Passion Fruit, Granadilla

Appears in
On Food and Cooking

By Harold McGee

Published 2004

  • About

Passion fruits and the granadilla come from about a dozen species of vines of the genera Passiflora and Tacsonia, natives of tropical lowlands and subtropical highlands in South America. They consist of a brittle (Passiflora) or soft (Tacsonia) outer husk, with a mass of hard seeds embedded in pulpy seed coverings, or arils. The arils are the only edible portion, and make up barely a third of the fruit weight. Though the pulp is sparse, its flavor is concentrated and actually benefits from dilution. Passion fruits are unusual for their relatively high acid content, mainly citric—more than 2% of the pulp weight in purple-skinned types, and double that in most yellow ones—and their strong, penetrating aroma, which appears to be a complex mixture of fruity and flowery notes (esters, peach-like lactones, violet-like ionone), and unusual musky notes (from sulfur compounds like those in black currants and sauvignon blanc wines). Passion fruit pulp is used mainly to make beverages, ices, and sauces, with the milder purple P. edulis generally consumed fresh and the stronger yellow P. edulis var. flavicarpa processed (an early commercial application was Hawaiian punch).