and ice cream – you remember us. You know a lot of people think our name means that we create passion in the people who eat us. We may do that but that’s not why we’re called a passionfruit. You see, we come from South America and when the Spanish missionaries first saw us they thought our flowers portrayed ‘Christ’s passion on the cross’ – passion here meaning suffering rather than pleasure – because it showed the Three Nails, the Five Wounds, the Crown of Thorns and the Apostles. I’ll tell you more of our history later, but for now let me introduce you to my family.
We come in several distinct types, varying in size, colour and taste. We common, or purple, passionfruit are the size of an egg, round to egg-shaped with a thick, purple skin, which becomes dull and wrinkled as we ripen. Inside, our pulp is yellowish-orange, sweet and jelly-like with many edible, black seeds covered in jelly-like pulp. Some varieties are yellow, some are banana-shaped, others are larger than the purple passionfruit.
We’re available all year round with our peak being from December to July.
We have a purple, hard, dimpled skin with yellowish-orange pulp.
We have a hard dimpled yellow skin and pale orange to yellow pulp.
We have a smooth hard purple to pink skin with fragrant sharp-sweet, yellow-orange pulp with black seeds.
We have an elongated shape, 8-10cm in length with soft smooth skin and a delicious tart pulp inside.
We grow on a vine which is often trellised as it’s a vigorous plant and, with the help of long snake-like tendrils, will climb over large structures. Its leaves are large, shiny, green and divided into three distinct lobes. Flowers vary depending on variety. Purple passionfruit has beautiful flowers with a crown-like appearance – white banded with purple. We prefer to grow in a tropical climate with a moderate to high rainfall in a fertile, well drained soil.
Before we ripen our skin is a soft almond green colour and as we mature it turns harder and, depending on the variety, a purple/black or golden colour.
Select those of us that are heavy for our size with smooth to slightly wrinkled skin.
Store us in a fruit bowl for up to 10 days or refrigerate for a longer period.
We come from a large family of several hundred species. Most of us are native to the South and Central American tropics, Brazil, Mexico, and the West Indies, but there are species which are native to Australia. It was the Spanish explorers who took us back to Europe with them from South America and from there we spread around the world.
We were taken to England in the early 1800’s and probably came to Australia at the same time.
We are one fruit where you eat the seeds and discard the skin. Just cut us in half, scoop out the flesh with a spoon and eat. We make a good topping for ice cream, cakes, tarts, pavlova; we’re good in fruit salads, drinks, sauces, jam, flummeries or with meat. Freeze our pulp in ice cube trays for later use or simply freeze us whole.
Try these recipes and see what you think:
Mix cream cheese and passionfruit pulp. Spread over a couple of slices of raisin toast. Sprinkle with finely chopped pecans and cut into quarters.
Passionfruit Cream In Meringue Cups
Mix passionfruit pulp through apricot yoghurt. Spoon into small prepared meringue shells (these can be bought ready-made). Decorate with strawberry and kiwifruit. Sprinkle with grated chocolate.
Smoked Chicken Salad With Passionfruit Dressing
Toss 2 cups diced smoked chicken with 1 diced avocado, 1 cup diced paw paw or rockmelon and 1/2 cup sliced celery. Mix 1/4 cup each passionfruit pulp and orange juice, 1 tablespoon each lemon juice and salad oil. Pour over salad and sprinkle with thinly sliced red onion and chopped mint.