This tropical fruit is said to be named not for the passionate propensity it promotes but because particular parts of the plant's flowers resemble different symbols of Christ's crucifixion, such as the crown of thorns. Though native to Brazil, passion fruit (also called granadilla) is now also grown in Australia, California, Florida, Hawaii (where it's called lilikoi) and New Zealand. The most common variety marketed in the United States is egg-shaped and about 3 inches long. When ripe, it has a dimpled, deep purple-brown skin and a golden, jellylike pulp surrounding tiny, edible black seeds. The flavor is seductively sweet-tart and the fragrance tropical and perfumy. Vanilla passion fruit is elongated (rather like a straight banana) and yellow. This varietyalso sometimes dubbed yellow or banana passion fruithas a pale green flesh and a flavor akin to vanilla. Depending on the locale, fresh passion fruit is available year-round in Latin and produce markets and many supermarkets. Passion fruit will be shriveled looking when fully ripe. Ripen fruit at room temperature until it reaches that stage. Store ripe passion fruit in the refrigerator for up to a week. It can be served plain as a dessert or used to flavor a variety of foods like sauces, ice creams and beverages. Canned passion-fruit nectar is available in many supermarkets. Passion fruit contains a small amount of vitamins A and C.
From The Food Lover's Companion, Fourth edition by Sharon Tyler Herbst and Ron Herbst. Copyright © 2007, 2001, 1995, 1990 by Barron's Educational Series, Inc.