Giant granadillas are just one out of 450 plans in the Passiflora genus. Giant granadilla’s name comes from its magnificent size: of all of the species in the Passiflora family, it holds the honor of the group’s largest. The fruit can easily grow to the size of a small oblong melon on its twisted, curly pumpkin-like vine.
Origin of Giant Granadilla
According to the book, “Underutilized and Underexploited Horticultural Crops,” giant granadillas originate in South America (likely Brazil), and have since become naturalized in many other countries. Not long after its arrival in the Caribbean, the Europeans brought the fruits to India, Africa, and Australia.
Giant granadilla’s cultivation efforts began in the 18th century, and references to the fruit appear in 1815 in “The Botanical Register.” Author Sydenham Teast Edwards mentions the fruit as being “much cultivated in the West Indies as an ornamental climber.” He also notes that a few botanists were growing them in the hot houses of Britain, a common pastime for scientists, botanists and the aristocracy of Europe. William Rhind cites in his book, “A History of the Vegetable Kingdom” that giant granadillas arrived to the UK near the same time as pineapples.
Availability of Giant Granadilla in India
Giant granadilla thrives in India’s lowlands at elevations up to 3,000 ft. In order to grow, the fruit requires high humidity and warm temperatures that do not fluctuate substantially from day to night. Regions of India growing giant granadilla are Assam’s city of Tezpur, Uttarakhand’s Dehradun, and parts of Maharashtra.
Where to find Giant Granadilla in India
Giant granadillas appear sporadically in these growing regions from July through October. Few vendors sell giant granadillas, as it’s a specialty fruit with limited distribution. Because giant granadillas ripen quickly and must be handled with extreme care, they do not ship well to other parts of India.
Checking for Ripeness in Giant Granadilla
As a giant granadilla ripens, it emits a gorgeous aroma resembling strawberries, lime and melons. Its skin turns from pale green to yellow-green. Like a papaya, giant granadillas sometimes develop ugly brown spots on the skin—though they are not attractive, the spots have no bearing on the fruit’s taste.
Giant granadilla shares similarities to honeydew in color and texture. When cut in half, the pulp is white with a pinkish tinge; and, like other passion fruit varieties, the seeds are gray and coated with a sweet, gelatinous substance.
Taste of Giant Granadilla
Giant granadilla’s taste is often compared to a pear in its mild sweetness and mellow, sub acidic flavor. Its texture is grainy like a guava, but fleshy and a juicy like a melon. Some state the soft, subtly sweet flavor is bland not particularly exciting
The waxy peel is edible, but like a papaya, is best peeled before consumption. The arils have the sour sweetness common among passion fruit varieties. In fact, the arils are the most the flavorful part of the fruit. Every effort should be made to extract the gelatinous seeds for use in recipes.
Nutritional Value of Giant Granadilla
An analysis conducted in El Salvador and published by Purdue’s horticulture department lists giant granadilla’s nutritional value per 100g of flesh as follows:
14.3mg Ascorbic acid
Its kcal value is 228 per 100g
Health Benefits of Giant Granadilla
Giant granadilla has many applications in traditional medicine, primarily to ease stomach issues and to prevent scurvy. The author of the book, “Underutilized and Underexploited Horticultural Crops,” explains that in Brazilian folk medicine, the fruit alleviates asthma, treats diarrhea and dysentery, relieves insomnia and anxiety, acts as a sedative, treats skin issues and intestinal worms, and the roots expel toxins by inducing bowel movements or vomiting. A 2007 study published in Phytotherapy Research affirms giant granadilla’s traditional use as a tool to reduce anxiety.
The African Journal of Plant Science published a study from North Maharashtra University citing the plant’s efficacy for a number of things:
--Heals snake bites by reducing hemorrhaging
--Is a chemopreventive when tested in rats
--Acts as a possible bactericide
--Potentially lowers cholesterol
--Acts as an anthelminthic
--Treats bronchitis, whooping cough and asthma
--Is patented for its ability to reduce hypertension and treat diabetic complications.
Note: Giant granadilla contains passiflorine, a compound known to induce drowsiness and lethargy. The tree’s raw root is considered poisonous and narcotic. The leaves and root also contain alkaloids that may enhance or exacerbate the experience of mind-altering drugs.
How to Open/Cut Giant Granadilla
Giant granadillas may be cut with ease. If perfectly ripe, the flesh is like a papaya’s: Soft, and easily sliced.
To remove the skin from a giant granadilla, cut off both ends of the oblong fruit. Then, use a vegetable peeler to remove the skin. If desiring bite-sized chunks, cut the peeled fruit in half, remove the seeds and place them in a separate bowl for later use. Next, scoop out the membrane from the inside. Cut the fleshy halves into wedges and slice into bite-sized pieces.
As is the case with other passion fruit varieties, the piquant arils are perfectly edible and require no removal.
|Barbadine punch from|
Giant Granadilla Recipe Ideas and Uses:
Giant granadilla should be paired with other fruits to enhance its flavor. It goes well with other tropical fruits such as banana, lime, coconut, orange, papaya, pineapple, mango, and other variants of passion fruit. To bring out the fruit’s subtle floral notes, use salt, sugar, agave nectar or lime juice. Nutmeg is another spice frequently added to giant granadillas, particularly for punch.
--Cut and serve with the aforementioned fruits for a fruit salad. Make a light dressing from orange juice, coconut oil and mint.
--Use the flesh in ice cream, as is common in Trinidad
--Make barbadine punch, another well-known refreshment in Trinidad: separate the pulp from the arils and blend the robust, bright pulp with dairy-free milk and sugar. Serve the drink as-is, or add to a banana smoothie.
--Cook slices of the fruit with sugar and serve as a dessert resembling poached peaches
--To make a pie filling, stew the flesh with sugar and remove from the stovetop. Next, fold in the aril pulp. Mash with bananas and add a few drops of vanilla.
--Make jelly by boiling the pulp in one container, and the flesh in another. Strain the juice from the pulp and the flesh, and then add lemon juice and sugar. Let the concoction sit, as the texture will resemble jelly over time. Preserve and store.
--In Indonesia, juice made from the arils grace the menu of several restaurants.
--Indonesians also create syrup from the arils, which is then pumped atop shaved ice
--Unripe giant granadilla may be treated like an unripe breadfruit: prepare it as a root or potato-like vegetable by steaming or boiling the fruit.
--Simmer chunks of unripe giant granadilla in coconut milk and spices as part of a curry
--Make a dessert cream infused with giant granadilla by blending the pulp in a food processor with sugar, water, and a dash of lemon rind. Separately whip coconut milk into froth. Then, fold the blended giant granadilla pulp concoction into the coconut whip.
--Make a cheesecake batter with giant granadilla pulp, blended soft tofu, lemon juice, coconut milk, vegan gelatin or agar agar dissolved in hot water.
Fruits: Banana, lime, coconut, orange, papaya, pineapple, mango, granadilla, passion fruit, guava, muskmelon, feijoa, pomelo, soursop, custard apple, sweet lime, watermelon, strawberry, kiwi
Vegetables: Potato, yam, parsnip
Herbs, spices, and oil: mint, basil, coconut cream, coconut milk, coconut oil, lemon juice, limejuice, citrus rind, orange blossom, vanilla, rum, nutmeg, mace, anise, cinnamon, cashew, almond, gelatin
Giant passion fruit