How to Eat Passion Fruit

The fruit's odd appearance belies its fabulous tropical taste.

Passion fruit is messy, but that doesn't mean you need to make a mess. (Photo: yuda chen/Shutterstock)

It's a good thing that passion fruit is delicious because the gelatinous goo you see when it's first cut in half is not all that appetizing. It wouldn't be too far-fetched to think that giving it the name passion fruit was a way to make the fruit more tempting to eat, but that's not the case. The history of its name goes in an entirely different direction.

How Passion Fruit Got Its Name

passion fruit flower
Does this flower remind you of a religious symbol?. (Photo: Doikanoy/Shutterstock)

The name has nothing to do with the fruit being an aphrodisiac. Rather, it's named after the Biblical Passion, or crucifixion, of Jesus. When Spanish missionaries to South America first discovered the flowers that turned into the fruit, they saw them as symbolic of the crucifixion. Looking at the photo above, you can see why. According to Specialty Produce, missionaries saw "the three stigmas as the three nails, the corona as the crown of thorns, the five stamens as the five wounds, the five petals and five sepals as the ten apostles and the purple petals as the purple robe."

How to Pick a Passion Fruit

yellow passion fruit
Passion fruit comes in various colors, but they all ripen the same way. (Photo: diogoppr/Shutterstock)

Like other fruits such as watermelon, heaviness is important when choosing passion fruit. When the fruit is heavy, that means it has plenty of moisture inside. The skin of the fruit, whether it's the more common purple passion fruit or the yellow/green version, will be wrinkly and aromatic when it's ripe. If you get one with smooth skin, make sure it has a little give to it when you squeeze it. If it does, you can leave it on the counter for three to five days to ripen up. Sniff for that tropical scent as an indicator of ripeness.

How to Cut a Passion Fruit

cutting passion fruit
Passion fruit is easy to cut open. (Photo: Africa Studio/Shutterstock)

Cutting a passion fruit is easy. Cut it in half to reveal the fleshy insides. Once cut, the pulp and the edible seeds can be scooped out using a spoon. They can be eaten as is or used in a variety of recipes. You can blend the pulp and seeds in a food processor to make a fragrant puree that's good for smoothies and baking desserts. You can also strain the pulp to remove the seeds to make juice. The fruit is tart, so it's commonly combined with other ingredients, but many people like eating it straight out of the rind. The seeds are crunchy and add sourness to the flavor of the fruit. Not everyone likes the seeds, but if you don't mind the texture, they're perfectly fine. The rind is not edible and should be discarded.

Recipes for Passion Fruit

passion fruit mango smoothie
The flavors of passion fruit and mango work well together. (Photo: SherSor/Shutterstock)

Passion fruit is versatile. It can be made sweet or savory, used as an ingredient in a dessert or a main dish, and made into a juice that can be used in several ways. These are just a few recipes that highlight passion fruit as an ingredient:

  • Passion Fruit Popsicle: This recipe keeps the seeds and pulp together and adds ginger to create a popsicle that appeals to grown-ups.
  • Mango and Passion Fruit Smoothie: A common way to use passion fruit is to add it to a smoothie, with or without seeds. This recipe calls for the seeds to be strained and combines it with the complementary flavor of mango.
  • Avocado and Mango Salad with Passion Fruit Vinaigrette: On top of a green salad with some slices of avocado and mango, passion fruit is used as a dressing to pull all the flavors together.
  • Passion Fruit Hot Sauce: Passion fruit juice is combined with hot peppers, oil and lime to create a creamy sauce that can be used as a dip for fried plantain chips or chicken empanadas.
  • Passion Fruit Sangria: The juice of passion fruit can be added to wine and fresh fruit to create a boozy sangria.

About the Banana Passionfruit

banana passionfruit
Not all passion fruit is egg-shaped. (Photo: Al'Fred/Shutterstock)

There's another type of passion fruit, the banana passionfruit, (and it's frequently spelled as one word, not two). It's related to the egg-shaped passion fruit in that it has similar pulp and seeds inside, but it's often found as a wild-growing vine that can do serious damage to surrounding vegetation. It's edible and can be used like its passion fruit cousin.