(Passiflora edulis – Family Passifloraceae)
Passion Fruit, water lemon,
grenadille (French), Passionsfrucht/Maracuja (German), granadiglia (Italian), granadilla (Spanish), maracuja (Portuguese), buah mankisa/timun belanda (P. quadrangularis), saowarot (P. laurifolia)(Malay), markisah (Indonesian), ling mangkon (Thai), lilikoi (Hawaiian), kudamonotokeiso (Japanese), maracuj (Brazil), curuba/maracuy (Colombia), parcha/parchita (Venezuela), parcha (Puerto Rico), ceibey (Cuba), ceibey/granadilla/couzou (West Indies)
Passion fruit is the best known of the fruits of various species of Passiflora.
It is a member of a large group of climbing herbs and shrubs native to tropical America, Southeast Asia, and Australia. The fruit takes its name from its exotic flower known as “flor de las cinco lagas” (flower of the five wounds),
which was used to symbolize the “Passion of Christ”. The name, however, is more correctly applied to Passiflora edulis,
a plant native to Brazil that has beautiful white, gold, and lavender flowers.
Since the 19th century, it has grown in Australia, New Zealand, and South Africa, and now in Hawaii and Israel. The name granadilla
refers to the deep purple rind seen in the main variety. There is also a yellow type (var flavicarpa),
which is the basis of the passion fruit industry in Hawaii and Fiji. But it is also found in Brazil. The yellow passion fruit prefers a hotter climate than the purple kind.
The fruits contain Vitamins A and C and are a good source of dietary fiber. They can be as small as a cherry or as large as an orange, but the ones most commonly available are about three inches long.
It has a brittle outer shell which becomes slightly wrinkled when ripe. If the fruits have very wrinkly and dark skin, they are past their prime and will be very dry.
When just right, the soft, orange pulp is full of tiny edible seeds; but many people do not like them, so prefer their passion fruit in the form of jelly or juice.
Juice, however, is a costly delicacy. It takes over 100 fruits to make one litre of juice; but, because of its high starch content, the juice requires much dilution, bringing the cost down somewhat.
Passion fruit ripens at room temperature and should not be kept in the refrigerator. The pulp can be scooped out and frozen in ice cube trays and then packed in plastic bags.
Passion fruit is also used in sherbets, ice creams, and yogurt. The pulp can be sieved and made into preserves.
Passion fruit enhances the flavours of all other fruits served with it. The famous Australian dessert pavlova
is customarily topped with passion fruit pulp and seeds. It also makes a rich addition to such other desserts as triffle.
Other species of Passion fruit include the following:
Yellow passion fruit, sweet calabash/sweet cup/conch apple (Jamaica), curuba (Colombia), banana passion fruit (New Zealand), banana poka (Hawaii), guerito (Cuba), parcha cimarrona (Puerto Rico), granadilla de bueso (Ecuador) (P. maliformis)
is a yellow-fruited species which grows in Central America, notably Ecuador, Brazil, and the West Indies. The fruit is apple-shaped, with a thin yellowish-brown skin which can be either leathery and flexible or hard and brittle, but always difficult to open. The pulp is grayish or orangey-yellow, with a juicy pleasant taste enclosing hard gray seeds just like other passion fruits. The taste, though, is much sharper, but less aromatic.
Sweet granadilla, granadilla (Central America), granadilla de China/parchita amarilla (Venuzuela) (P. ligularis)
is extensively cultivated in mountainous areas of Mexico and Hawaii. It has an orange shell, speckled with tiny white dots when ripe. The flavour is more interesting than that of its larger cousin, the giant granadilla, but it is more juicy.
Red / Purple granadilla (P. coccinea)
is a good tasting fruit so called because of its vivid crimson flowers.
The fruit is cultivated in Guadeloupe and gathered from the wild in parts of Brazil, Peru, Bolivia, and Venezuela. The fruits have an attractive striped and mottled appearance, being green at first then ripening to a yellow or orange.
Wing-stemmed passion flower (P. alata)
grows wild in Brazil, where its fruits are available in local markets. It has been introduced to many other countries, but mainly as a decorative plant. It exists in numerous varieties, but the variety with the largest edible fruits (up to twelve inches long) is the variation macrocarpa.
Blue passion flower (P. caerulea)
is not blue at all but it is the hardiest and most widely distributed of the lesser known varieties. Ironically, it is valued more for the flower
than the fruit. The fruits are about the size of an egg and orange in colour, but are often disregarded by gardeners. These fruits are perfectly edible, although somewhat lacking in flavour by themselves, but fine in combination with other fruits.
Banana passion fruit (New Zealand), banana poka (Hawaii), curuba/curuba sabanero blanco (Latin America), tacso (Ecuador), parcha (Venezuela/Bolivia), tumbo (Peru)(P. molissima)
are names for a yellow fruited species of excellent quality. It is of special importance in Colombia, but also grows in Ecuador, Venezuela, Bolivia, and Peru. It is a popular fruit in markets and is usually eaten fresh or made into cooling drinks. The pulp of this passion fruit is not quite as juicy and sweet as that of the purple varieties. The fruits are long and oval and sliced lengthwise for the pulp to be scooped out.
Water lemon, Jamaica honeysuckle, passion fruit (P. laurifolia)
is another tropical American species with orange or yellow fruits that are as sweet as P. edulis.
Giant granadillas, granadillas/grenadillas, barbadine (French-Americas), maracujá (Brazil), granadilla real/granadilla grande/parcha (Latin America), timun belanda/markeesa (Malay), ominotokeiso (Japanese)
(Passiflora quadrangularis – Family Passifloraceae)
Granadillas are the largest members of the passion fruit family and can weigh several pounds.
Native to the hotter regions of tropical America, it is often called “granadilla real” to indicate its larger size from other related fruits also known as granadillas.
However, even with the epithets meaning royal or large, the name is not appropriate as it is the diminutive form of the Spanish name granada, for pomegranate. Therefore, it actually means small pomegranate.
The fruit can be up to eight inches long. The delicate pale greenish or yellow skin has blushings of pink, shading to brown when ripe.
The fruit is popular in many tropical regions, including the hotter parts of India and Southeast Asia. Besides being cultivated in many countries, it has been naturalized for some time in Indonesia and runs wild in northern Queensland of Australia.
The fruits give off a pleasing aroma, but the taste is quite bland.
The giant granadilla has a structure like that of a melon, with an outer layer of edible flesh usually pink or white, and a large inner space full of the seeds and pulp, all of which can be eaten.
When combined with other fruits, the granadilla is a pleasing compliment. If cooked for jams or pies, it works better when mixed with a stronger flavoured fruit.
In Indonesia, it is made into a drink called markeesa, sold in bottles. It is often used as a vegetable in its unripened stage, but this stage is rarely exported.
The ones that are have a smooth, round, orange skin, with a greyish pulp containing several hard seeds. They are more attractive than passion fruit, but used in the same manner.