The passionfruit vine is a shallow-rooted, woody, perennial, climbing by means of tendrils. The alternate, evergreen leaves, deeply 3-lobed when mature, are finely toothed, 3 to 8 in (7.5-20 cm) long, deep-green and glossy above, paler and dull beneath, and, like the young stems and tendrils, tinged with red or purple, especially in the yellow form. A single, fragrant flower, 2 to 3 in (5-7.5 cm) wide, is borne at each node on the new growth. The bloom, clasped by 3 large, green, leaflike bracts, consists of 5 greenish-white sepals, 5 white petals, a fringelike corona of straight, white-tipped rays, rich purple at the base, also 5 stamens with large anthers, the ovary, and triple-branched style forming a prominent central structure. Within is a cavity more or less filled with an aromatic mass of double-walled, membranous sacs filled with orange-colored, pulpy juice and as many as 250 small, hard, dark-brown or black, pitted seeds. The flavor is appealing, musky, guava-like, subacid to acid.
Passionfruit juice can be boiled down to a sirup which is used in making sauce, gelatin desserts, candy, ice cream, sherbet, cake icing, cake filling, meringue or chiffon pie, cold fruit soup, or in cocktails. The seeded pulp is made into jelly or is combined with pineapple or tomato in making jam. The flavor of passionfruit juice is impaired by heat preservation unless it is done by agitated or “spin” pasteurization in the can. The frozen juice can be kept without deterioration for 1 year at 0º F (-17.78º C) and is a very appealing product. The juice can also be “vacuum-puff” dried or freeze-dried. Swiss processors have marketed a passionfruit-based soft drink called “Passaia” for a number of years in Western Europe. Costa Rica produces a wine sold as “Parchita Seco.”
There is currently a revival of interest in the pharmaceutical industry, especially in Europe, in the use of the glycoside, passiflorine, especially from P. incarnata L., as a sedative or tranquilizer. Italian chemists have extracted passiflorine from the air-dried leaves of P. edulis. in other countries, The juice of passionfruits is given as a digestive stimulant and treatment for gastric cancer.
Source by Purdue University