Export woes to bring passionfruit aplenty to Kiwis this year

Most of the crop is usually sent overseas.
Most of the crop is usually sent overseas. Photo credit: Getty

Consumers are set to enjoy a glut of passionfruit after export woes hit the industry.

Seventy percent of the crop would normally be sold in the United States, but that has been limited this year by high airfreight costs and greater competition in the US market.

The NZ Passionfruit Growers Association said about 50 commercial growers produce 120 tonnes a season between February and April.

The cost of air freight meant most of this summer's crop would be appearing on New Zealand grocery shelves.

"This year there will be a lot more passionfruit for sale on the domestic market so we're working closely with wholesalers and encouraging consumers to try this delicious fruit if they haven't before," president Rebekah Vlaanderen said.

The 5+A Day charitable trust is launching a Valentine's Day campaign called 'would you be my Passiontine?' to help support local growers and boost consumption.

Project manager Carmel Ireland said passionfruit could be cut open and enjoyed on its own, or the pulpy flesh could be scooped out and added to desserts, smoothies or breakfast cereals.

Vlaanderen's tip for when passionfruit is ready to be eaten is to wait until they are well and truly wrinkled.

"There's a white pith inside the fruit. As it wrinkles and dehydrates, the pulp draws the sweetness from that pith, therefore making your passionfruit delicious to eat."