PASSIONFRUIT

The scent of passionfruit is by far its most compelling attribute. A heady combination of sweet and earthy, the retronasal impact contributes a great deal to the flavor of the passionfruit.

PassionfruitsIt has an interesting mouthfeel, sort of crossing between a berry and a smooshy papaya; with a flavor that is both sweet and tart. Because the smell was so intensely sweet, I was a little surprised to experience a hint of tart and an astringent quality upon first taste.

There are several different varieties of passionfruit, which originates in South America but has made its way to other landscapes with subtropical climates.  

The fruit is a product of a very interesting and quite beautiful flowering vine. In the U.S. the chances are you will find the purple passionfruit more readily than the gold. If you’ve never eaten passionfruit it is an adventure for several reasons, not the least of which is how it looks when you cut it open. Then there is the interesting combination of the intensity of smell and flavor, which are slightly but pleasantly at odds with each other. The best way to eat a passionfruit? Just cut it open and scoop it right out of its skin, seeds and all.

PassionFlower

From a culinary perspective, passionfruit can add an exotic note to any dish, both sweet and savory.  It can be an added or featured flavor to the obvious dessert items like smoothies, ice cream, pies, and puddings; and it also is an interesting addition to savory dishes like rice, or ginger passionfruit chicken. This morning’s passionfruit flavor was half a passionfruit scooped into oatmeal with pumpkin seeds. Super delicious.

From a health perspective, passionfruit is like its tropical fruit cousins, packed with vitamins A and C. They are also a rich source of potassium and magnesium. They’re high in fiber and with the addition of the seeds they pack in plenty of antioxidants. Research suggests that eating the pulp and including the seeds can help lower blood pressure and provide other beneficial support to the entire cardiovascular system. Interestingly, studies show that the seeds have a beneficial impact on the lungs, decreasing shortness of breath and symptoms of asthma. Some studies have been conducted using an extract derived from the peel and shown success in decreasing joint pain and stiffness for people suffering from osteoarthritis.