OnCentral OnFruit is our ongoing series on exotic, overlooked fruits that have surprising health benefits.
Passion fruits have tough, round exteriors that resemble the colorful balls on a Christmas tree. But on the inside the fruits contain a soft jelly, filled with edible seeds. The gooey interior is yellowish-green in color, while the outside of this sweet fruit is often maroon.
Yes, the appearance may be a little off-putting, but the taste and health benefits are immense.
Available year-round, passion fruits taste both sweet and tart, and are packed with antioxidants, Vitamin C, Vitamin A and fiber. One cup of passion fruit seeds contains about 25 grams of fiber. Fiber aids in digestion, helps keep your colon clean and functioning properly and can even help ward off heart attacks.
According to a 2008 study, passion fruit has even demonstrated healing properties for people with asthma. The findings indicate that subjects who have asthma and took passion fruit extracts experienced relief from coughing and wheezing by 76 percent -- showing that the antioxidants found in the fruit may effectively reduce allergies and block histamines.
The Food Network recommends slicing passion fruits lengthwise and merely scooping out the fruit inside with a teaspoon. Or, it can be easily added to juices and smoothies or put on top of a summer salad. It can also be used to make tart desserts, including jam or sorbets.
Passion fruit is native to Brazil and is now grown in Hawaii, Australia and even California. The fruit comes in two variations; purple and yellow, and both grow on vines that produce flowers, foliage and fruit. Ripe passion fruits typically are rich in color, have slightly wrinkled skin and feel heavy for their size.