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Best time to pick a Maypop?

 
gardener
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From what I've read and heard, the maypop fruit is at its peak ripeness and flavor when it turns wrinkly and yellow.

This one is still green, but pretty wrinkly. It's looked like this for about a week. I guess it'll turn more yellow soon when it's fully ripe.

Anyone harvested them before and know the time frame that they take to ripen?
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They can vary. The only way to know for sure is to try. I've found they are like many wild fruits; they have a narrow window for ripeness just before going bad. But I don't like sourness. If you can tolerate it better, or if you are sweetening it in a drink or something, you can widen that window. I need to pick some to try, now that you remind me, when I go pick some elderberries this weekend.
 
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Being red-green color vision deficient, I can't really rely on color.  That one looks greener (less yellow) than I would expect for a ripe fruit, but the wrinkled skin tells me it's done for the season, so you might as well open it and see what you won.  

In my experience they are sometimes good when still at the smooth green state, and most reliably sweet and good at the wrinkly yellow state.  But it does vary a lot, perhaps based on whether they got enough water to ripen/"fill out" properly.  It's real common, here in a dry year, to find them with essentially no fruity goodness inside, no matter the state of the outer skin.

All I can say is that when I'm faced with a mess of fruit that I'm trying to decide whether to pick, I eat a couple.  If they're ripe and good, I pick; if not, then not.
 
Jordan Holland
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This is how far along they are here. The seeds are still soft enough to eat whole.
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pollinator
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Mine are nowhere near ripe. I wait until they feel full of goo (heavy) then I start eating them as citrus. It’s impossible to find them all anyway, so you will get a chance to eat all stages! This is the first year I have grown them formally usually just find them. We had a really dry summer until this month and they are probably behind a little. Usually I get them best in October this climate (probably similar to hilly NC
 
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The leaves on your tree looks either dead or curled up and stressed. So I think the fruit got terminated prematurely. They will probably ripen for you in September, right up until 1st frost.  
 
Steve Thorn
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S Bengi wrote:The leaves on your tree looks either dead or curled up and stressed. So I think the fruit got terminated prematurely. They will probably ripen for you in September, right up until 1st frost.  



Yeah, after looking a little closer, it looks like a rabbit probably cut the stem and the fruit didn't fully ripen.
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Steve Thorn
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I cut it open and tasted it, and it wasn't ripe yet unfortunately.

I tasted a little, and it's hard to describe the taste, something like a mix of citrus and cucumbers to me, in its unripe state.

A good number of the seeds were black and hard and look like they will be viable, so at least I was able to get a few seeds from it that I hope to plant in the food forest soon.

I can't wait to hopefully taste some ripe ones soon!
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pollinator
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I finally got to taste a perfectly ripe fruit. It was still green and only a little soft. It tasted great! It seemed  to have more than one flavor that hit at different times. It reminded me of banana. A slightly less ripe fruit was a little tart, but I really liked it. I tried a wrinkled fruit. It was dry and no flavor.  None of them got yellow. The best ones were a little lighter, slightly softer, and heavier.

I think I have about 50 fruits from one vine in 6x8 greenhouse.  They probably wont all ripen in time. The greenhouse was unnecessary. It was just too cold and muddy when I planted that one. The outdoor vines did great but they are a year younger.

This one was slightly tart but good.

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I've always followed the wisdom of waiting for them to fall off the vine naturally after they prune up (like pawpaw).
 
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Does anyone know where to get these in (eastern?) Canada?

I asked for them through about a half dozen places but most haven’t even heard of it. Only the hardy may pop would survive here, I think its caerulea, but maybe its the other popular var.

 
Alexander Fraley
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I just got a shipment of Passiflora seeds from https://www.rarexoticseeds.com/en/, I believe they're based out of Montreal. They have both Caerulea (blue passionflower) and Incarnata (Maypop). These are the two most common cold hardy species.

I'm not sure if either will be able to tolerate Canada's  winters, but another option that may be a little harder to find is Passiflora colvillii. It is a hybrid between incarnata and caerulea and I've seen that its roots can withstand -20F (-28C).
 
Steve Thorn
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Looking tasty Ken!

That reminds me, I need to go pick some maypops!
 
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+1 to Alexander's comment to wait until maypops are ready to fall off the vine to pick them. You can shake the trellis or tree they are climbing and gather any that fall off. I have also been known to tug on them VERY GENTLY and those that pop right off will be good too, but if there is any resistance I leave them on the vine. The appearance doesn't matter much—some will be very smooth and green and others will be wrinkled.

In Uncommon Fruits for Every Garden, Lee Reich recommends leaving the fruit on the counter after picking for a while (as much as a couple of weeks) to improve, and I have found that to be a good practice. They will get more wrinkled and the skin will dry out, eventually making the skin pretty hard and shrinking the fruit. I like them before they get to that point (when they are close to molding), but after they have wrinkled a bit, which seems to enhance their sweetness.

I'm referring to the incarnata species, which we have many of growing wild here in southern Missouri.
 
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