It wasn’t the heavenly tropical taste that prompted the name of passion fruit, although it’s easy to be passionate about its distinct sweet-tart flavor and aroma. This concise guide has tips on buying and prep, as well as ideas on how to use passion fruit and links to recipes.
In Brazil, early European missionaries saw symbols of Christ’s crucifixion in its flowers (crown of thorns, hammers, and nails) and named the fruit after the Passion.
The following information is excerpted and adapted from Melissa’s Great Book of Produce and Melissa’s 50 Best Plants on the Planet, both by Cathy Thomas; reprinted by permission of Melissa’s Produce.
Passion fruit is grown in tropical and semitropical regions around the world on a vine called passiflora. In the U.S., it’s grown in Florida, Hawaii, and California.
Passion Fruit Varieties
There are two main varieties of passion fruit, common and vanilla:
Common passion fruit can be round or shaped like blunt-ended eggs. The skin is purple-tinged brown, wrinkled when ripe. Inside that inedible rind, there are a myriad of edible, crisp seeds. Each seed is surrounded with almost transparent chartreuse pulp.
The yellow-green pulp is jelly-like and turns an eye-popping egg-yolk color on the outside edge. The taste dazzles, like a combination of banana, pineapple, and guava, mixed with lime, but more intense.
Vanilla passion fruit (sometimes dubbed banana passion fruit) is a variety that looks a little like a pointed-at-the-ends baby banana. The skin wrinkles and turns from green to yellow as it ripens. Inside, the edible seeds are larger and darker than those in the common variety.
And the flesh that surrounds them is mossy green. The taste is similar to its common cousin, but its flavor is less tangy and has a hint of vanilla. And it yields twice as much pulp. Generally, this variety is harder to find; it debuted in United States in 2003.
Buying and storing passion fruit
When buying either variety, look for fruit with wrinkled skin (a sign of ripeness). Ripe vanilla variety will be yellow. If skin is smooth, ripen at room temperature out of direct sunlight and turn occasionally.
Store ripe fruit loosely enclosed in a plastic bag in the refrigerator for up to 1 week.
As for where to find passion fruit, you may be lucky enough to find passion fruit in the produce section of very well-stocked supermarkets, but you’re more likely to find and order it online sources. It’s not cheap, no matter where you buy it!
Melissa’s Produce is good source for passion fruit as well as just about every other variety of produce under the sun.
Seasonality of passion fruit
Nutrition profile of passion fruit
Passion fruit is an excellent source of vitamins C and A and a significant source of riboflavin, potassium, niacin, magnesium, and copper. Here’s the full nutrition profile of passion fruit.
How to prep passion fruit, and basic uses
For common variety, cut in half through equator. For vanilla variety, cut in half lengthwise. Scoop out seeds, pulp, and juice with bowl of spoon. Discard shells or use as inedible containers.
Enjoy its crunchy texture; seeds have consistency similar to pomegranate seeds. Or strain through medium-meshed sieve, pushing with spoon to remove seeds; use pulp and discard seeds.
Use raw seeds, pulp, and juice in salad dressings, cake filling, or as topping for ice cream, cakes, and pudding. Use strained pulp and juice in sorbet or frosting.
The skin isn’t meant to be eaten. Discard or compost it.
Serving suggestions and links to passion fruit recipes
Fancy fruit salad: Serve a fruit salad without dressing. Place a passion fruit, cut in half, on its side. Let everyone at the table squeeze or spoon passion fruit over their portions of fruit salad as a vibrant dressing.
Tropical Fruit Salad: Combine tropical and exotic fruits to your heart’s content in this Tropical Fruit Salad.
Passion fruit vinaigrette: Whisk 2 tablespoons lime juice and 1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil; add 1/4 cup unstrained passion fruit and whisk to combine. Add salt and pepper to taste; whisk again to combine.
Champagne or Prosecco with passion: Pour champagne into fluted glasses. Add a spoonful of strained passion fruit to taste; stir and enjoy.
Passion fruit juice and mocktails: Fresh passion fruit makes refreshing juice drinks that are as interesting to look at as they are to drink. It gives mocktails a lovely floral flavor.
Classic Brazilian cocktail: Here’s an easy recipe for Brazilian Caipirinha, a classic cocktail made with passion fruit, cachaça and sugar.
Catchy coulis: Serve strained pulp on desserts, either on the side or spooned on top. Delicious with cheesecake, chocolate mousse, or tapioca pudding.
Offbeat cakes and other pastries: This Easy Vegan Passion Fruit Coconut Cake takes only 10 minutes to prepare! And Passion Fruit Tart is equally irresistible.
Fruit curd: Passion fruit has the perfect consistency to be made into a simple, soothing curd.
- Explore more unusual and tropical fruits.
- Here are more of this site’s Good Food Guides.
Melissa’s Great Book of Produce and Melissa’s 50 Best Plants on the Planet
by Cathy Thomas are available wherever books are sold
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