Thursday, 5 May 2011

Passion Every Which Way: Good For Your Health


I'm talking about passion of the fruit variety.  Brazil's large maracujá are glossy yellow with a juicy orange pulp and are my current addiction.  They have become a regular feature in my kitchen, taking up prime fruit-bowl real estate previously reserved for disappointing apples and pears, which I have finally given up on.

When buying passion fruits you want the ones with wrinkled skin which  are ripe and sweet (in the sweetest way a very sour thing can be).  They should also feel relatively heavy if they are juicy.  I whizz them in the blender with water and pass through a sieve for a righteous-tasting drink.  Add sugar if you want but I prefer it without.  (If you add cachaça and ice you get a caiprinha de maracujá). But my absolute favourite way to eat them is in one of Brazil's finest and the World's easiest to make desserts - the classic Mousse de Maracujá.  Whizz them in the blender again, this time with equal measure of cream and condensed milk and pass through a sieve before leaving in the fridge to set. Eat and die happy.

There is a conviction here in Brazil that the fruit has calming properties, and is therefore a great thing to give hyperactive kids in the evening.  Mine adore the mousse but I'm sure all the sugar in the condenses milk negates the effect.  I'm ok with that, since they're getting an alphabet load of vitamins, anti-oxidants and fibre.  A bonus is that the seeds work naturally to combat intestinal parasites, which is great for my kids who play in dirty sandy playgrounds!

Apparently even consuming the skins of passion fruits can be beneficial as it limits the effects of glucose absorption, helps combat bad cholesterol and improves digestive function.  You can cook it until it's soft and add it chopped to salads but that doesn't appeal to me much.  I bought it today in a powdered format to add to smoothies and baked goods and will report back on how that tastes!

However good they may be, I read that you shouldn't exceed four maracujá fruits per day!  Evidently too much of anything, especially passion, can be a bad thing.







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