Passion Fruit – Granadilla, Purple Granadilla, Yellow Passion Fruit
Passion fruit comes in a couple of different varieties.
Passion fruit is one of the few antioxidant fruits that not only improves your physical health, but also your mental health. Native to areas ranging form southern Brazil, Paraguay, all the way to Argentina, this fruit can be used in the treatment of anxiety, depression, and even sleep disorders like insomnia. Passion fruit comes in two varieties. One is a dark purple color once it has reached maturity and has a less acidic, richer taste. The other turns yellow at maturity and is typically large than the purple kind. Unlike the purple passion fruit, the yellow passion fruit does not have a known origin, although people have speculated that it may be Brazil.
Passion Fruit, Granadilla, Purple Granadilla
Passion fruit goes by many names, its scientific one being Passiflora edulis for the purple fruit and Passiflora edulis flavicarpa for the yellow, while another common name is Granadilla (or Purple Granadilla). Purple passion fruit is a subtropical fruit that will only flower and fruit in altitudes above 3,200 ft. Yellow passion fruit is tropical and can be grown from just above sea level up to the altitude of 2,000 ft. It is interesting that these varieties of passion fruit differ to such a degree. The people of Brazil tend to use the purple fruit to eat raw, while they prefer the yellow fruit for juice extractions and the creation of preserves. Australians absolutely love the purple passion fruit and vastly favor it over the yellow for all preparations.
Passion Fruit Across the World
To this day, you will encounter the most powerful and well-established passion flower industry in Brazil – this is where this juicy fruit originated, after all. Since the fruit is so common there and so beloved, you’ll find it being consumed in many different forms: raw, in mousses and juices, baked products and ice cream.
Australia and New Zealand also have long-standing passion fruit industries that slowly, but steadily flourished before and during the 20th century. In Australia, the purple variety of passion fruit is more common. However the crops were constantly threatened by a condition called ‘woodiness’ that interfered with the fruit’s natural development. This is why farmers had to come up with suitable and more fungus-resistant substitutes.
The same issue was present with New Zealand passion fruit crops, but thankfully farmers found a way to keep the situation under control throughout the years and are nowadays exporting juices and fruits.
Hawaii also has a thriving industry of passion fruit, this time of the yellow variety, and you can see this fruit casually being enjoyed in cocktails and creative desserts.
The passion fruit plant is quite susceptible to infestations brought on by easily-spreadable fungi, so it faced the same challenges when it was grown on a larger scale in Kenya and Uganda. Both these countries struggled to maintain healthy crops throughout the years and eventually decided to plant passion fruit within small areas, in order to avoid quick infestation.
India also has a steady passion fruit industry, yielding plenty of yellow passion fruit each year. The passion fruit plant was not so heavily threatened by diseases in South Africa, where it still flourishes to this day. The Blue Mountains of Jamaica are also riddled with abundant purple passion fruit crops.
This is exactly why passion fruit also has an impressive string of alternate names, each one specific to the culture that embraced this amazing fruit. Having said this, passion fruit will be called maracujá in Brazil and Portugal, mburucuyá in Argentina, Paraguay and Uruguay and maracuyá in Bolivia,Costa Rica, Panama, Ecuador, Mexico, Honduras and Peru. As we move further away across the globe, the denomination sees increasing change: we have chinola for passion fruit in the Dominican Republic, lilikoi in Hawaii, markisa in Indonesia and calala in Nicaragua.
What’s In a Passion Fruit?
Let’s take a closer look at the nutritional value of a purple passion fruit to better understand why it’s so beneficial for our health. A cup of purple passion fruit (236 g) has 66 mg of sodium, 1.7 g of fat, 24.5 g of fiber and 5.2 g of protein – all this while only packing in 229 calories.
Additionally, you’ll also find this powerful antioxidant fruit to contain an incredible amount of vitamins and minerals that will keep your immune system healthy and sturdy, ready to fight off a myriad of troublesome health conditions.
- Vitamin C – this vitamin is at the core of what makes the immune system function properly at all times. It’s the ingredient that makes sure all tissues in the body are healthy and repaired accordingly when due. Vitamin C also takes a front row in building collagen and helping the body recover from wounds. When you have a diet that’s rich in vitamin C, you’ll also see healthy development in your teeth and bone system.
- Vitamin A – is responsible for the healthy maintenance of your eye health and for the prevention of age-related macular degeneration.
- Potassium – this mineral will help you keep anxiety and depression at bay. Your mood and fluid levels will be regulated with the help of potassium. This mineral will also help with muscle contraction and will maintain healthy nerve signaling.
- Calcium – your bone system and nerves will benefit greatly when you’re on a calcium-rich diet. Whenever you pair it with vitamin D, this mineral may also help prevent diabetes, certain cancers and high blood pressure.
- Iron – when you have optimal levels of iron in your body, you can also make sure your energy levels are at an optimal rate. Iron will also regulate your body temperature, while also ensuring the gastrointestinal processes are running smoothly.
- Phosphorus – this mineral is responsible for reducing muscle pain after exercising, as well as managing how the body uses its energy. It also helps grow, maintain and repair tissue and cells.
- Vitamin K – this plays an essential part in blood clotting, the healthy functioning of the bone metabolism and regulating blood calcium levels.
Apart from these, the wondrous passion fruit also contains choline, magnesium, folate and niacin.
Magnesium will help fight off anxiety and depression, while also relaxing your muscles. Folate is one of the B-vitamins and it helps create red and white cells in the bone marrow, while also producing DNA and RNA. Niacin or more commonly known vitamin B3, on the other hand, helps lower bad cholesterol levels, may help prevent heart disease and type 1 diabetes. Choline serves to protect your memory and cognitive brain functions.
Passion Fruit to Improve Mental Health
The flowers of the passion fruit vine have been used traditionally in folk medicine as a calming agent, usually for the purpose of helping someone fall asleep. Researchers who published a study in “Phytotherapy Research” were able to find that the flowers had a depressant effect on the nonspecific central nervous system. Another study in “Anesthesia and Analgesia” tested whether the flower could be used to effectively treat anxiety in patients about to undergo surgery. The results were positive – that passion fruit flower can reduce anxiety without necessarily causing sedation.
While passion fruit and its flowers (and even its vine) can have positive effects on your mental health, it is worthwhile to make sure this plant doesn’t have any contraindications with the medicine you’re on. If you’re taking medication regularly, check with your doctor that it’s safe for you to try passion fruit flower before doing it. Better safe than sorry!
Physical Health Benefits
The yellow passion fruit, also known as the maracuya, has traditional medicinal uses as well. Similar to cranberries, its juice can be used to treat urinary tract infections. Passion fruit has also shown potential in treating asthma, thanks in part to its vitamin C and potassium content (although that’s not the only reason). Passion fruit is one of the vitamin, mineral, and fiber rich fruits when it comes down to it. Currently, there is research being done to establish whether passion fruit can fight chronic inflammation. If so, this is just one more benefit to add to the ever-expanding list.
Yellow Passion Fruit, or “maracuyá”
Traditional medicine uses it for urinary tract infections, much like the cranberry. The Vitamin C, potassium and other relaxing agents in this fruit, may help with asthma or spasmodic coughing conditions.
The nutritional benefits of are:
It can help with:
- Urinary Tract Infection
Studies suggest that the Fruit can fight chronic inflammation, which is increasingly being linked to more diseases.
How to Best Choose Passion Fruit
Passion fruit is a very accessible fruit, in that it doesn’t require any special preparation before eating. All you need to do is ensure the passion fruit you choose is ripe enough to eat, so that you get the most of its amazing aroma and taste.
Whenever you pick up a passion fruit, you will need to assess it with all your senses. If it feels heavy enough in your hands, then it means the fruit is ripe and ready to be eaten.
The skin of the passion fruit can either be smooth or wrinkly. However the wrinkles will always be an indicator that the fruit is ripe. The skin should also be clear, without any spots or signs of discoloration. Depending on where and how it was grown, the skin of the passion fruit may still hold some pesticide residue, so make sure you wash it before you eat it.
As soon as you’re done washing it, you can either scoop the content out or eat the fleshy pulp straight out of the pulp – a juicy, fun-filled experience that will add to your enjoyment of eating a passion fruit.
Passion Fruit and Its Myriad Uses
Passion fruit has been around for so long and it’s been enjoyed for many centuries in countries across the globe. As a consequence, people have many ways in which they can integrate this highly versatile fruit into their lifestyle.
Having said this, you can either make passion fruit a steady and reoccuring ingredient in your healthy lifestyle or you can simply add it now and then to your diet.
- Passion fruit makes an excellent ingredient for delicious drinks, whether we’re talking about teas, juices or smoothies. Its delicious aroma will make any drink simply irresistible. More than this, passion fruit has also made a name for itself as an impressive ingredient in cocktails all around the world. Regardless if you’re ordering a passion fruit colada in Hawaii or a passion fruit mojito in Brazil, you’ll be spellbound by what tremendous aroma this fruit can add to any drink.
- Baked goods are also one way to enjoy your tasty passion fruit, while also becoming creative. If you’re eager to try your hand at the more exciting baked desserts including passion fruit as an ingredient, go for cakes, puddings, eclairs, curds and panna cottas. Passion fruit can be added to just about anything, so your willingness to experiment will make all the difference.
How Do You Store Passion Fruit?
If your passion fruit has smooth skin, you should know the fruit is not ripe yet. Not to worry though, you can still leave it for a couple of days on your kitchen counter, at room temperature, for 3-5 days. You will need to wait for its skin to get darker, after that it’s nice and ready to be eaten.
If your passion fruit is already ripe, you can refrigerate it for up to 2 days. You can also freeze your passion fruit, so you can consume it at a later date – the pulp and the seeds can be frozen for up to 3 months. Having said this, you can also easily freeze the entire passion fruit and only take it out when you are ready to prepare it into something tasty.
As you can see, passion fruit is an incredible fruit that’s been properly recognized and used throughout the centuries all across the globe – and for good reasons too. It’s incredibly potent in preventing unwanted health conditions, while also being extremely versatile and easy to naturally blend into your daily diet.
See common names for the Fruit by going to our Passion Fruit Names webpage.
An excellent source for more information about the passion fruit is on the Califorantioxidant-fruits.coma Rare Fruit Growers’ website.
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