Sunday, September 9, 2012

Mystery Fruit #3: Passion Fruit

Mystery Fruit #3

At first glance, I thought it was a Gala Apple or perhaps a Dinosour Egg pluot.  But it was perfectly round, about the size of a tennis ball, and not apple-shaped in the least. The wet market man told me it was a Passion Fruit. All the pictures I had seen of passion fruit were of the wrinkly skinned, dark purple variety, so this beautiful specimen was a bit of a revelation to me. In Texas, I only had it as part of a tropical fruit punch from a bottle at the grocery store. On our visit to Hawaii a couple summers ago, I enjoyed passion fruit (called lilikoi there) in salad dressings, jams, and syrups drizzled over shaved ice. This was my chance to have one fresh!

Sometimes, I play "Guess What It Looks Like Inside" with myself. Before cutting open a mystery fruit and taking a bite, I try to guess what I'll see after slicing through it. Umm... I didn't expect to find this.

Passion Fruit

The thick, outer rind surrounded a big glob of slippery, yellow pearls of fruity flesh encasing each individual, dark seed. I'll admit that the first thing that came to my mind was Frog Eggs.

Scooping out a spoonful, I slurped it up, seeds and all.  It was tart but sweet and tasted like the tropics, kind of like pineapple but not exactly. I've been eating them straight out of the rind but mean to start mixing them into my morning yogurt.

One interesting tidbit I came across is that the name has nothing to do with libido. Instead, it's a reference to the Passion of Christ. From Wikipedia:

The name was given by missionaries because the parts of the flower seemed reminiscent of the torture (the Passion) of Christ prior to his crucifixion:
  • The three stigmas reflect the three nails in Jesus's hands and feet.
  • The threads of the passion flower resemble the Crown of Thorns.
  • The vine's tendrils are likened to the whips.
  • The five anthers represented the five wounds.
  • The ten petals and sepals regarded to resemble the Apostles (excluding Judas and Peter).
  • The purple petals representing the purple robe used to mock Jesus' claim to kingship (Mt. 27:28)
Related Posts:
Mystery Fruit #1: Ciku
Mystery Fruit #2: Elixir of Immortality
Mystery Fruit #4: Mangosteen
Mystery Fruit #5: Dragonfruit



  1. These used to grow in our backyard! One of my fav fruits of all time. Great on top of ice cream, blended into a juice or as a cheesecake flavouring.

    1. I thought about pureeing them for desserts, but straining out the seeds seemed like a hassle. Perhaps I should at least try it.

  2. As far as tropical fruits go, I haven't progressed far beyond mangosteens. Your mystery fruit posts are making me want to be a bit more adventurous at the market but I have a bit of fear of the unknown when it comes to fruits. Have you ever come across something that was really not good?

  3. I have a mangosteen post in the works. Since my parents are from the Philippines, I had canned versions of exotic fruits growing up. That's helped me embrace the mysterious ones. The only one I have hated is Durian -- and that was just a tiny bit of a chocolate durian truffle.

  4. I grow this exact type of passionfruit over my Chicken coop in North Queensland, Australia. They are beautifully sweet. I make them into a pie which is yum.

  5. A dinosaur egg? You crack me up! :) I think I've only ever had passion fruit in juice form. Now I want to try it as a fruit - despite the kind of slimy looking inside. Great detail in your pics!

  6. My middle son absolutely loves passion fruit. Reminds me that I should pick some up for him the next time I'm at the wet market.


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