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19 Fun Facts About Passionfruit You Should Know

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Passionfruit are delightfully tropical fruits that offer a sweet-tart flavor and smooth, edible seeds. Their unique appearance and taste make them popular around the world. While you may know passionfruit as an ingredient in juices or desserts, there’s much more to learn about this exotic fruit. Read on for 19 fascinating passionfruit facts!

A Brief History of Passionfruit

Passionfruit originates from South America, namely Brazil, Paraguay, and northern Argentina. Early Spanish explorers first discovered the fruit in the 16th century and brought seeds back to Europe. From there, passionfruit spread to other tropical regions like Hawaii, Florida, Africa, Australia, and Asia. The name “passionfruit” comes from Catholic missionaries who drew comparisons between passionfruit flowers and the “Passion of Christ” from the Bible.

Nutrition Facts

Passionfruit offers an impressive nutrition profile in a small package. Here are some of their top nutrients per 100 grams serving:

  • Vitamin C: 30 mg – over 1/3 of your daily needs
  • Dietary fiber: 10 g – supporting healthy digestion
  • Potassium: 348 mg – promoting heart health and fluid balance
  • Vitamin A: 14% DV
  • Iron: 10% DV

They’re also high in antioxidants like carotenoids and flavonoids to combat free radicals. Their seeds provide additional fiber, protein, and fat.

Passion fruit isolated on white background
Passion fruit isolated on white background

Fun Fact #1: There Are Over 500 Varieties

The two main types of passionfruit are purple passionfruit (Passiflora edulis) and yellow passionfruit (Passiflora edulis f. flavicarpa). But there are actually over 500 different cultivars and hybrid varieties around the world! Popular varieties include:

  • Kahuna – large, purple Hawaiian passionfruit
  • Auckland – sweet, frost-resistant purple passionfruit
  • Golden Giant – very large yellow passionfruit
  • Panama Red – sweet red-skinned passionfruit

Fun Fact #2: They Grow on Beautiful Vines

In tropical climates, passionfruit grows on fast-growing, climbing vines that can reach over 20 feet long. Their vines produce gorgeous 3-inch flowers in shades of purple, blue, red, or white. A passionfruit vine can produce fruit for over 20 years if cared for properly!

Fun Fact #3: Only One Flower Blooms per Day

Passionfruit vines produce hundreds of flowers during the fruiting season. But surprisingly, each vine only opens one flower per day. It’s uncertain why passionfruit vines evolved this way. But it may help support pollination by ensuring each new flower gets adequate attention from bees, insects, and wind.

Fun Fact #4: The Fruit is Actually a Berry

While passionfruit may look like an exotic citrus fruit, it’s actually a type of berry! Botanically speaking, berries have seeds and pulp (flesh) that surround them. Other fruits that are botanically classified as berries include tomatoes, bananas, watermelon, eggplant, and grapes.

Fun Fact #5: They Must Be Picked at Peak Ripeness

Timing is everything when harvesting passionfruit. They must be picked once the skin wrinkles – waiting too long risks the fruit falling to the ground and spoiling.On the other hand, picking them too early means they’ll never reach their peak sweetness and flavor! So farmers must carefully monitor ripeness.

Fun Fact #6: Passionfruit is Hawaii’s State Fruit

The purple passionfruit earned its honor as Hawaii’s official state fruit in 2003. Hawaii’s tropical climate is perfectly suited for passionfruit to thrive. And Hawaiians incorporate passionfruit into drinks, desserts, salads, and more. Other state fruits across the U.S. include blueberries (Maine), blackberries (Alabama), strawberries (Arkansas), and oranges (Florida).

Fun Fact #7: The Pulp Can Be Many Colors

Close up of Passion fruit
Close up of Passion fruit

While passionfruit rinds are purple or yellow, their inner pulp and seeds come in many hues. Depending on the variety, you may find orange, red, green, dark brown, or even white passionfruit pulp. For example, the Panama Red variety has bright red flesh, while the Golden Giant has orange-yellow pulp.

Fun Fact #8: The Seeds are Edible

Passionfruit seeds contribute a fun, pop-able texture to the flesh. Their small, dark seeds are entirely edible – seed coat and all!In fact, eating the seeds is encouraged. They contain high amounts of fiber, protein, and fat to complement the fruit’s vitamin C.

Fun Fact #9: They’re Pollinated by Bats

In native regions like Peru and Brazil, bats play an important role as passionfruit plant pollinators. The bats are attracted to the flowers’ musty smell and feast on the nectar. Butterflies, bees, moths, and hummingbirds also aid in passionfruit vine pollination.

Fun Fact #10: It’s Frequently Used in Juice Blends

On their own, passionfruit can taste quite tart. So they’re often combined with sweeter juices like mango, pineapple, orange or guava. This balances out the flavor in refreshing juice blends. Some popular juice mixers include POM Wonderful and Ceres fruit juices.

Fun Fact #11: The Rind Provides Unique Flavor

While we don’t eat passionfruit peels, the rind imparts important flavor. Passionfruit seeds and juice are typically strained before consumption. But the rinds get blended in during processing to provide tropical, slightly tart notes.

Fun Fact #12: Australians Love Passionfruit

Australia is one of the world’s top passionfruit producers and consumers. Australians devour passionfruit on a regular basis as juice, yogurt flavoring, chutney, cheesecake filling, and more. Australia grows over 2,000 hectares of passionfruit each year – mostly in Queensland and New South Wales.

Fun Fact #13: It’s a Superfood for Heart Health

Passionfruit provides stellar nutrition for cardiovascular health. They’re packed with fiber, vitamin C, potassium, and chock-full of polyphenols. Together, these nutrients improve blood pressure, cholesterol levels, blood vessel function, and platelet aggregation. This all adds up to better heart health!

Fun Fact #14: Passionfruit Extract Fights Wrinkles

The seeds of passionfruit contain high amounts of piceatannol – a natural compound with anti-aging benefits. Studies show that piceatannol-rich passionfruit seed extract can boost collagen production and reduce wrinkle depth. So while eating passionfruit won’t erase wrinkles overnight, their nutrients support youthful, glowing skin over time.

Fun Fact #15: It May Ease Asthma Symptoms

Passion fruit
Passion fruit

Early research suggests passionfruit peel extracts could help asthma sufferers. Compounds in the peel called alkaloids displayed bronchodilatory effects in animal studies. This means they relax constricted airways to improve breathing.More studies are needed, but it’s a promising start!

Fun Fact #16: The Rind Makes a Natural Cleaner

Don’t throw away passionfruit peels! Their aromatic oils can be used to make fragrant, eco-friendly household cleaners. Simply blend peels with water, strain out the solids, and use the liquid as an all-purpose spray. The passionfruit juice cuts grease and leaves behind a tropical scent.

Fun Fact #17: Passionfruit Flavor is Used in Over 500 Foods

Walk down a grocery aisle and you’re bound to find passionfruit flavoring in everything from yogurt to soda. In fact, over 500 varieties of foods and beverages contain passionfruit – it’s that popular! Some of the most common passionfruit-flavored products include Greek yogurt, ice cream, candy, cocktails, vinaigrettes, and glazes for meat and fish.

Fun Fact #18: It’s a Symbol of Peace and Love in India

In parts of India, passionfruit flowers represent peace, love, and faithfulness. You may see passionfruit vines grown on backyard trellises simply for their beauty and symbolic meaning. The flowers only last one day – but their powerful message lingers on!

Fun Fact #19: Passionfruit Can Live for Over 20 Years

With proper care, a single passionfruit vine can keep producing fruit for over two decades! That includes providing sturdy trellises for support, ample sunlight, regular water, and pruning at the right times. In ideal tropical climates, passionfruit is considered a perennial plant. So once established, they’ll thrive for years on end.

Passion Fruit Mousse
Passion Fruit Mousse

Passionfruit FAQ

Where does passionfruit originate from?

Passionfruit is native to South America, with origins specifically in Brazil, Paraguay, and northern Argentina. The fruit was discovered by Spanish explorers in the 16th century and has since spread globally to other tropical regions.

What are the nutritional benefits of passionfruit?

Passionfruit is rich in nutrients, providing over one-third of the daily Vitamin C needs per 100 grams, as well as dietary fiber, potassium, Vitamin A, and iron. It also contains antioxidants that fight free radicals and has seeds packed with fiber, protein, and healthy fats.

How many varieties of passionfruit are there?

There are over 500 varieties of passionfruit worldwide, including popular ones like Kahuna, Auckland, Golden Giant, and Panama Red. The two main types are purple passionfruit (Passiflora edulis) and yellow passionfruit (Passiflora edulis f. flavicarpa).

What is unique about harvesting passionfruit?

Passionfruit must be picked at the precise moment when the skin starts to wrinkle for optimal sweetness and flavor. If picked too early or too late, the fruit may not develop its full taste or might spoil.

What role do passionfruit vines play in their environment?

Passionfruit vines are known for their beautiful flowers and can produce fruit for over 20 years with proper care. Each vine only allows one flower to bloom per day to ensure efficient pollination by bees, insects, bats, and wind.

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