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Passiflora edulis is a vine species of passion flower that is native to Brazil, Paraguay and northern Argentina (Corrientes and Misiones provinces, among others). Its common names include passion fruit (UK and US), passionfruit (Australia and New Zealand), and purple granadilla (South Africa).
It is cultivated commercially in warmer, frost-free areas for its fruit and is widely grown in Argentina, Australia, Bolivia, Brazil, the Caribbean, Colombia, Costa Rica, Dominican Republic, East Africa, Ecuador, Haiti, Hawaii, India, Indonesia, Israel, Mexico, New Zealand, Panama, Peru, Portugal (Madeira), Puerto Rico, Sri Lanka, South Africa, United States (California and Florida), Venezuela and Philippines.
The passion fruit is round to oval, either yellow or dark purple at maturity, with a soft to firm, juicy interior filled with numerous seeds. The fruit is both eaten and juiced; passion fruit juice is often added to other fruit juices to enhance the aroma.
Several distinct varieties of passion fruit with clearly differing exterior appearances exist. The bright yellow flavicarpa variety, also known as the Golden Passion Fruit, can grow up to the size of a grapefruit, has a smooth, glossy, light and airy rind, and has been used as a rootstock for the Purple Passion Fruit in Australia. The dark purple edulis variety is smaller than a lemon, though it is less acidic than the yellow passion fruit, and has a richer aroma and flavour.
- In Australia and New Zealand, where it is called “passionfruit”, it is available commercially both fresh and tinned. It is added to fruit salads, and fresh fruit pulp or passion fruit sauce is commonly used in desserts, including as a topping for pavlova (a regional meringue cake) and ice cream, a flavouring for cheesecake, and in the icing of vanilla slices. A passionfruit-flavoured soft drink called Passiona has also been manufactured in Australia since the 1920s.
- In Brazil passion fruit mousse is a common dessert, and passion fruit seeds are routinely used to decorate the tops of cakes. Passion fruit juice is also widely used. When making Caipirinha, it is usual to use passion fruit instead of lime; it is then called “caipifruta de maracujá”. It is used also as a mild sedative, and its active ingredient is commercialized under several brands, most notably Maracugina.
- In Colombia it is one of the most important fruits, especially for juices and desserts. It is widely available all over the country and three kinds of “Maracuyá” fruit may be found.
- In the Dominican Republic, where it is locally called chinola, it is used to make juice and Fruit preserves. Passion fruit-flavoured syrup is used on shaved ice, and the fruit is also eaten raw, sprinkled with sugar.
- In Hawaii passion fruit is locally called liliko’i and comes in yellow and purple varieties.
- Passion fruit can be cut in half and the seeds scooped out with a spoon. Lilikoi-flavoured syrup is a popular topping for shaved ice. It is used as a desert flavoring for malasadas, cheesecakes, cookies, ice cream and mochi. Passion fruit is also favoured as a jam or jelly, as well as a butter. Most passion fruit comes from backyard gardens or is collected from the wild. While it may be found at farmers’ markets throughout the islands, fruits are seldom sold in grocery stores.
- In Indonesia there are two types of passionfruit (local name: ‘markisa’), white flesh and yellow flesh. The white one is normally eaten straight as a fruit, while the yellow variety is commonly strained to obtain its juice, which is cooked with sugar to make thick syrup. Bottles or plastic jugs of concentrated syrup (generally produced in Sumatra from fruit grown in the Lake Toba region) are sold in many supermarkets. Dilution of one part syrup to four (or more) parts water is recommended.
- In Israel passion fruit is used to make wine, or ‘sicar’.
- In Mexico passion fruit is used to make juice or is eaten raw with chilli powder and lime.
- In Paraguay passion fruit is used principally for its juice, to prepare desserts such as passion fruit mousse, cheesecake, ice cream, and to flavour yogurts and cocktails.
- In Peru passion fruit is used in several desserts, especially cheesecakes. Passion fruit juice is also drunk on its own and is used in ceviche variations and in cocktails, including the Maracuyá Sour, a variation of the Pisco Sour.
- In the Philippines passion fruit is commonly sold in public markets and in public schools. Some vendors sell the fruit with a straw to enable sucking out of the seeds and juices inside. It is not very popular because of its sour flavour, and the fruit is very seasonal.
- In Portugal, especially the Azores and Madeira, passion fruit is used as a base for a variety of liqueurs and mousses.
- In Puerto Rico, where the fruit is known as “Parcha”, it is widely believed to lower blood pressure, probably because it contains harmala alkaloids and is a mild RIMA. Passion fruit juice is also very common there and is used in juices, ice cream or pastries.
- In South Africa passion fruit, known locally as Granadilla (the yellow variety as Guavadilla), is used to flavour yogurt. It is also used to flavour soft drinks such as Schweppes‘ “Sparkling Granadilla” and numerous cordial drinks. It is often eaten raw or used as a topping for cakes and tarts. Granadilla juice is commonly available in restaurants. The yellow variety is used for juice processing, while the purple variety is sold in fresh-fruit markets.
- In Sri Lanka passion fruit juice, along with faluda, is one of the most popular refreshments. Passion fruit cordial is manufactured both at home as well as industrially by mixing the pulp with sugar. There are many cordial manufacturers, suppliers and exporters in the country.
- In Thailand passion fruit is called “Saowarot” (Thai: เสาวรส). The fruit is eaten whole and is also commonly juiced and drunk. Young shoots are cooked in curries or eaten with nam phrik.
- In the United States it is often used as an ingredient in juice mixes.
- In Vietnam passion fruit is blended with honey and ice to create refreshing smoothies.
- In Cambodia passion fruit is called “Machu Bey-darch” (ម្ចូរបីដាជ) and the plants wine are growing in wild and bushes with green to yellow round shape fruits measured from 2.5cm-4cm when ripe. It is a wild variety of passion fruit and taste slightly different but remains quite sour.
|Nutritional value per 100 g (3.5 oz)|
|Energy||406 kJ (97 kcal)|
|– Sugars||11.20 g|
|– Dietary fibre||10.4 g|
|Vitamin A equiv.||64 μg (8%)|
|Riboflavin (vit. B2)||0.130 mg (11%)|
|Niacin (vit. B3)||1.500 mg (10%)|
|Folate (vit. B9)||14 μg (4%)|
|Vitamin C||30.0 mg (36%)|
|Calcium||12 mg (1%)|
|Iron||1.60 mg (12%)|
|Magnesium||29 mg (8%)|
|Phosphorus||68 mg (10%)|
|Potassium||348 mg (7%)|
|Zinc||0.10 mg (1%)|
|Nutrient values and weights are for edible portion.
Percentages are relative to
US recommendations for adults.
Source: USDA Nutrient Database
Fresh passion fruit is high in beta carotene, potassium, and dietary fibre. Passion fruit juice is a good source of ascorbic acid (vitamin C), and good for people who have high blood pressure. Some research is showing that purple passion fruit peel may help with controlling asthma symptoms. The fruit contains Lycopene in the mature and immature pericarp.
The Passion fruit is so called because it is one of the many species of Passion Flower. (“Passion Flower” being the literal English translation of the Latin genus name, Passiflora). The name was given by Spanish missionaries to South America as an expository aid while trying to convert the indigenous inhabitants to Christianity. One ingenious expository device was using parallels between the parts of this common South American flower and elements of the account of the torture (the Passion) of Christ prior to his crucifixion. The missionaries said that:
- The three stigmas reflect the three nails in Jesus‘s hands and feet.
- The threads of the passion flower resemble the Crown of Thorns.
- The vine’s tendrils are likened to the whips.
- The five anthers represented the five wounds.
- The ten petals and sepals regarded to resemble the Apostles (excluding Judas and Peter).
- The purple petals representing the purple robe used to mock Jesus’ claim to kingship (Mt. 27:28)
The flower of the passion fruit is the national flower of Paraguay.