Spotlight On: Passionfruit

July 10, 2013
Spotlight On: Passionfruit

Originating in South America, the passionfruit – with its thick skin and sweet, seedy orange pulp – is grown in warm climates such as Sri Lanka, South Africa, New Zealand and Australia. Varieties include the common Purple Passionfruit, with thick purple skin, around the size of an egg; Panama, with orangey-purplish skin and sharp, sweet pulp; the Golden Passionfruit, a larger variety with pale yellow skin; and the Banana Passionfruit, with an elongated shape and a tart flavour. 

Rich in vitamin C, dietary fibre, iron, and an excellent source of potassium, the humble passionfruit is a mainstay in Australian fruit bowls. Available all year, they are at their best between December and July. When you’re at the fruit shop or market, pick fruit that is heavy and has slightly wrinkled skin. A passionfruit will last for around 10 days in your fruit bowl (a little longer if you keep it in the fridge).

So how do you eat yours?

Do you cut it in half and scoop out the sweet pulp with a teaspoon?

Or bite off the top and suck out the seedy innards?

In other parts of the world, passionfruit is:

Used to make wine (Israel)
Eaten with chilli powder and lime (Mexico)
Used instead of lime in a caipirinha cocktail (Brazil)
Used to cure raw fish in ceviche (Peru)
Sold with a straw to slurp out the goodness (Philippines)

Love passionfruit? Why not try your hand at growing your own? The best time to plant is in early spring, so start preparing your soil now. Vines should be planted in a sunny, well-drained area, with a trellis or fence to support the creeping tendrils! Passionfruit plants usually flower in mid-spring – their flowers comprise of cream coloured petals, blue radial filaments, and green stamen, and are thought by many to represent Christian theology. With correct pruning and fertilisation, the vine will produce fruit in summer and autumn, with healthy plants offering over 300 fruits per season. Chat to your local nursery for more information.