Passion Fruit Market Summary
Passion Fruit Market OverviewPassion fruit is thought to be indigenous to tropical and subtropical countries in the Americas, specifically Brazil, Paraguay, and Northern Argentina. The fruit is also grown in the United States in California, Florida, and Hawaii. The Passifloraceae family has over 550 species, although only one is known as passion fruit (Passiflora edulis). Passion fruit plants have distinctively beautiful flowers that are cultivated for both edible and aesthetic uses. The plant was named by missionaries who related the structure of the flowers to the Passion of Christ. Passion fruit grows to the size of a tennis ball and can be oval or round. The fruit varies from purple to yellow or orange and features a thick protective rind of about a quarter inch. Inside the rind, numerous seeds are covered in a sweet-acidic pulp, both of which can be consumed. Passion fruit can be eaten fresh, but is more often strained through cheesecloth or boiled down and made into a juice or syrup to flavor everything from cakes, pies, candy, cocktails, ice cream, sorbets, jellies, sauces, and more.
Types & Varieties of Passion FruitThe primary species, P. edulis, is known as the purple form yet there is also the yellow subspecies, P. edulis var. flavicarpa. The majority of cultivars are derived from the purple or as a yellow-purple hybrid. There are few recommended yellow cultivars, but they are more sensitive to diseases and frost. Within the same family of Passiflora, the Giant Granadilla is also cultivated. Purple cultivars include Australian Purple, Common Purple, Black Knight, Bountiful Beauty, Edgehill, Frosty, Kahuna, Nancy Garrison, Paul Ecke, and Purple Giant. Yellow-purple hybrids are Frederick, Pratt Hybrid, Red Rover, and Red Riviera.
Cultivation of Passion FruitPassion fruit plant is a vigorous vine that can climb as high as 30 feet, typically growing best in sandy loams and fast draining soils to prevent disease in its shallow roots. The vine grows well in humid, tropical, and subtropical climates, but will not tolerate multiple freezes. All three primary passion fruits can be planted from seed (preferably fresh), cuttings, or grafted. Preparing trellises is an important part of production, with vines planted 10 to 15 feet apart in 15 to 20 feet rows (or in similar arrangement to grape cultivation). Pruning is necessary as plants grow extensively and often tangle. Purple varieties typically self-pollinate while yellow varieties must be dusted with pollen from a compatible vine. Passion fruit should be harvested when ripe and ready to drop with gentle prodding. Unripe fruit can have what is often described as a ‘woody’ taste. Ripeness indicators include color (shifting from green to purple or yellow), the condition of the skin (slight wrinkling), and size (fruit is between 1.5 to nearly 3 inches in diameter). Moisture loss or shriveling of the outer skin typically does not affect the flesh.