By Jan Bilton
Passionfruit were first discovered around 1700 in the jungles of Brazil by a Jesuit priest. They were named the ‘Passion of Christ’ because the plant’s flower resembled religious symbols.
An alternative name for passionfruit, granadilla, literally means ‘little pomegranate’. The interior of the passionfruit, which is full of little black seeds, is vaguely similar to that of the pomegranate.
Botanically, passionfruit are a berry and there are many varieties. Kiwis are most familiar with the purple-skinned passionfruit which has the most concentrated flavour. They are at their sweetest when the skin starts to wrinkle. Store smooth-skinned fruit at room temperature until wrinkled, then refrigerate keeping them as dry as possible.
About six passionfruit provide half a cup of pulp. The fruit are rich in vitamin C and low in calories.
One of the best ways to preserve passionfruit is to combine one cup of pulp and one cup of sugar. Bring to the boil, stirring to dissolve the sugar, then pour into sterilised jars and seal.
Passionfruit pulp can also be frozen. Mix three tablespoons of sugar with one cup of pulp. Pour into ice cube trays and place in the freezer. When solid, turn out into a plastic bag and seal.
- Jan Bilton is a Cambridge-based, professional food writer. For more of her recipes see her website here.