree was also covered with woodrose vines, so it was the liliko`i woodrose tree – that’s how I remember it.
Little did I know back then that our cheerful ball of succulent seeds is one of an estimated 500 species of Passiflora, and within this one, P. edulis Sims, there are two kinds: the purple and the yellow. While we call it liliko`i in Hawai`i , it grows elsewhere under other names: granadilla or parcha in Spanish, maracuja peroba in Portuguese, grenadille in French and in Thailand, linmangkon.
Passion fruit first arrived in Hawai`i from Australia in its purple form around the 1880s and quickly took root. But it was when developers tried to squeeze juice for larger markets that they started growing the yellow version for its higher juice content. From there it was a short liliko`i leap to partnership with guava and orange, giving birth to the `onolicious but ill-named POG, and the rest is juice history.
In the Islands you’ll find liliko`i not only in juice. Here are a few recipes that use the pulp of this delicious gem:
6 cups sugar
Boil sugar and water till syrupy. Add lilikoi pulp and simmer over low fire till seeds are apart. Strain and bottle. A delicious drink with a little lemon added to it or other juices combined with the lilikoi. (This recipe comes from the days before you could buy liliko`i juice everywhere. But it’s still useful because you can pour the syrup over shave iceor ice cream~RdC)
-from Kauai Cookbook, prepared by Kekaha Parent-Teachers’ Association, 1954
A pkg. orange gelatin
Dissolve gelatin in water. Add sugar and stir until dissolved. Add passion fruit juice; mix well. Slowly stir in milks. Freeze in refrigerator trays until very mushy; beat well with electric mixer. Freeze until firm.
-from Favorite Recipes of Hawaii, collected from women’s clubs in Hawaii , 1965
4 eggs, separated
Beat egg yolks until thick. Add ½ c. of sugar, salt, lemon juice and lilikoi juice. Cook over low heat till thick – stirring constantly. Add gelatine which has been softened in cold water. Add lemon rind and cool. Beat egg whites until stiff with remaining sugar. Fold custard in egg whiles and pour into shell. Chill in refrigerator. Top with whipping cream.
-from Kalahikiola Cook Book, Kalahikiola Congregational Church in Kohala , Hawaii , 1955.
½ c. liliko`i juice
Put all ingredients in a blender and blend for one minute. Refrigerate.
*according to taste
-from my old recipe collection, origins long misplaced - RdC
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