Passion fruit is a fruit from the passionflower, also known as the granadilla. It is native to Brazil. The name passion fruit came from the Spanish missionaries, who found that parts of the flower resembled instruments of the Passion and Crucifixion of Christ...the crown of thorns, hammers and nails. The leaves and flowers are said to have anti-spasmatic and narcotic effects.
It is firm, with an almost shell like purple skin with orange yellow pulp that surrounds large, black, edible seeds. It is approximately the size of a large hen’s egg. The brownish red leathery skin is inedible. The more wrinkled the skin is, the riper the fruit is, and less astringent and tart it will be. Using a serrated knife is the easiest way to cut the fruit in half. Passion fruit will ripen off the tree, left at room temperature.
The flavor of the flesh is very tart, and almost citrusy in taste. When ripe, it is gelatinous and loose and can range in color from pinkish green to shades of orange or yellow. It is easily removed with a spoon. The flesh of the Passion fruit is used in the filling of the classic dessert Pavlova.
There are about 400 varieties of passion fruit, only 30 with edible flesh. They are found in the West Indies, Africa, Australia, and Malaysia. The variety of passion fruit most available in the United States in Passiflora edulis. Passion fruit are in season from February to March. It is high in vitamin A and C.
Unripe passion fruit on the bush Ripe passion fruit