Just by its name alone, passion fruit already seems intriguing. Although it might initially give the impression that it is the kind of fruit that evokes passion, this is not the case. Actually, the passion fruit got its name from South American Catholic missionaries, who believed that the passion blossom was a reminder of the passion of Christ. To them, the corona symbolized a crown of thorns; the stigma, the nails on the cross; the sepals and petals, which numbered ten in all, the ten apostles with the exception of Peter and Judas; and the stamens, Christ’s wounds.
Besides the emotional story behind its name, there are certain details about the passion fruit that you might find interesting.
- The passion fruit originated in South America but is now grown in different tropical and subtropical countries around the world.
- The Amazon is home to more than two hundred species of passion plants.
- Passion fruits are produced by fast-growing vines that can grow as much as 20 feet in one year. However, it is also short-lived and can only survive a maximum of seven years.
- The several varieties of passion fruit are generally purple or yellow in color. The purple kind, which is also called purple granadilla, is smaller in size but juicier and more flavorful. However, the yellow passion fruit is more widely cultivated.
- Even if passion fruit is still labeled as exotic by most, its culinary uses are many. It can add flavor to sauces and dressings, jams and jellies, smoothies, cocktails, ice cream and pie fillings.
- In selecting passion fruit for eating, choose those that are plump and ripe, and heavy for their size, as this indicates juiciness. Do not be put off at the sight of slightly wrinkled skin, since these are actually the sweetest. When kept in room temperature, passion fruits should be eaten within a couple of days. Otherwise, they can be stored in the refrigerator for up to one week. If you plan on consuming the fruits at a much later time, the best option would be to freeze them.
- Passion fruit has been growing in popularity in recent years. Its juice has a pleasant aroma and a rich flavor, and is delicious when blended with the juices of other fruits like mango, pineapple, peach and orange. Nutrition-wise, the fruit has much to offer, containing Vitamins A and C, antioxidants, iron, potassium, magnesium, riboflavin and niacin.
- If you are having trouble sleeping or feeling anxious most of the time, regular consumption of passion fruit might help. Passion fruit juice and the leaves and flowers of the passion vine contain the alkaloid, harman, which has a mild sedative effect and can aid in inducing sleep.