A Fruit’s Passionate Side

The next time you need a natural vitamin boost, think about adding a fresh passion fruit as part of a healthy plan.

 WORDS CHUSRI NGAMPRASERT
PHOTO KAY CHOOMONGKOL

With its purple or yellow colours, it possesses an inedible seeds hold a sweet, tangy, juicy pulp. The passion fruit, round or oval in shape, comes in the size of a large egg.

Botanists say this tropical fruit is considered a type of berry, the fruit of the Passiflora vine and a type of passion flower. The purple passion fruit is native to southern Brazil, Paraguay and Argentina while the yellow variety is of unknown origin. It thrives in tropical weather, but some varieties can survive in a sub-tropical climate.

The fruit got its name from its eye-catching flower when the missionaries and explorers came to Brazil in the 16th century. Drawn to the striking look of the fragrant flower, they connected it to the crucifixion of Jesus Christ, also called the Passion of the Christ. In looking at the flower, the spikes protruding from the centre of the flowers symbolised the crown of thorns, and believers say that the ten petals represent the ten faithful apostles. The three stigmata represent the three nails from the crucifixion, and five anthers represented the five sacred wounds on Christ while the flower’s trailing tendrils resembled whips he encountered. So much symbolism alone can be found in the flower.

The fruit while small in size, is loaded with nutrients and plant compounds that could benefit your health. It is good source of fibre, vitamin C, vitamin A, antioxidants, minerals and dietary fibre, which could soothe your skin, enhance your immunity and help lower the risk of diseases like heart disease and diabetes.

Enjoying the fruit simply requires cutting the shell open and scooping the tangy yellow pulp with a spoon. Don’t be afraid of the crunchy black seeds inside. All of those are chewable!

A fabulous fruit to play with in the kitchen, a passion fruit can be used in a variety of ways. Add it to drinks, desserts, yoghurt, or make delicious salad dressings, or eat it on its own – the list is endless. In many recipes, the pulp is pushed through a sieve yielding a purée perfect for flavouring beverages and sauces.

Just like its name, the heady fragrance of the passion fruit ignites an equally passionate response with just one taste.

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