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Passion Fruit: Nutrition, Storage, How to Pick and Eat

passion-fruitby Libby Mills, M.S., R.D., L.D.N.

Passion Fruit Nutrition

Rich in vitamin C, beta-carotene and fiber, passion fruit rivals other Amazon wonder-fruits with nutrition and antioxidants. And one of these purple beauties has around 15 to 20 calories.

How to Pick a Passion Fruit

In the United States, farmers grow numerous varieties of passion fruit in California, Florida and Hawaii. Whether they’re yellow, purple or even spotted with yellow and purple, they “pretty much taste the same,” says Ken Love, executive director of Hawaii Tropical Fruit Growers.

“Select the heaviest, smoothest fruit,” advises Marilyn Rittenhouse Harris, author of Tropical Fruit Cookbook. Wrinkly shells are fine, but too soft may mean an off flavor. Inside, the yellowish pulp specked with tiny black seeds “has an enticing, tropical aroma and a pungent, refreshing taste,” she says.

Passion Fruit Storage

Ripen fruit at room temperature. “Eating slightly green, almost ripe fruits are OK but they’ll usually lack the juice and sweetness of perfectly ripe passion fruit,” says Love.

Ripe passion fruit keeps about a week refrigerated. Avoid plastic bags.

Juice and separated pulp are good refrigerated for a week and frozen for a year using high-quality, freezer-grade reclosable plastic bags. “Neither the freshness nor the quality of the pulp dissipates through long storage, freezing or processing,” says Harris.

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newsletter-graphicHow to Eat Passion Fruit

You can simply enjoy spooning the juicy, guava-like fruit from its shell. “Our chefs use the fruit for sorbet, savory fish sauces and coleslaw,” says Love. Here are some other ideas for eating passion fruit:
  • Combine with citrus.
  • Flavor milk, yogurt and ice creams.
  • Complement tomatoes and peppers in relishes.
  • Accent chicken, fish, shellfish or pork.

Normally, you eat the seeds, which are soft and provide lots of fiber. But for smooth textures, like for jelly, separate the seeds by scooping with heat, which dissolves the gumminess between them and the pulp, says Harris: Scoop everything into a container and warm it on the stove or in a microwave at medium for 30 seconds. “Then strain, cool, and refrigerate or freeze the pulp.”

Registered dietitian LIBBY MILLS, M.S., R.D., L.D.N., is president of Professional Living, a coaching firm for healthy corporate living, in Philadelphia.

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Last updated and/or approved: June 2011.
Original article appeared in May/June 2009 former print magazine. Bio current as of that issue. This general health-care information is not meant as individual advice. Please see our disclaimer.
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