Passion fruit is a tropical and subtropical fruit that is native to parts of South America, Central America, Mexico, the Caribbean and various regions of Africa. Though it may look unappealing with its wrinkled, yellow waxy shell, the passion fruit hides a tart-sweet jelly-like pulp within which carries many potential health benefits.
Passion fruit is also known by its scientific name Passiflora edulis. The name itself gives insight into the fruit’s deep and fascinating history. The word Passiflora, derived from the Latin term passio and flos, translates to “the flower of suffering,” or “the passion flower.” This is a reference to the Passion of Jesus and the crown of thorns as the flower is said to represent the Passion of Jesus Christ. The name edulis translates to “edible” which is an apt description for this pleasant fruit.
Inside the passion fruit, the pulp is a deep orange color due to the granules of numerous, edible seeds covering it. Both the pulp and seeds are edible, however, you should always remember to consume only fully ripened passion fruit to avoid an extremely tart taste. Not only can the pulp be eaten raw and straight from the fruit, but it is commonly used to make jams, jellies and even juices.
Beyond it’s sweet and tart flavor, passion fruit is also a great source of vitamins, minerals and antioxidants that help support your overall health. This includes adequate amounts of dietary fiber, Vitamin A, Vitamin C, Vitamin K, Iron and Calcium. Furthermore, passion fruit contains phenolic compounds and carotenoids which carries powerful antioxidant, antimicrobial, anti-inflammatory and anti-tumor properties. Lastly, passion fruit helps to support digestion, kidney health, and can even reduce asthma symptoms.
Because of its health benefits, passion fruit can be incorporated into your diet in various ways. You can simply cut open the tough, orange peel and enjoy the tart, sweet pulp and seeds inside. Or you can whip up a fruit smoothie adding yogurt, juice, honey, coconut milk or even frozen bananas for extra sweetness and texture. Another option is to add passion fruit to jams and jellies for a unique flavor. Passion fruit juice is also very popular in many South American countries and is a great way to get a daily dose of the fruit’s essential nutrients.
Aside from its potential health benefits, passion fruit also has a special place in gardeners’ hearts. Not only does the Passiflora edulis produce a delicious fruit, but the plants themselves are incredibly beautiful. The heart-shaped leaves and fragrant flowers have quite an alluring look and make a great addition to any garden.
In summary, passion fruit provides not only a unique flavor profile but is also a great source of various vitamins and minerals to support your health. From its origin story to its applications in cuisine, passion fruit is truly an interesting and versatile fruit with a plentiful list of health benefits. Whether you’re adding the pulp to smoothies, fermenting the juice for tea, or just snacking on the seeds raw, you can get creative and experiment with the possibilities that passion fruit presents.