Passion Fruit

This surprisingly different fruit has become a favorite in our household. I’ve always read how extremely rich it is in vitamins A & C, fiber, potassium, beta-carotene, and iron so when I discovered passion fruit in my grocery store a year ago, I quickly purchased it. Passion Fruit is a climbing vine that also produces a beautiful Passion Flower (Passiflora incarnata).

Passion Fruit
This is what it looks like when you cut it open

Major Benefits from the Passion Fruit

Hyperactive, ADHD, Autistic:

Passion fruit might be an especially good fruit to add to the diet of hyperactive, ADHD, or autistic children, because the combination of glycosides and flavonoids in the fruit can have a slight sedative/calming effect, but isn’t the least toxic. It’s actually an ingredient found in several ADD/ADHD medicines and some sleep gummy supplements with melatonin. This post contains some affiliate links.

Passionflower can help remedy anxiety related to “nervousness, including sleep disturbances, stomach upset, irregular heartbeat and excitability.” (Med sources, 1, 2,) “Early research shows that passion flower reduces some symptoms of ADHD in children aged 6-13 years when taken by mouth for 8 weeks. It seems to work about as well as a low dose of the prescription drug methylphenidate” but without the side-effects of that drug.

*Though passionflower is safe, there hasn’t been significant research with the administration to children as a supplement. Therefore it’s probably best to have children eat the fruit. Adults can enjoy passionflower by eating the fruit, drinking the tea, supplement capsule, or extract powder (great addition to shakes & smoothies). I do add just a dash of extract powder in with dinner smoothies now and then for my children. However, I consulted their pediatrician before doing this.

Sleep Better

Passion fruit helps fight against insomnia. There is a high content of the mineral magnesium in passion fruit. Research shows magnesium to have a relaxing effect and assist with the quality and duration of sleep.  (PubMed sources, 1, 2, 3)

Health Benefits & Nutrition

The fruit and leaves have been used to treat high blood pressure, anxiety, “observed to kill cancer cells in developing fetuses”(2), and According to this website, studies showed reduced asthma symptoms, reduction in pain and stiffness for patients suffering from knee osteoarthritis, and more. Also, eye health, promotes collagen synthesis, anemia, diabetes, and so much more. Passion fruit is a rich source of minerals as already mentioned but also copper, phosphorus, and iron which is more easily metabolized paired also with the high vitamin C content of passion fruit.

passion fruit
My kids just spoon it out and eat. Super easy and healthy snack!

Eating the Passion Fruit

Generally, in the US, Europe, Australia, NZ, you will find the fruit to be a dark purple and the size of an egg. The purple passion fruit is less acidic and richer in both aroma and flavor with more juice. When the outside skin starts to become a bit wrinkly, it is ripest.

It is hard to cut, like cutting a carrot.

The Inside of a Passion Fruit

The inside will surprise you by having the strongest, sweetest, aromatic smell. It really will take you by surprise. Inside, the cavity is filled with membranous sacs containing 200-400 crunchy seeds (too small for choking) covered with orange-colored pulpy juice which is intensely flavored.

I just cut the fruit in half, take a spoon, and pre-shave/scrape off the seeds from the sides, so it is easier for my young toddler to eat. We sit down, with spoons in hand, and scoop out the seedy pulp. You’re eating the fruit as if eating from a bowl with ice cream. It’s a very easy fruit to travel with, for a quick and easy snack on the go, just pre-cut it at home.

Fruit Caviar

In my house, I call the Passion Fruit, “Fruit Caviar”, because it is pricey running between $1.50-$3 a fruit and when you cut it open you get very little but the taste and flavor are as momentous as eating fine caviar. It is Fruit Caviar!

Other Uses For The Passion Fruit

You can add the seeds to salads, in jellies, yogurt, topper for ice cream, and I’ve also served it as a topper on fish.

The Aroma

Once, I had half of a passion fruit in the fridge for a couple of days, and I have to admit that I held off on finishing it because it produced such a strong fragrance in the fridge and throughout my whole kitchen. I even had a friend ask for the scent of my kitchen candle. I told her Passion Fruit, fruit! She couldn’t believe it!

The Passionfruit Flower

Passion Flower
Passion Flower

The more I studied this interesting fruit, the more interesting it gets such as Passionfruit Flower is the national flower of Paraguay. According to Wikipedia, the name came from missionaries because “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)

Have you had “Fruit Caviar” aka passion fruit? Click here to read another family favorite fruit that is a superfood source!! 

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