How to Eat Passion Fruit—and Why You Should
Passion fruit is a small, tropical fruit that grows on a vine. It's native to South America but it's grown and enjoyed all over the world. About the size of a lemon, passion fruit has a shiny, wrinkly exterior. There are two common types: yellow and purple. Yellow passion fruit is typically used to make passion fruit juice and purple passion fruit is commonly eaten fresh. (Fruit is an essential part of a healthy diet. Learn why you should eat fruit even though it has sugar here.)
Eating Passion Fruit
Getting to the heart of the fruit is pretty easy. The outside skin is leathery and can be tough, but a sharp kitchen knife is all you need to cut it open. Because the inside is soft and juicy, just cut it in half—no peeling or scoring needed
On the inside is a bright yellow gel-like pulp that surrounds dozens of little black seeds. You can spoon out the pulp and seeds straight from the skin and eat it just like that. The flavor is citrusy, floral and sweet. While you can eat the seeds, you can also strain the passion fruit pulp through a sieve to drink it as a juice or use in recipes.
Selecting Passion Fruit
Like avocados, passion fruit starts to ripen once it's off the vine. There are a few things to look for when you are shopping for this tropical fruit. Like melons, passion fruit contain a good amount of water, so a ripe passion fruit should feel heavy. Wrinkled skin on fruit is usually a bad sign, but not so with passion fruit. The outside of the fruit should have plenty of wrinkles and you should feel a little bit of give when you gently squeeze it. If it's taught and smooth, it needs a little bit more time before being cut open. And when you pick up the fruit and you notice a tropical scent, that's a sign of ripeness.
Storing Passion Fruit
If your passion fruit is not yet ripe, you can keep it on your counter. Once ripe, you can store it in the fridge to make it last a little longer. Passion fruit can also be frozen. You can freeze them whole (skin on) or extract their juice and seeds and freeze them in small containers.
Health Benefits of Passion Fruit
While passion fruit is about the size of a lemon, it's not quite as dense–they each weigh about 17 calories. However small it is, passion fruit contains some vital nutrients and you probably will want to eat more than one at a time! Passion fruit is an excellent source of fiber. For a 1-cup serving, you get 80% of the recommended Daily Value. Passion fruit also supplies iron, which is needed to deliver oxygen to your blood and helps you feel energized. It's also rich in vitamin C—75% Daily Value in that 1-cup portion—which helps with the absorption of iron. (Try these 6 other foods with more vitamin C than an orange.)
How to Cook with Passion Fruit
Adding tropical fruit flavor to chilled desserts is easy with passion fruit. Because the flesh is so loose, it works best as juice, a base for a sauce or to spoon over frozen desserts like vanilla ice cream for texture and flavor. It pairs particularly well with chocolate. It's also a healthy addition to smoothies. The flavor also works with savory food. If you're grilling, try EatingWell's Grilled Island Beef Skewers, which get tropical flavor from a passion fruit marinade.