Passion fruit

Passion fruit acquired its name from Spanish missionaries who thought parts of the plant’s flower resembled different religious symbols. The Jesuit missionaries saw in its striking flower a means of illustrating the Crucifixion; the 10 petals and sepals represented the apostles, the crown of thorns was seen in the filaments, the five anthers represent the five wounds, the three stigmas were allied with the nails used to pierce the hands and feet of Jesus and the vine’s tendrils were equated with the whips. Passion fruit is thought to have originated from South America as a natural vine from the Amazon. The fruit has been a food staple for the people and animals of the rainforest for eons. It has been used by Brazilian tribes as a heart tonic, a sedative or calming tonic, to treat asthma, whooping cough, bronchitis and treat urinary infection. Researchers have documented the properties of passion fruit juice in at least four studies. Commercial production of the passion fruit in the U.S. is limited to Hawaii and some in southern Florida. Worldwide, the greatest volume of production is in Brazil with Colombia, Venezuela, Australia, New Zealand, Kenya, South Africa, India and Indonesia to follow. The yellow form has larger fruit than the purple, but the pulp of the purple has less acid, richer in aroma and flavor and has a higher proportion of juice. The purple form has black seeds, the yellow, brown seeds. The purple fruit reportedly have traces of cyanogenic glycosides in the skin and hence are mildly poisonous. However, the thick, hard skin is hardly edible, and if boiled (to make jam), the cyanide molecules are destroyed at high temperatures. To store passion fruit, wash and dry them gently and place in bags. They should last two to three weeks in the refrigerator. The fruit is sweetest when slightly shriveled. Both the fruit and the juice freeze well. The flavor of passion fruit blends well with citrus. Simply cut the fruit lengthwise and scoop out the flesh with a spoon. It is said in some cultures, after eating a passion fruit, you fall in love with the next person you make eye contact with. Nutritional content of the edible portion of the purple passion fruit: 90 calories, 2.2 grams of protein, 0.7 grams of fat, 21 grams of carbohydrates, 348 milligrams of potassium, 3.3 grams of fiber and a good source of Vitamins A, C, E and some Bs. Passion Fruit Tea 6 to 8 teabags 1 quart of boiling filtered water 1 cup fresh mint 1 cup passion fruit Juice Plus Boil water and add mint. Dunk tea tabs to desired color, add passion fruit juice. Serve warm or cold. Next week: No Meat Day Facts in these articles are obtained from medical and clinical journals, scientific publications, and published tradebooks. These articles have been written and published strictly for information purposes. For any questions contact Susan at trijrsL@msn.com or www.fruitandveggienurse.com

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