Pleasantly sweet and tart, passion fruit or granadilla is rich in health benefiting plant nutrients. Botanically this exotic fruit belongs to the family of Passifloraceae, of the genus Passiflora. Scientific name: Passiflora edulis.
Passion fruits grow on vines, and are native to South America. There are purple and yellow varieties, and the fruits vary in size from about the size of a plum to the size of a grapefruit. They have a taut shiny skin when freshly picked, and their skin becomes shriveled and wrinkled as they ripen. Their flavor is very astringent and refreshingly tart when the fruit is fresh. Their flavor becomes sweeter and more complex as the fruit ripens. Some people like to wait until the fruits are overripe and the pulp has an almost fermented taste.
Passion fruits have unique tart, and sweet-flavor and sweet taste. It has a gelatinous seed-filled pulp which can be easily scooped out with a spoon. Purple passion fruits are generally smaller but more flavorful than yellow-golden passions. Inside, the fruit consists of membranous sacs containing light orange-colored, pulpy juice with numerous small, hard, dark-brown or black, pitted seeds. Yellow passions are generally larger than the purple varieties, but the pulp of the purple fruit is less acid, richer in aroma and flavor, and has a higher proportion of juicy pulp.
In the stores, buy fruits that are well ripe, plump and heavy for their size. Fruits with wrinkle surface are actually more flavorful and rich in sugar.
Avoid overtly mature fruits. Minor cuts and spots are common on the skin. Such small abrasions on the fruit surface usually do not influence the quality of the fruit.
Once at home, store them in fruit basket and place in cool dark place where they keep well for 1-2 days. Ripe fruits may be kept in the refrigerator for up to one week. In addition, passion fruit freezes well. Simply scoop the pulp into a bowl, add a little sugar, and freeze in the chillier tray.
Delicious, passion fruit is rich source of antioxidants, minerals, vitamins and fiber. 100 g fruit contains about 97 calories.
The fruit is a very good source of dietary fiber. 100 g fruit pulp contains 10.4 g or 27% of fiber. Good fiber in the diet helps remove cholesterol from the body. In addition dietary insoluble fiber by acting as a bulk laxative helps protect the colon mucous membrane by decreasing exposure time to toxic substances in the colon as well as binding to cancer-causing chemicals in the colon.
Passion fruit is good in vitamin C, providing about 30 mg per 100 g. Vitamin-C (ascorbic acid) is a powerful water soluble anti-oxidant. Consumption of fruits rich in vitamin C helps the body develop resistance against flu-like infectious agents and scavenge harmful, pro-inflammatory free radicals.
The fruit contains very good levels of vitamin-A (provides about 1274 IU per 100 g), and flavonoid antioxidants such as β-carotene and cryptoxanthin-β. Current research studies suggest that these compounds have antioxidant properties, and along with vitamin A are essential for good eye-sight.
Vitamin A is also required maintaining healthy mucus membranes and skin. Consumption of natural fruits rich in vitamin-A, and flavonoids helps to protect from lung and oral cavity cancers.
Fresh granadilla is very rich in potassium. 100 g fruit pulp has about 348 mg of potassium. Potassium is an important component of cells and body fluids, and helps regulate heart rate and blood pressure.
Furthermore, granadilla is a very good source of minerals. Iron, copper, magnesium and phosphorus are present in adequate amounts in the fruit.