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What is Passion Fruit?

By J.Gunsch
Updated May 16, 2024
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Passion fruit is the edible fruit of the passion flower. Spanish explorers coined the name in honor of the passion of Christ. For them, the appearance of the passion flower symbolized many Christian beliefs. The fruit is also called parcha, markisa and konyal.

There are two types of passion fruit that differ in appearance but taste the same. One is about the size and shape of a large egg, with a purple-brown skin. The other is quite a bit larger, round, and about the size of an orange. This type is bright yellow on the outside. Both contain a jelly-like pulp with hundreds of small black seeds.

Passion fruit by itself tends to taste tart. It is usually used with other types of fruit in recipes to lighten its tangy taste. Along with the flowers, the fruit is known for its sweet smelling fragrance, and because of this, it's sometimes added to food simply to enhance its aroma.

Popular in gourmet cooking, passion fruit is used in many desserts, including mousses and creme brulee. It's also used in some jams. The fruit is also used in main dishes, such as lobster with passion fruit butter sauce. Juice, punch, liqueurs and cocktails have a tropical flair when it's used as an ingredient.

Passion fruit grows on a vine in its native tropical and subtropical regions. Commercially, it is grown in Brazil, the Caribbean, Australia, Africa and some areas of the southern United States. Because of the beauty of its flowers and the high demand for the fruit, the plants have been successfully cultivated in native as well as non-native areas.

The fruit has also been used in traditional medicine, and it is believed by many to have hundreds of medicinal properties. Its natural chemicals are used to lower blood pressure, control muscle spasms, and treat asthma. The fruit and its leaves also work as a sedative, helping to induce sleep and calm nervousness or other mood disorders. Research has suggested that passion fruit extracts may kill cancer cells in developing fetuses. It's also thought to expel worms, kill bacteria, and enhance the libido.

DelightedCooking is dedicated to providing accurate and trustworthy information. We carefully select reputable sources and employ a rigorous fact-checking process to maintain the highest standards. To learn more about our commitment to accuracy, read our editorial process.
Discussion Comments
By anon990759 — On May 08, 2015

@mtngranny. Didn't I read that the seeds were poisonous? This stuff grows wild in my pasture in Central Florida and a visiting friend educated me about it.

By anon940864 — On Mar 20, 2014

Passion fruits are found in plenty in the northeastern belt of India. If you are familiar with the Indian states in Sikkim, they do the wide scale farming, where for $1 you can buy 60 fruits.

By anon300749 — On Oct 31, 2012

I found what I thought looked and smelled like passion fruit on my bike ride in Charlotte, NC along the greenway. The fruit is green - some are smooth skinned, and some are starting to wrinkle. When cut open, they look and smell like passion fruit. I was nervous to try it until I knew what it was. They are attached now to thin vines that are dried up.

Does passion fruit grow in NC? Would the fruit be ripe now, this time of year in October? They do not look like the ones I saw on Maui, but smell similar.

By lluviaporos — On Oct 21, 2012

@clintflint - That's actually one of the more popular ways of dealing with a glut of passion fruit. Preserving it as passion fruit syrup or jam or even in ice cream. Passion fruit is really versatile and the people who love it really adore it (although it seems quite polarizing. I know a few people who can't stand the stuff as well).

I've heard you can simply freeze the pulp with very little preparation and it will keep for months as well.

I guess that's the good thing about the structure of the passionfruit. It's not like other kinds of fruit where you want them to remain crisp. You can freeze it without worrying about that.

By clintflint — On Oct 21, 2012

@anon78502 - Of course it depends on what country you're in, but you're best off trying to sell it at a farmers market, I would imagine. Possibly you'll have a tropical passion fruit growers (or a general fruit growers) association in your area and you can ask them for advice.

Not to be too critical, but you really need to sort out your market before you get to the point of having the fruit on your hands. Unless it's been preserved somehow, you've only got a limited time to get rid of it before it becomes a complete loss.

By bythewell — On Oct 20, 2012

@anon31046 - There are some great articles online for planting passion fruit and caring for the vine. Generally they need relatively warm, sheltered conditions, lots of room for roots and something to grow along. They also need lots of fertilizer.

I would try getting a nice hybrid from the garden store rather than trying to deal with an established but sick plant. Passion fruit vines are very finicky in my experience and you could spend a lot of time trying to get it to come right without much reward.

Of course that's just my experience, if someone else has a different experience you should let us know.

By anon213862 — On Sep 12, 2011

Just wondering: Does anyone have a picture of the NC version of the passion vine? I have had it for years and it never (at least to my knowledge) produced fruit. Right now, there are at least three prune-sized, green fruits (smooth-skinned) on the vine. Will they be edible? How do I know? There are probably many different varieties!

By anon166094 — On Apr 07, 2011

we want to buy passion fruit. please tell us where we can buy it.

By anon145008 — On Jan 21, 2011

what is a passion fruit? A stone fruit? exotic fruit?

By anon78502 — On Apr 19, 2010

i have 2 tons of passion fruit to sell but which area should i talk to? Please advise.

By anon75841 — On Apr 08, 2010

I got some passion fruit from a friend in Genting Highland, Pahang, Malaysia. I dried the seed and sow them in a plastic bag. Now I planted them on ground and they are about 100mm tall after five weeks.

By anon48674 — On Oct 14, 2009

i just gathered some here in alabama. yes they are unripe passion fruit.

By anon34796 — On Jun 28, 2009

@mtngranny

they kind of look like what you're describing, they're green when they're ripe, and they taste like a fruit salad.

By anon31046 — On Apr 28, 2009

How do you take care of a Passion Fruit plant?

By mtngranny — On Sep 12, 2008

One of the boys in the neighborhood brought me a seed pod that they found along the river bank. I live in western North Carolina. It appears to be a passionfruit except for some discrepancies. First it is med. green in color. It has a thin rind and when cut open looks similar to a pomegranate except the seeds are white and the inside seed is a yellow color. If it is just an unripe passionfruit i will feel stupid but it seems to be fully ripe and the seeds were sweet and tasty. any info is appreciated.

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