Passion fruit might not be as popular as other tropical fruits like bananas but are gradually gaining recognition due to their health benefits. However, knowing the best time to buy your passion fruit is still a considerable task for some. For others, the problem is getting the fruit to ripen on time.
Passion fruits can grow year-round in tropical climates, so they’re basically in season all year round. To ripen passion fruits faster, you can do place them in a paper bag, cover them with a linen cloth, or store them with apples.
It’s not enough to know when they are in season or how long it takes them to ripen. You should also know the many health benefits of passion fruit and a great way to prepare it, which we’ll cover next.
What is Passion Fruit?
Passion fruit is the edible fruit of a tropical vine called the Passiflora, the passionflower. The fruit has a firm skin that gives way to juicy flesh and edible seeds in the center. Its edible layer has a sweet taste and a nice-smelling aroma.
Furthermore, the passion fruit has various varieties which have different colors. The most popular types are the Passiflora edulis and Passiflora flavicarpa.
- Passiflora edulis (New Zealand purple) is usually small-sized, oval, or round-shaped, and with purple skin.
- Passiflora flavicarpa (Hawaiian yellow) has the same shape as the edulis but comes with yellow skin, and it’s slightly bigger.
Where is Passion Fruit Grown?
Passion fruit is grown in various locations from Australia to Florida, but the most popular types are grown in New Zealand and Hawaii.
Though the Passiflora vine is a tropical tree, it’s adaptable in various subtropical climates. This adaptability means that you can get passion fruit in virtually every continent apart from the north and south poles.
What Month is Passion Fruit Ripe?
Depending on the location, the fruit is available for most parts of the year. For example, the California variety of passion fruit is available from January to November.
There are other varieties, like the Hawaiian, also available throughout the year. Hence, there’s no time that you won’t find fresh passion fruit in the market. However, when there’s a high volume of passion fruit available is between mid-summer to mid-winter.
The New Zealand purple variety of passion fruit takes just 60 to 80 days to mature. So it is usually the one that first arrives on the market. You start seeing the fresh purple colors from the beginning of summer. The Hawaiian yellow takes a little longer to mature than the purple variety, so they arrive later.
How do You Know When a Passion Fruit is Ripe?
If you haven’t shopped for passion fruit before, it could be challenging to determine if the fruit is ripe at a glance. Usually, you can only know a passion fruit is ripe by thorough, careful examination.
The first thing to do is to check the uniformity of the fruit color. For example, whether the passion fruit is purple or yellow, the color should be uniform. If there are still patches of green on the skin, then the fruit isn’t ripe yet.
Another way to tell if the passion fruit you are about to buy is ripe or too ripe is the skin’s texture. If the skin is wrinkled or rough, then there’s a high probability that the fruit could be ripe. On the other hand, the skin of unripe passion fruit is usually smooth but gets rougher as it ripens.
The final way to tell if passion fruit is ripe or not is by cutting it with a knife. If the insides of the passion fruit are yellow and the seeds are mature, then the fruit is ripe. However, the insides of unripe passion fruit are usually white with immature seeds.
How to Ripen Passion Fruit?
When we get passion fruit from stores, they are usually unripe. Unfortunately, many don’t know what to do to ripen these fruits, and they leave them to get ripe in their own time. If you are in this boat, then keep reading. Below are various ways you can ripen your passion fruit.
Put it in a Rice Bag
Putting your fruits in a rice bag can help speed up the process of ripening.
When the passion fruit begins to ripen, they release a chemical called ethylene. Storing unripe passion fruits in a rice bag traps the ethylene inside the bag, which speeds up the ripening rate.
For this method to work, you must ensure that the passion fruit is covered with the rice to trap the ethylene and that the bag is sealed correctly. Note that other fruits get ripe when exposed to ethylene.
Keep Them with Apples
Apples, alongside bananas, are some fruits that give off a high amount of ethylene. So when you keep your passion fruits with apples, they get ripe faster.
The more rotten the apple gets, the more chemicals it releases. So, if you keep your fruits with apples, it speeds up the process. First, take a bite from the apple, then put them in a paper bag with the passion fruit you want to ripen.
Prepare to be amazed as the fruit gets ripe quicker. Do not try this method with foodstuffs like rice or flour because rotten apples will taint it.
Cover Them with a Linen Cloth
This method is best for freshly picked fruit. Covering the fruit with linen keeps the humidity level low and ethylene levels high. To do this:
- Lay a cloth on a flat surface.
- Place the passion fruits on the fabric.
- Cover them with linen and wait until they get ripe in about a week.
You can add apples or bananas to increase the ethylene level. But you must keep the fruits away from water when you use this method.
Are Passion Fruits Good for You?
Yes, they are. When you compare passion fruit with other tropical fruits and compare their health benefits, you realize how unique this fruit is. Here are some of the advantages of consuming the passion fruit.
Health Benefits of Passion Fruit
Passion fruit contains a high level of antioxidants, which shield that protects your body’s cells from the free radicals. You might have heard of free radicals, those volatile molecules in the body that can cause harm to your cells.
The presence of polyphenols and vitamin C in passion fruit is the reason they contain so many antioxidants. Antioxidants don’t only help with free radicals; they also help with repairing your immune system and slow aging.
The antioxidant properties of passion fruit also have another use. Studies have shown that taking a supplement based on the peel of the purple passion fruit (Passiflora edulis) can help fight asthma.
It also has anti-inflammatory properties, as another study showed a reduction in pain and stiffness in people suffering from knee osteoarthritis. However, these studies have not been vetted, so the claims are still in possibility.
Finally, the fruit is an excellent source of dietary fiber. Single passion fruit comes with two grams of fiber. That might not sound as much, but when you compare its size with other fruits, you realize that’s a lot.
So, what exactly does dietary fiber do, and why is it so important?
Fiber is vital in maintaining the health of your gut, slowing digestion (in its soluble form), and helping you avoid constipation. And when you consume food or fruits that have high fiber content, it helps decrease the possibility of heart disease, obesity, and diabetes.
It’s easy to see how vital passion fruit could be to your health. Incorporating the fruit into your diet will go a long way in helping you in fighting illness and improve your health generally.
How do You Prepare a Passion Fruit Drink?
Before we begin, we have to define some terms. The first one is passion fruit puree. The puree is the liquid that remains after separating the seeds from the pulp. So the second thing we need to define is passion fruit juice.
The juice is a mixture of puree, water, and sweetener. Now that that is out of the way, let us make a delicious beverage. To prepare passion fruit juice:
- First, cut ripe passion fruit at the top to prevent pulp from spilling.
- Next, pour the contents into a clean jar or bowl.
- After repeating this process with all the fruit, strain to get the puree.
You can use the puree for cooking or marinating. However, if you want the juice, add some water and sweetener to make the juice. It’s best served cold so that you can add some ice cubes.
Passion fruit has come a long way from its humble origins in Brazil. It tastes great, but the fruit also bursts at the seams with edible goodness. The nutritional benefits are enormous, and studies are still ongoing to find more of them.
It’s essential to know how to differentiate between unripe, ripe, and about to go bad passion fruit. Also, try out the various methods of ripening the fruits, and watch chemistry seem like magic.
There’s nothing better than a glass of cold passion fruit juice on a hot summer afternoon. So why not get aboard the passion fruit train now?