If you would like to try Maracuyá or Passion fruit, sign for our Little Havana Food & Cultural Tour
This fruit is also known as Purple Grandilla, Passionfruit or Pasionaria. It is part of the Passiflora Edulis family and it is a climbing plant that has its origin in Central America. The main producing country is Brazil, followed by Venezuela, Colombia and the rest of the tropical countries. Some producers are also located in South Africa, Kenya, Australia and Cote d’Ivoire.
The fruits are edible, and are egg-shaped. It is fleshy; the skin is yellowish violet or orange, depending on the ripeness and variety. The texture is plain and brilliant when it has not ripened yet and creased when it is ready for consumption. The pulp of maracuyá has a thin crimson layer and another one white that protects the internal seeds. The black seeds are covered by an orange jelly (sometimes yellowish or green), which is juicy and bittersweet and tastes as pineapple or guayaba.
The commercial varieties are granadillas, purple and yellow ones. The granadilla is the sweetest, while the other two are bigger ones. Granadilla is often used for jams, and in Australia the hybrids are sold.
Giant or Real Granadilla (pasiflora quadrangularis) also known as "Maracuyá". It is called this way because of the size of the fruit that can reach up to 20 cm in length. When it ripens, seems like a mango because of the green, reddish golden color. It is cultivated in Asia and tropical America. The common use if for juices combined with other fruits such as pineapples, oranges or lemons, because it is tasteless.
The fruit is ready for consumption when the skin is creased, because it has lost humidity. The best season is winter. Make a hole with the fingers and suck the juice and bittersweet seeds with your teeth. It could be used to perfume creams or mousses and add some drops of lemon juice to season fruit salads.
Selecting Maracuyá: choose those fruits that are heavier according to the size. Once the fruit ripens, the skins will turn creased. If it is still plain, cover it with newsprint and let it rest at room temperature.
In Brazil the maracuyá juice is really popular. It is also used to bake pies and desserts such as ice creams, fruit salads and macedonies. In order to take advantage of its properties, it is recommended to cut the fruit in the middle and eat with a teaspoon. The seeds should be removed and the pulp can be mixed with other juices to make great refreshments. The seeds are crunchy and taste deliciously mixed with the pulp.
It is made mainly of water. Almost 1/3 parts of its weight. It is good to achieve healthy hair and for skin care, as well as for eyesight and the immunologic system, since it is rich in vitamins and minerals (Potassium, Phosphorus and Magnesium); Vitamin C, pro-vitamin A or beta carotenes.
It is highly recommended to people who like to keep fit because of its low caloric values; besides it is good for constipation due to the fact that the fruit is rich in fibers.