Passiflora, grenadilla, maracuja, maracuya.
Passion fruit is an ovoid shape fruit which gives a juice with a very strong exotic flavor and a bright orange color, found in many tropical and sub-tropical countries. The passion fruit is a vigorous, climbing vine that clings by tendrils to almost any support. The nearly round or ovoid fruit, 1-1/2 to 3 inches wide, has a tough rind that is smooth and waxy and ranging in hue from dark purple with faint, fine white specks, to light yellow or pumpkin-color. Within is a cavity more or less filled with an aromatic mass of double walled, membranous sacs containing orange-colored, pulpy juice and as many as 250 small, hard, dark brown or black, pitted seeds. The unique flavor is appealing, musky, guava-like and sweet/tart to tart.
The two main commercial varieties are purple passion fruit (Passiflora edulis L.), and yellow passion fruit (P. edulis f. flavicarpa). The purple passion is mainly cultivated in Africa and India and the yellow passion fruit in Peru, Brazil and Ecuador.
How to select
The fruit will quickly turn from green to deep purple (or yellow) when ripe and then fall to the ground within a few days. They can either be picked when they change color or gathered from the ground each day.
· They are used to flavor drinks, confectionery, icing, cakes and ice-cream.
· Cool down with a refreshing and fruity tropical orange and passion fruit soda or Start off the morning with something healthy and easy to prepare -- a tropical fruit salad with a side of passion fruit, honey and curd.
· The passion fruit adds a tantalizing tropical tang to an otherwise humble dessert. Passion fruit cakes, puddings, soufflé , shortbread cookies are easy to make and economical.
How to store
To store passion fruit, wash and dry them gently and place them in bags. They should last 2 to 3 weeks at 50° F. The fruit is sweetest when slightly shriveled. Both the fruit and the juice freeze well.
· Passion fruit is known for its various health benefits due to its rich constituents of Vitamin C, A, iron, and potassium.
· Their seeds are edible and are an excellent source of fiber
· The juice but mainly the leaves of passion fruit contain the alkaloids, including Harman, which has blood pressure lowering, sedative and antispasmodic action
· Passion flower has been used in the treatment of nervous and easily excited children, bronchial asthma, insomnia, nervous gastrointestinal disorders and menopausal problems