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All about “Passion fruit”

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Nutritional value of passion fruit

  Raw passion fruit, 2 fruits (36 g)
Calories 35
Protein 0.8g
Carbohydrates 8.4 g
Fat 0.3 g
Dietary fiber 3.7g
Glycemic load No data available
Antioxidant power  Yes, but exact data not available

Sources  : Health Canada. Canadian Nutrient File , 2010.

Health profile of passion fruit

The passion fruit, also called granadilla , is a small tropical bay big as an egg. Its fragrant flesh contains many small black seeds which are a very good source of dietary fiber .

The benefits of passion fruit

Several epidemiological studies have shown that a high consumption of vegetables and fruits decreases the risk of cardiovascular diseases 20 , certain cancers 21 and various chronic diseases , 2,22 . The presence of antioxidants in vegetables and fruits could play a role in this protection.

Little clinical research has studied the effects of specific consumption of passion fruit . However, the use of certain supplements extracted from the peel or fruit juice has yielded interesting results. Here are the most promising applications.

  • Asthma . A small study (43 people) found that regular consumption of a passion fruit peel extract supplement reduced asthma symptoms (decreased prevalence of sputum , cough and shortness of breath ) 23 . Studies will need to be performed on a larger number of subjects to confirm the effectiveness of this treatment.
  • Hypertension . Research has shown that a supplement from passion fruit peel extract can improve systolic and diastolic blood pressure without any side effects . 24 The supplement administered was composed of a mixture of flavonoids, phenolic acids and anthocyanins, active compounds from the passion fruit.
  • Degenerative joint diseases. Another type of supplement , extracted from the skin of the passion fruit, would improve physical function and reduce pain and stiffness in patients with osteoarthritis of the knee 25 . The reported beneficial effects are attributable to the antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties of the passion fruit peel. However, more studies regarding the efficacy and safety of such a supplement will be required before recommendations can be made.
  • Cancer . Researchers have observed in vitro that a mixture of antioxidants from passion fruit juice could decrease the growth of cancer cells and increase the activity of an enzyme that promotes the destruction of these cells 4 .

What does passion fruit contain?

The passion fruit contains several types of antioxidants , compounds that help neutralize free radicals from the body and thereby prevent the development of cardiovascular disease, certain cancers, and various chronic diseases 3 .

The main antioxidants in passion fruit are anthocyanins , more specifically cyanidin 5 . These compounds, which are pigments, give a pronounced color to food. They are said to have beneficial properties in preventing cancer (for example, decreasing tumor formation and decreasing the growth of cancer cells 6 ). These properties have not, however, been studied directly in humans.

The passion fruit skin and the layer of flesh just below it contain a high amount of lycopene 12 , an antioxidant from the carotenoid family . It is enough to scrape the flesh well with a spoon going to the skin to get a good amount of lycopene. Unlike other carotenoids, lycopene does not have the ability to transform into vitamin A in the body 7 . However, its antioxidant action would have beneficial effects on health 8 , in particular on the incidence of cardiovascular disease 9 and prostate cancer 10. Lycopene is better absorbed into the body when the food is consumed with a source of fat , for example nuts or cheese 13 , 14 . Until now, lycopene, specifically from passion fruit, has been relatively little studied. Tomatoes and tomato products are the main sources of lycopene in the diet , 11 .

The skin of the passion fruit as well as its seeds contain insoluble fibers 16 , 26 . These would help, among other things, to prevent constipation by increasing the volume of stools. In general, a diet rich in fiber would be associated with a lower risk of colon cancer and would help to satisfy the appetite by providing a feeling of satiety more quickly 15 .

Research has shown that adding passion fruit seeds to a high cholesterol diet can improve several blood parameters (blood cholesterol, triglycerides ) and certain intestinal functions in animals 18 . However, more studies are needed to find out if passion fruit seeds have the same effects in humans.

Main vitamins and minerals

Source Vitamin C Passion fruit is a source of vitamin C.
Source Iron Passion fruit is a source of iron for humans only.


Allergy to passion fruit and latex . Latex allergy can be associated with allergies to certain foods, such as passion fruit 19 . The reactions are diverse, going from hives to anaphylactic reactions . Given the potential severity of the reactions, special care should be taken when consuming these foods in people who are allergic to latex or pollen. They are recommended to consult an allergist to determine the cause of reactions to certain foods and the precautions to take. Foods potentially associated with latex allergy include avocado, banana, chestnut, kiwi, apricot and papaya.

Recipe ideas

To access other recipes, you can go to the kitchen recipe site, which offers, among other things, the following recipes: passion fruit mousse , passion fruit coulis , passion fruit pie

  • The simplest way to taste passion fruit is to cut it in half and eat it plain , with a teaspoon.
  • If you do not want to eat the seeds , simply pass the flesh through a sieve.
  • Cream. With passion fruit coulis, eggs and milk, make a cream that makes an excellent dessert.
  • Cut the flesh into mashed into a jelly, sorbet, granita, foam or grout. The latter will flavor pancakes, cakes and other pastries or a salad of exotic fruits, for example pineapple, papaya and mango.
with passion fruit
  • Sprinkle a fish or salad with the small seeds of passion fruit, as we do with those of pomegranate.
  • Dessert side sauce . Add the flesh to a mixture of orange juice and dried apricots, with a little honey added. Cook for ten minutes. Switch to the mixer by adding water and cool.
  • In Australia, they make pavlova , a dessert made from baked meringue . It is cooled and topped with whipped cream (which can be replaced by yogurt or tofu beaten with honey) and fresh fruit, including passion fruit.
  • Cook the immature fruit and serve it like a vegetable.

With the juice

  • By pressing the flesh in cheesecloth, you get a thick juice , rich in starch. It can be diluted with water or the juice of other fruits. Or add it to yogurt or milk and thicken the preparation with agar-agar, as is done in South Africa.
  • Marinate game or another meat in juice or coat the meat with passion fruit jelly 15 minutes before the end of cooking.
  • Hot sauce . Reduce the juice by half before blending it with garlic, fresh ginger, red pepper, hot peppers, chives (or the green of 1 or 2 spring onions), cumin and a little cider vinegar.

Choice and conservation

To choose

The fruit should be fragrant and heavy in the hand. Her skin should be wrinkled and give way slightly under pressure. Fruits with hard, smooth and shiny skin, which give the impression of a very great freshness, are in fact immature , not very tasty and rather acid. Depending on the variety, the fruit will be purple or yellow .

The juice is generally presented in mixture with that of other fruits. Read the label carefully to make sure it is a 100% natural juice and not a drink that includes sugar and various artificial ingredients.


Refrigerator . If the skin of the fruit is not very wrinkled , let it ripen at room temperature, then put it in the refrigerator where it will keep for 1 week.

Freezer . Place the flesh in a freezer bag or freeze the whole fruit. You can also make a coulis or juice and pour it into an ice cube tray.

The little story of passion fruit

The term ”  passion flower  “, which designates the plant , appeared for the first time in French in 1808, in the Journal of Botany . It comes from modern Latin passivelora , passio (passion) and flos (flower). To designate the fruit , we rather use the expression “passion fruit”. The term ” grenadilla  ” Which appeared in the language in 1598 refers to its resemblance to the pomegranate. However, the 2 fruits are not of the same botanical genus or of the same family and have not appeared on the same continent. The pomegranate probably comes from the Middle East, while the passion fruit is native to South America. The term ”  maracuja  “, which was adopted in French around 1975, is a Brazilian Indian word which also designates the fruit.

The genus Passiflora is native to South America, more precisely from the Amazon basin , where many species still grow in the wild. It is a climbing plant, similar to the vine. At the end of the XVI th  century, the Spaniards discovered the culinary and medicinal uses that are the Indians of Mexico and South America. They bring seeds from the plant to Europe, where it will be widely cultivated and will become popular as a medicinal plant. North America will also discover its calming properties . Until the mid XX th  century, it will play a significant role in medicine, before being replaced by synthetic drugs.

Among the more than 475 passionflower species listed, only a few are cultivated on a large scale for their fruits . Several others still provide excellent fruits that are eaten locally. The most cultivated species is P. edulis , which is produced in all tropical countries of the globe. It exists in 2 varieties, P. edulis var. edulis and P. edulis var. flavicarpa. The first one grows in the hot lowlands and gives small purple fruits. The second prefers cooler climates at high altitudes and produces larger yellow fruits. This botanical genre arouses much interest among amateur gardeners. Most of its flowers are spectacular and the climbing habit of the plant covers the garden arbors with its abundant foliage.

The main producers of passion fruit are Brazil, Colombia, Ecuador, Peru and Indonesia. The majority of fresh fruit is eaten on site. The concentrated juice is the bulk of exports.

A charged symbolism

The name of this plant directly refers to the Passion of Christ . The religious who saw it for the first time in South America saw, in the flower , the symbol of the last hours of the life of Jesus. The crown with its spiky points would represent the crown of thorns. The 3  styles would be the nails that were used for the crucifixion. The 3  stamens would be the wounds. The 5  petals and the 5  sepals would represent the apostles, excluding Judas who had betrayed Christ and Peter who had denied him. Finally, the tendrils that allow the vine to climb would remind whips.

Organic gardening

With a little luck and good protection during the winter in the form of a mulch, we can grow the species P. incarnata in southern Quebec . At worst, we will have very beautiful purple flowers , at best fruits, small but delicious. A coniferous hedge planted to the west and north will help protect it further.

As it is a climbing plant , it must be provided with a solid support (pole, wooden poles, arbor). The stems will likely die late in the fall, but the roots are likely to survive and give rise to new shoots the following summer.

Regarding the species P. edulis , it will be enough to grow it in a pot (about 30 cm in diameter), because it requires milder temperatures. We will take out the pot during the summer and bring it in the fall before the first frosts. The seeds can be taken from a commercial fruit and sown after removing their gelatinous covering. Cover only with a very thin layer of potting soil, as the seed needs light to germinate. The germination should take place after 3 or 4 weeks.

Beautiful flowers
Many species of passionflower can be grown indoors for their flowers which are all more splendid than each other.

Prune the plant in spring to facilitate its movement from the inside to the outside, but also to allow flowering and fruiting, which occur on the shoots of the year.

Regularly fertilize the plant with algae and fish extract.

Larger fruits are obtained if the plant is pollinated by transferring pollen from one flower to another using an artist’s brush.

It is best to pick only very ripe fruits, that is, when they are about to fall. We can put a net to collect them and prevent them from being damaged by falling.

Ecology and environment

To defend against predatory insects, passionflower uses a variety of strategies. One of them is to secrete cyanogenetic heterosides which, when the larvae of insects eat the leaves of the plant, turn into hydrocyanic acid, a very toxic compound. But the heliconius butterfly , which gets its exclusive source of food from passionflower, has managed to get around the problem. He has developed, over the millennia of evolution, a fairly complex strategy, allowing his larvae to metabolize cyanogenetic heterosides so as to make them harmless. They can therefore nibble in peace the leaves of a plant which would constitute a violent poison for any other insect.

Never mind, passionflower has developed another strategy to specifically combat heliconius larvae. Thanks to small glands called “nectaries” and located on its stems and leaves, it secretes a nectar which delights the ants . The latter are also the main predator of heliconiuses!

Researchers at Stanford University have found that the use of chemical insecticides in the control of heliconius larvae is not only ineffective, but seems paradoxically to contribute to their multiplication. Further study of the habits of these insects has shown that their long use of plant poisons allowed them to quickly acquire resistance to chemical poisons. Ants, on the other hand, succumbed much more easily to these insecticides. In other words, chemical insecticides had the exact opposite effect as expected: it killed predatory ants without eliminating the heliconius larvae.

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