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The Granadilla fruit is relatively small and plum shaped with orange skin and tiny freckles. Its amber flesh is juicy and mucilaginous with a deeply aromatic bouquet. The flavor of the Granadilla is bright, wet, and delightfully sweet.
The Granadilla is available from summer into fall.
The Granadilla is a delicious subtropical fruit that grows throughout Central and South America. It is a species of passionflower scientifically known as Passiflora ligularis. The fruit grows on lush green vines with stunningly unique flowers known for their abundance of striped purple and periwinkle petal-like filaments and bulbous anthers and styles. Granadilla is also known as lemi wai, lani wai, lemona, and sweet granadilla.
While the Granadilla is a powerhouse of flavor, it also packs a nutritive punch. It is a great source of fiber, niacin, potassium, and iron, as well as vitamins A, B, C, and K. The Granadilla is very low in saturated fat, cholesterol, and sodium.
The pungent sweetness of this fruit is delectable alone and as an ingredient in a variety of desserts. A few of the dishes that the Granadilla can play a starring role in include ice creams, sherbets, pies, pavlova, and cake frosting. It can also be used in mojitos or juiced. The tender seeds make a toothsome addition to fruit salads. To use the Granadilla, simply slice it into two halves and scoop out the flesh with a spoon.
When Spanish missionaries arrived in central America they were enthralled by the passionflower, a plant to which they attributed a depth of Christian symbolism. The “passion” in the flower’s epithet refers to the passion of Christ, the period of time between the Last Supper and Christ’s death on the cross. Within the intricacy of the flower’s anatomy, missionaries found the crown of thorns (in the 72 filaments radiating from the blossom’s circumference) and the five wounds Jesus suffered in his execution (in the five stamens). His faithful apostles could be seen in the ten petals (Peter and Judas didn’t make the cut), and the three nails that held him to the cross were represented by three styles (which work as a sort of botanical fallopian tube). This flower’s metaphorical legacy lives on today, where it continues to be known as “the flower of the five wounds,” “espina de Cristo” (Christ’s thorn) and, of course, passionflower.
This fruit grows in both wild and cultivated landscapes from Mexico to South America, reaching as far south as Bolivia and Peru. It thrives in elevations between 3,000 and 8,850 feet.