Words by Simon Difford
The fruit of the passion flower (Passiflora), a climbing plant which is native to South America but grown around the world, is an ugly, spherical outgrowth about the size of a hen's egg.
The passion fruit was first discovered in South America, during the colonisation by Spanish missionaries in the 1500s. They first noticed the amazing flowers of the fruit in the jungle. Nobody knows exactly why it became known as the passion fruit. Was it because the crown-like flower reminded people of the thornbush of Christ's Passion? Or because of its supposed qualities as an aphrodisiac?
Known in Spanish as 'granadilla' ('little pomegranate'), the passion fruit has a thick, leathery, yellowish-green or brownish-red skin, which is smooth and shiny when unripe and pockmarked, almost wrinkly when ripe. The inside yields intensely flavoured, slightly acidic, yellow flesh with small, edible, crunchy black seeds. Select heavy fruits as the light ones tend to be dried out and lacking in juice.
Cut the fruit in half with a sharp knife and scoop the flesh out of the shell into your shaker (or simply push the flesh out by squeezing the fruit half between your fingers). If you are making a blended drink, it is advisable to pass the flesh through a sieve to strain out the seeds before combining it with other ingredients. However, this isn't necessary with shaken drinks, as the seeds should be removed when the drink is fine strained into the glass.
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