An egg-shaped tropical fruit that is also called a purple granadilla, the passion fruit has a brittle, wrinkled purple-brown rind enclosing flesh-covered seeds, something like a pomegranate (granadilla means "little pomegranate" in Spanish). The seeds are edible so you can eat the orange pulp straight from the shell. Passion fruit is more commonly sieved and its highly aromatic pulp and juice are used as a flavoring for beverages and sauces. The pulp has an intense aromatic flavor, while the texture is jelly-like and watery. The flavor is likened to guava.
Native to Brazil, passion fruits are grown in Hawaii, Florida, and California. These crops, along with imports from New Zealand, keep passion fruit on the market all year.
Choose large, heavy, firm fruit. When ripe, it has wrinkled, dimpled, deep purple skin. Skin is old-looking, but does not mean the fruit is rotten. Mold does not affect quality and can be wiped off. Fruit color is green when they are immature, changing to shades of purple, red or yellow as they ripen. Leave at room temperature to ripen. The skin will wrinkle, but the fruit will not soften much. Once ripe, store in the refrigerator up to 1 week.
Passion Fruit is generally eaten fresh but may be cooked for use in sauces and fillings. Begin by cutting the fruit in half and scooping out the fleshy pulp with a spoon. Spoon the pulp over ice cream or other soft fruits. The pulp makes a delicious jam or jelly and the seeds add a unique crunchy texture. To remove seeds: Strain in a non-aluminum sieve, or use cheesecloth, squeezing to extract the juice.
New Zealand Passion Fruit is purple while the Hawaiian variety is yellow.
Black Knight Developed in Massachusetts. This variety is fragrant with a dark purple-black fruit, the size and shape of large egg and excellent flavor.
Edgehill Originated in Vista, Calif. Similar to Black Knight, but more vigorous. It has a longer growing period and produces a larger purple fruit. One of the best outdoor cultivars for Southern California.
Frederick Originated in Lincoln Acres, Calif. This variety is a large, nearly oval fruit, greenish-purple with reddish cast, slightly tart flavor, good for eating out of hand, and excellent for juicing.
Kahuna This variety is very large with a medium purple color in the fruit. It has a sweet, tart flavor that is good for juicing.
Paul Ecke Originated in Encinitas, Calif., It is a medium-sized purple fruit of very good quality that is suitable for juicing and eating out of hand.
Purple Giant This is a very large variety of fruit and is dark purple when mature.
Red Rover Originated in Lincoln Acres, Calif. This variety is medium to large, roundish, with a rind in an attractive clear red color. This variety has a sweet, notably rich flavor with tart overtones. It is good for eating out of hand or juicing.
Brazilian Golden Large, golden-yellow fruits, larger than standard forms, the flavor is somewhat tart. It has an extremely vigorous vine, requiring cross-pollination. This variety has extra large, fragrant flowers, white with a dark center that blooms during mid-summer. Produces one large crop beginning in late August or early September
Golden Giant A large yellow-fruited cultivar that originated in Australia.