Passion fruit

Passion fruit

The passion fruit is a tropical berry produced by certain species of passionflower vines, native to South America. The thick purple or yellow skin of this round fruit contains a very sweet and fragrant gelatinous pulp filled with small black seeds. Known as maracujá in Brazil, the passion fruit is a small sweet fruit that is suitable for both sweet and savory dishes.

Passion fruits can be bought from fruit and vegetable dealers or supermarkets. Unlike with other fruits, the wrinkled skin of a passion fruit is a sign of freshness. Smooth skin is a sign of unripened fruit. The fruit should be heavy and give off its characteristic scent. Passion fruit is also sold as juice and pasteurized or frozen pulp.

Depending on the preparation, the small black seeds are removed by straining the pulp through a drum sieve and the juice through a conical strainer.

Passion fruit pulp can be used to make sauce to accompany fish. Cooking does not alter its flavor.

Passion fruit can be eaten as it is, with a teaspoon, but it can be cooked like any other fruit. It is used to flavor mousses, cheesecakes, other cakes, and bavarois. It can be made into a juice, smoothie, or a coulis or caramel to accompany sorbet and yogurt. It can be also made into sorbet or ice cream. For savory use, the pulp is used to flavor vinaigrettes to dress mixed salads and season marinades for whitefish.

Passion fruit purchased before fully ripening should be stored at room temperature. The wrinkled, ripened fruit can also be left at room temperature, but it should be refrigerated. It can be frozen once it is very ripe.

Passion fruit is extraordinarily high in dietary fiber, because it has so many seeds. The fiber and pectin found in passion fruit are very soft, and, therefore, very beneficial for digestion. But they are unsuitable for people who have diverticulosis of the colon, because they are easily lodged in little pouches (diverticula) in the colon wall and cause irritation. In this case, these people should remove the seeds from the pulp, or restrict themselves to drinking passion fruit juice. Passion fruit also contains a lot of carotenes, vitamin C, and minerals.

There are close to 500 varieties of passion fruit, some of which are inedible. The two main varieties are Passiflora edulis, a fruit with purple skin and the most common variety found in France, and Passiflora edulis var. Flavicarpa, which has a large yellow fruit.

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