Passion fruit (เสาวรส)

(англ. passion fruit, лат. Passiflora edulis)

Passion fruit was given this strange name by Catholic missionaries in South America. They have found something common in the shape of flower and the passion (torture) of Jesus Christ and instruments that were used for it.

Flower of passion fruit
Depending on variety of passion fruit flowers can have different colour

Taste of passion fruit

Ripe passion fruit has delicious bright sweet-sour taste, while unripe berry (yes, botanically it’s a big berry) will be quite sour. The consistence of passion fruit is liquid: each crispy seed is surrounded by little sac with juice. Seeds seem to be floating in juice. Passion fruit is fragrant (when open) and I can barely compare it with seaberry (sandthorn) and pomegranate.

Passion fruit in a market
If there are no samples of cut fruits, passion fruit is hard to notice on a fruit stall (in the middle of picture)

How to choose, transport & store

Thai passion fruits are of 2 varities – with yellow and purple skin. Purple fruit are more common and they are considered to be sweeter and more fragrant, also their rind is thinner.

Some fruit can look wrinkled as if they were crumpled, that’s ok. Actually I would ask the seller to choose the right passion fruit, as it’s hard to get, which one is really ripe and sweet. Despite of passion fruit being one of my favorite fruits, I find difficult to choose by myself. So the only advice I can give is to check if the fruit is damaged or a bit rotten.

Some say that if one’s bought some sour passion fruit, one should leave them to ripen at room temperature, like one does it with pears.

Avoid squeezing passion fruit, otherwise all it’s juice will be in your bag. Passion fruit is not as tender as ripe star fruit or physalis, but if you want to bring it in your suitcase, be sure that it was packed well. Passion fruit can be stored up to 2 weeks in a fridge.

Passion fruit vine
Passion fruit plant is a vine. This picture of passion fruit vine I’ve made in Tunisia, but the plant looks the same in Thailand

How to eat passion fruit

The only inedible thing about this big berry is the rind. Due to the liquidness of pulp there’s only one option how to eat passion fruit: cut it in halves and take the pulp & seeds out with a spoon. If you don’t have a spoon, you may separate the pulp with knife from the rind and drink it, as if the rind is a glass.

How to eat passion fruit
Yellow and purple passion fruit for breakfast

Because of its bright and unusual taste passion fruit is widely used for shakes, syrups, jams and various desserts. I would highly recommend tasting freshly squeezed passion fruit juice or shake. In last years Thais have noticed the interest of tourists to local fruits, so passion fruit juice is not that rare thing as it was before. F.e. it is sold in Kaosan street in Bangkok.

When and where to find

Season for passion fruit in Thailand starts in the end of autumn and lasts in winter. Nevertheless passion fruit can be found in other seasons too, though it will be hard to find and more expensive. Even in winter passion fruit is not sold at every fruit stall, just ask the seller or be inspective as these berries are unremarkable. The lowest price I’ve seen in Thailand was 60 THB per 1 kg of passion fruit.

Passion fruit flowers
Flowers of passion fruit are 2-4 times bigger than fruit
Passion fruit bud
Bud of passion fruit
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