The Akebia Tragedy

My Akebia fruit is about the size of a Russet potato...but definitely not the same color.

Sad, sad, sad.

On many levels, my Akebia story is sad. Well, okay, it’s not THAT sad. Just a little pathetic.

So let’s rewind.

Brian came into the kitchen recently asking, “Have you seen these?”

In his very full hand was what looked like a large, bright purple potato. When he flipped it over, it became clear that it was definitely not a potato. A crack ran down it’s entire belly and it was loaded with a bunch of seeds and goo.

I was still clueless…

Until Brian said that there were a bunch of them under our hammock.

My face went pale. My stinking Akebia vine finally fruited after six years and I MISSED it.

And, how exactly does one miss huge purple fruit? Well, obviously I don’t spend nearly enough time in my hammock for one.  That would be the true tragedy.

But, honestly, the fruit was definitely hidden well in the vine.  I was out there a bunch picking blueberries right beside the vine trellis. It took a Fall windstorm to knock the vine’s leaves and fruit to the ground, so we could finally see what we’d been missing.

I am so bummed that we didn’t get to taste the Akebia fruit or figure out what to do with them.

Next year, I’ll be watching more closely. And, you can bet I’ll figure out how to cook and eat Akebia fruit. If, I get any that is. Evidently, having fruit two years in a row is not a sure thing. Ugh.

Akebia fruit have been compared to pomegranates in form and function and possibly health benefits. So, lots of seeds and pulp. The taste is said to be very unique. And, I read that in Japan, people stuff the shells. That could be very fun to try.

The windstorm shook them down. What a bummer!

If you’d like to grow these crazy, unpredictable fruit for yourself, I bought my vines at Farmington Gardens. I bought a 3-leaf and a 5-leaf variety for the necessary cross-pollination. The vine is a deciduous, fast grower and will cover a fence or trellis in no time. It’s beautiful even if it never fruits. Mine has created a lovely canopy above my hammock.

One bit of advice/caution: grow Akebia vines away from trees and other shrubs as it likes to reach out and grab whatever it can. It requires frequent pruning to save the life and limb of all of its neighbors. My blueberries can attest to the Akebia’s frequent disrespect of personal space.