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Banana passionfruit has an aromatic orange pulp studded with black seeds. Banana passionfruit is fragrant, with the aroma of oranges. The fruit grows on vines that reach 6 to 7 meters in height with green, shiny leaves. Banana passionfruit is oblong, measuring up to 12 centimeters in length. The skin of the fruit is thick and leathery, turning from green to bright yellow or orange-yellow as the fruit ripens. The pulp is juicy and sweet, with a tart bite and hints of banana. Although the seeds are edible, they can be bitter.
Banana passionfruit is available year-round in the tropics, with a peak season in the spring and fall months.
Banana passionfruit is botanically classified under the genus Passiflora. There are multiple cultivars of Banana passionfruit, including Passiflora tripartita var. mollissima and Passiflora tarminiana. The plant of the Banana passionfruit is a vigorous grower, maturing rapidly from its seed in just one year. The plant is known to live for 15 to 20 years. Banana passionfruit is a crop plant in South America and is valued because at full maturity, a single vine can produce 200 to 300 fruits. Banana passionfruit is known as Curuba in Colombia and Bolivia, Tacso in Ecuador, Parcha in Venezuela, and Tumbo in Peru. It is called Banana Poka in Hawaii.The attractive, deep pink blossoms of the Bnanana passionfruit plant are also grown as ornamentals, while vines are used in landscaping to cover trellises.
Banana passionfruit is a good source of fiber, vitamins A and C, and antioxidants. It contains calcium, phosphorus, iron, carbohydrates, and a small amount of protein.
Banana passionfruit is best eaten out of hand. Slice the fruit lengthways, and scoop the juicy pulp out of the skin with a spoon. The seeds of the fruit are edible. Banana passionfruit may be used in desserts such as cakes and pies, or in relishes, jams and other preserves. It pairs well with other tropical fruit like pineapples, kiwis, strawberries, mango, papaya, orange and guava in fruit salads. Banana passionfruit pairs well with fatty, creamy foods like cheesecake, cream sauces, duck breast, parfaits, and yogurt. In South America, Banana passionfruit is strained to remove the seeds for a smoother consistency, then used to flavor ice creams, juices and cocktails. In Colombia, it is drunk in milk smoothies, blended with honey or sugar. Store ripe Banana passionfruit in an open paper bag in the refrigerator, where they can last for around a week.
Banana passionfruit was given its English name in New Zealand, where it was introduced in the 1850s. It is illegal to sell and distribute the Banana passionfruit plant in both New Zealand and Hawaii, as it is considered to be an invasive species. Due to its fast-growing and upright climbing nature, the Banana passionfruit vines over grow and kill native plants, by blocking their access to sunlight. In the fragile ecosystems on the islands of Hawaii and Kauai, Banana passionfruit seeds are spread by birds and wild pigs, and the plant has over taken 520 square kilometers of native forest.
Banana passionfruit is native to the tropical and subtropical Andean regions of South America, and in Venezuela, and eastern Colombia, Bolivia and Peru. Banana passionfruit reached the United States in 1920, when the Department of Agriculture received seeds from Ecuador and Colombia. It is not commonly grown in the US today. It is found in most tropical regions of the world, including in the Mediterranean, Africa, Australia and India.