Passion fruit


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Packing a passionate punch

Flavors, like fashion, can be trendy and right now the hottest trending flavor is passionfruit. The intense and aromatic flavor - a little goes a long way - can now be found in ice teas, baked goods, yogurt and smoothies, to name but a few categories.

Not only is it an exotic flavor, but its range of colors is lighting up produce sections across the country. From purple to reddish-purple to reddish-green, these tennis-ball size bundles of flavor will make you passionate for produce. Unlike fashion, great flavors don't go out of fashion.

What the numbers mean

Passionfruit's juicy pulp is a great source of vitamins C and A. Both are valuable antioxidants helping to quell inflammation, a known trigger for many chronic health problems.

But in addition to these well-known vitamins, flavonoids, a potent category of antioxidants, are also widely available in the form of carotene and cryptoxanthin.

Rounding out the nutritional profile are minerals such as copper, phosphorous and iron, making passionfruit a one-stop healthful choice.

And here's another juicy tidbit: having such a high level of vitamin C enhances the absorption of the iron available in the fruit.

About the seeds

So, we know the juice has a lot going for it, but what about those seeds?

Passionfruit seeds, soft yet crunchy, also offer a lot, so please do not toss!

Passionfruit seeds are loaded with piceatannol and scirpusin B, polyphenolic compounds that have strong antioxidant activity.

Animal research indicates that the polyphenols found in passion fruit seeds contribute to vasorelaxation, a widening of blood vessels resulting from the relaxation of smooth muscle cells within the blood vessel walls. This widening of blood vessels leads to a decrease in vascular pressure, helping to promote a healthy cardiovascular system.

Those little seeds of goodness are also rich in insoluble dietary fiber. Insoluble fiber is an effective ingredient for promoting intestinal function to include regular bowel movements and prevention of hemorrhoids and constipation.

Scooping both the pulp and seeds is the optimal way to capture all the nutritional goodness passionfruit packs its brightly colored shell.

Wrinkled when ripe

Hiding beneath these awesome colored exteriors is the prize jewel: an explosion of flavor, fragrance and fabulous nutrition.

And here's a tip-a wrinkled exterior, regardless of the color, means its ready to take a look inside.

Get passionate

Passionfruit is a bit unusual looking on the inside causing some to wonder: what do you do with this?

A yellowish pulpy juice mixed with tiny dark brown seeds is where all the flavor and nutrition resides along with a tropical, fragrant aroma.

The pulp and seeds offer two very distinct and different uses: squeeze and strain to get straight-up juice or use the entire pulp as an ingredient to other recipes, such as smoothies, salad dressings or yogurt.

The scoop on passionfruit

Passionfruit is easy to open. But this fruit has a hard skin (which you discard). So use a serrated knife to make it easy.

Here are some tips for opening and scooping out passionfruit for your enjoyment.

What are you waiting for?

Try one or some.

Find out why folks on the other side of the pond are passionate about this fruit.

To your health,
Donna Shields

About the author, Donna Shields
As a registered dietician, Donna uses progressive nutritional science to achieve good health through a flavorful lifestyle.