In Season: Passion Fruit

Some cultures believe that after eating a passion fruit you’ll fall in love with the next person your eyes fall upon. Even if you’re not into folklore, this lovable fruit is worth celebrating during this passionate month.

Some cultures believe that after eating a passion fruit, you’ll fall in love with the next person your eyes fall upon.  Even if you’re not into folklore, this lovable fruit is worth celebrating during this passionate month.

What, Where & When

This tropical fruit grows on the passionflower plant and comes from the genus passiflora, which is actually the Hebrew word for the fruit. The two main commercial varieties available are Hawaiian yellow and New Zealand purple. They’re oval in shape and about  three inches long. Both the yellow and purple have a sweet-and-tart flavor, but the purple fruit is juicier and less acidic. When ripe, the skin is a deep purple-brown and the pulp is bright yellow sprinkled with edible black seeds.

Passion fruit is thought to be native to Brazil, from the Amazon. It’s now grown in Australia, California, Florida, New Zealand and Hawaii, where it’s called lilikoi.

Depending on the location, passion fruit is available almost all year round. California-grown varieties are available from January through November, while in Hawaii it’s available just about all year round.

Nutrition Facts

One passion fruit contains only 17 calories, and it’s a good source of vitamin A, an excellent source of vitamin C and fiber and contains the minerals calcium, iron and potassium. This tropical fruit is also rich in plant chemicals such as lycopene, polyphenols and carotenoids. Studies have shown that the phytochemicals in passion fruit may help fight cancer and the seeds of the fruit have been shown to help lower blood cholesterol and triglycerides (a type of fat in the blood).

What To Do With Passion Fruit

One of the simplest (and most delicious) ways to eat passion fruit is to slice them in half, lengthwise and scoop out the sweet fruit with a teaspoon. The fruit can also be sliced and added to a mixed green salad, fruit salad or smoothie. The cooked-down pulp also makes delicious jam or jelly. In Australia, the pulp is topped with cream and sugar, while in Venezuela it’s used to make ice cream.

If you haven’t tasted a passion fruit beverage or cocktail, you’re missing out. Just be sure to remove the dark black seeds before juicing by straining with a sieve or some cheesecloth.

Shopping Tip: Choose fruit that are large, firm and heavy for their size. When ripe, the outside color will change from a green to a purple, yellow or red color. Unripe fruit can be left at room temperature to ripen and they’ll also begin to shrivel (but still tastes great). Once ripe, place in the refrigerator for up to 1 week.

Recipes to Try:

Toby Amidor, MS, RD, CDN, is a registered dietitian and consultant who specializes in food safety and culinary nutrition. See Toby's full bio »

You Might Also Like:

Next Up

Vacuum-Sealed Chicken, Matzo Pancakes and Passion Fruit, Three Ways — Rebel Remix

Welcome to Justin Warner's fourth installment of Chopped All-Stars Rebel Remix, wherein he assembles exciting edibles from seemingly incongruous ingredients.

Should You Reach for Frozen Fruit When Fresh Isn't in Season?

Often picked at the peak of freshness, frozen berries can make many of your favorite berry-filled recipes year-round.

Monk Fruit Sweeteners

Sugary goodness, but no calories in sight. Is the newest no calorie sweetener made from the ancient Monk fruit too good to be true? Find out.

Unforgettable Fruit Salads

Fruit salad is no longer a side thought. Add fresh ingredients like mint, honey and coconut to create a new and improved version.

Which is Healthier: Fruit Cobbler vs. Fruit Pie

Summer is all about fruit-filled desserts. When faced with the choice of cobbler or pie, which would you choose? Read the pros and cons of each and YOU vote for the healthier winner!

In Season: Honeydew

Honeydew melon is in season; find out how to choose one, the best ways to eat it, and why it's so good for you.

In Season: Carrots

Carrots get a bad rep as "rabbit food," but there’s nothing boring about them. With all their flavor and health benefits, they’re worth celebrating this time of year, and we've got recipes for the occasion. Read on to find out everything you've ever wanted to know about carrots -- we'll even give you the story on the baby carrot controversy.

In Season: Watermelon

Full of cancer-battling lycopene and low in calories, watermelon is a classic summer fruit that works well alone, paired with cheese or mixed into a drink.

In Season: Ramps

Ramps are a true farmers' market treasure. A member of the garlic and onion family, they're only available for a short time in the spring.

In Season: Eggplant

Grilled eggplant is a summer favorite, but there are plenty of other ways to enjoy this scrumptious delight. Check out these eggplant facts and healthy recipes.