Amazing what a catchy name will do for your popularity. Naive that I am sometimes, I thought the name “Passion Fruit” was coined because the fruit ignited one’s libido or acted as some sort of aphrodisiac, or if I were to make a more graphic definition, that the texture, consistency and look of the pulp and seeds would react with one’s gonads in the same manner that raw oysters are supposed to have a similar effect! But my trusty reference books suggest otherwise, and I was nearly floored to read that the fruit seems to get its name from quite an opposite source to the whole “fired loins theory”… It seems, according to Alan Davidson in the Oxford Companion to Food, that the flower of this fruit is known as flor de las cinco lagas or “flower of the five wounds” and missionaries in South Ameirca used this to illustrate the cruxifiction of Christ and thus the Passion and from there Passion Fruit! Yikes, talk about being way off the mark!
This vine (Passiflora edulis) is native to South America and Australia. It worked its way up to Southeast Asia and thrives in some parts of the Philippines. The fruits of this yellow orange variety are about the size of a small lemon and inside are several tablespoons of pulp and seed that have an unusual texture and a striking but subtle flavor. I have seen this used in desserts, juices, and eaten as is. We rarely ate this as kids and I always wonder what the big deal is when it is part of some fancy shmancy dessert like a Passion Fruit Panna Cotta or Cheesecake with Passion Fruit Sauce… I am sitting at my desk right now eating one as I type this and I am increasingly getting weirded out by the viscosity of the fruit. It doesn’t help that I just had to sneeze and filled my Kleenex with… I have just decided I like pomegranates far better (no, they are not the same thing) than passion fruit. Even though pomegranate in Spanish is Granada and passion fruit in Spanish are Granadillas or little pomegranates, they are not actually of the same family at all I bought these passion fruit at the market last weekend for just PHP40 a kilo or about PHP5 each… Anyone have a good recipe for passion fruit jam or jelly?