Business

The passion for passion fruit goes beyond Brazil’s borders

Among Brazil's most-loved summer fruits, the country's passion fruits are also sought after abroad for their medicinal and cosmetic properties

Passion fruit field in Petrolina, Pernambuco. Photo: Alf Ribeiro/Shutterstock
Passion fruit field in Petrolina, Pernambuco. Photo: Alf Ribeiro/Shutterstock

Something of an exotic item in much of the English-speaking world in decades past, the passion fruit has become a regular occurrence in greengrocers and markets around the globe. In Brazil, home to over 150 different varieties of the fruit, it holds pride of place in the country’s culinary and medicinal traditions.

The common-sense belief in Brazil is that passion fruits have calming properties, with natural food companies selling an array of passion fruit-based supplements extracted from the fruit’s skin. Scientists are dubious about this particular benefit — suggesting any calming compounds are concentrated in the plant’s leaves and...

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