passionfruit
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  • Spherical capsule, 5 cm in diameter.
  • Hard outer shell, slightly wrinkled with purple or yellow skin.
  • Translucent yellow flesh, jelly like and watery.
  • Aromatic and sweet flavour.
  • Many smooth, small, black, edible seeds.

All passionfruit plants are perennial climbers furnished with tendrils by which they climb. The flowers are strikingly beautiful and distinguished by a crown or corolla of filaments which often covers the petals and stretches as far as the sepals which are thick and often coloured. The leaves, which are 10-15cm across, are deeply divided or lobed in three parts.

Besides eating straight from the shell, passionfruit pulp can be used in an unlimited number of dishes such as fruit salads, ice-creams, sorbets, as a topping for pavlovas, cheesecakes and fruit flans or incorporated into cakes, biscuits and icings.

Passionfruit also adds a refreshing zest to fruit juices, particularly orange, as well as soda water or lemonade. Pop some frozen passionfruit cubes into a jug of ice cold punch or fruit juice for that weekend barbecue or party. Passionfruit is also great in savoury salads or sauces.

Passionfruit are adapted to tropical and subtropical areas with a moderately high rainfall. The purple passionfruit (Passiflora edulis) thrives in the warm, humid coastal areas of eastern Australia and on the tropical highlands. Although it withstands light frosts it is injured by temperatures 1-2°C below freezing and commercial sites should be frost free. The golden passionfruit (P. edulis flavicarpa) are less cold tolerant and require more tropical conditions.

Passionfruit do best on fertile, well-drained loams. Vines succumb rapidly to waterlogging on shallow soils so they are planted on raised beds.

The passionfruit vine is prone to several diseases, affecting the growth of the vine and fruit quality. The woodiness virus produces mottling of the leaves and small misshapen fruit with a thick, woody rind.

The passionfruit is believed to be a native of Brazil, Mexico, Central America, the United States and the West Indies. Its name was derived from the plant’s striking flowers which were used by colonising Spanish priests in America to explain the story of the Crucifixion. The three styles represented the nails, the ovary the sponge soaked in vinegar, the stamens Christ’s wounds, the filaments the Crown, and the petals and stamens the apostles.

The plant became known as the Passion flower and its fruit, the Passionfruit. Valued for their juicy, delightfully fragrant, seed filled pulp, the passionfruit, also known as the Purple Granadilla, has a certain character all of its own. The family includes some 550 species.

Botanical Name: Passiflora spp. (Passifloraceae)

Health Benefits

Passionfruit is an excellent source of dietary fibre, a good source of vitamin C, and contains some vitamin B3.

100g of passionfruit yields the following:

  • Calories –97
  • Total Carbs – 8% of DV
  • Protein – 2.2g
  • Dietary Fibre – 42% of DV
  • Vitamin A – 25% of DV
  • Vitamin C – 50% of DV
  • Calcium – 1% of DV
  • Iron – 9% of DV

*Percent Daily Values are based on a 2000 calorie diet.

Selecting tips

When selecting passionfruit, choose smooth fruit of a deep purple, yellow or red colour, depending upon variety. Avoid those with excessively wrinkled, dry looking or blemished skins. Fruit should be heavy for its size.

Storage: Store at room temperature for short periods only, as they will dehydrate quickly. It is best to store in an airtight plastic bag in the refrigerator. For all year round supplies, just scoop out the pulp, freeze in ice-cube trays and store the frozen cubes in a plastic freezer bag for use at a few minutes notice.

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