Passion Fruit: Growing, Health benefits

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Brazil is the home to Passion fruit (Passiflora edulis). In India it grows wild in the Nilgiris, Wynad, Kodaikanal, Shevroys, Coorg and Malabar. Recently its cultivation has been extended to some areas in Himachal Pradesh, Nagaland and Mizoram. The juice of the fruit is has an excellent flavour and is quite delicious and nutritious and is loved for its blending quality. It is extensively used in confectionery and preparation of cakes, pies and ice-cream. A rich source of vitamin A, it also contains fair amount of sodium, magnesium, sulphur and chlorides. It is a perinnial climber, cultivated in the tropics. flowers are borne singly in the axils of leaves at the terminal region of new growth. The vines bears fruits that are of hen’s egg sized  in abundance. They are smooth, ovoid and purple yellow on ripening. The rind afterwards shrink and become wrinkled. The rind is bordered by white pith, and inside small, hard, black seeds are surrounded separately by a soft, slightly fragrant and juicy orange-yellow pulp.

Climate and Soil

Tropical and sub tropical climates are preferable. An annual rainfall of 1000-2500 mm is good for its growth. It can grow in light sandy loam to heavy loam soils with pH of 6-7. Soil should be well-drained, fertile, and good moisture to flourish. Once established, it grows quickly and reaches about 15-20 feet per year. The plant has an average life span of about 5-7 years.

Propagation

It is propagated by seeds, cutting and grafting on resistant rootstock. Seedling or grafted plants are more vigorous than cuttings. Propagation by seeds should be avoided as it induces variability. Maintain a spacing of 3m from plant-to-plant and 2m from row-to-row. The best time for planting is during the monsoon.

Health benefits

  • Delicious, passion fruit is rich source of antioxidants, minerals, vitamins, and fiber. 100 g fruit contains about 97 calories.
  • The fruit is a very good source of dietary fiber. 100 g fruit pulp contains 10.4 g or 27% of fiber. Good fiber in the diet helps remove cholesterol from the body. Being a good bulk laxative, it also helps protect the colon mucous membrane by decreasing exposure time to toxic substances in the colon and wiping off cancer-causing toxic substances from the colon.
  • Passion fruit is good in vitamin C, providing about 30 mg per 100 g. Vitamin-C (ascorbic acid) is a powerful water soluble anti-oxidant. Consumption of fruits rich in vitamin C helps the body develop resistance against flu-like infectious agents and scavenge harmful, pro-inflammatory free radicals.
  • The fruit carry very good levels of vitamin-A (provides about 1274 IU per 100 g), and flavonoid antioxidants such as ß-carotene and cryptoxanthin-ß. Current research studies suggest that these compounds have antioxidant properties, and along with vitamin A are essential for good eye-sight.
  • Vitamin A is also required for maintaining healthy mucus membranes and skin. Consumption of natural fruits rich in vitamin-A, and flavonoids may helps to protect from lung and oral cavity cancers.
  • Fresh granadilla is very rich in potassium. 100 g fruit pulp has about 348 mg of potassium. Potassium is an important component of cells and body fluids, and helps regulate heart rate and blood pressure.
  • Furthermore, granadilla is a very good source of minerals. Iron, copper, magnesium and phosphorus are present in adequate amounts in the fruit.

Serving Tips

Wash fruit in cold water, and pat-dry them using a soft cloth, paper or kitchen towel. Cut the fruit lengthwise into two equal halves. Then, scoop out the juicy pulp with a spoon. Discard the tough shell.

Passion fruits have unique tart, and sweet-flavor and sweet taste. Purple passion fruits are generally smaller but more flavorful than yellow-golden passions.

Here are some serving tips:

  • Passion fruit can be enjoyed fresh, especially when the fruit is well ripe. Just scoop out its juicy pulp using a spoon. Its tough shell, anyhow, is inedible.
  • Their juicy pulp can also be enjoyed as a refreshing intra-day drink.
  • Passions add distinct flavor to fruit salads.
  • Passions are used in the preparation of sauce, jellies, and syrups
  • It is employed in various recipes like passion fruit mousse, ice-cream, pizza, desserts, cakes, etc.

 

 

 

 

 

Megha

Agriculturist, specialized in Horticulture (Floriculture and landscaping)

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