Maracuya, which commonly translates to “passion fruit,” is a favorite in Costa Rica, and for good reason. You couldn’t be blamed for thinking that maracuya is named for its sweet, yet tangy and sour flavor. But the passion fruit is actually named after the passion flower which, in turn, is named after the passion of Jesus Christ, especially the last days of his life.
There are different varieties of passion fruit. The variety common in North America and Europe is a small, spherical purple fruit. But we are interested in the maracuya which is enjoyed in Costa Rica and other parts of South America.
The Properties of Maracuya
So what does maracuya look like? These fruits are usually yellow and waxy looking. When ripe, the skin may be slightly wrinkled. They are egg-shaped and quite small, only about 3 inches long. Much like the purple passion fruit, the interior consists of edible dark brown seeds surrounded by a juicy, yellow pulp.
The pulp is where most of that delicious pungent flavor is found, the seeds are also good to eat. Maracuya has a stronger taste than the purple variety of passion fruit. It’s tart and has a very distinctive tropical flavor. It’s sweet enough as it is, but some people like to add sugar or honey.
It is similar to another South American fruit called the granadilla. Granadilla is slightly darker, lighter and has a translucent pulp instead of a yellow one. It is also sweeter than maracuya.
The health benefits of maracuya
Maracuya is delicious, which is reason enough to eat it whenever you can. But it’s also very nutritious, especially for its size. It’s a particularly good source of vitamins A and C, two antioxidants that boost the immune system.
These fruits also contain iron, potassium and other nutrients and minerals. These are all good for different reasons. For example, in addition to boosting your immune system, maracuya fruit improves eye, skin, and hair health.
Along with all those wonderful vitamins and minerals, these fruits are high in fiber and water. This means they can help with digestion while keeping you hydrated. This refreshing water content is especially welcome during the summer.
How to Enjoy Maracuya
You can eat maracuya raw or use it as an ingredient in several delicious traditional dishes and drinks. First, we will see how to eat it raw. If you’ve ever eaten a purple passion fruit, you’ll find the process very familiar.
First, we have the skin. The skin of the maracuya is inedible, so don’t try to use it in anything. Arm yourself with a sharp knife and a spoon. Cut it and remove the seeds and pulp, then enjoy. In Costa Rica, it can simply be eaten like this with a pinch of salt or sugar or used fresh to garnish a dessert. It is also commonly used to make maracuya juice.
Here are some popular recipes in Costa Rica that demonstrate the wide range of uses for maracuya.
passion fruit juice
Because maracuya is quite tart, most people add sugar when making maracuya juice. You can adjust the amount of sugar to your liking. Maracuya juice is refreshing and has many of the health benefits mentioned earlier.
- 5 ripe maracuyas
- 1 liter of water
- 1 cup of sugar
- Cut the fruit in half and use a spoon to scoop out all the pulp and seeds.
- Put the fruit in a blender and add the water and sugar.
- Pulse the mixture over high heat until everything is combined.
- Strain the liquid through a sieve to get rid of the seeds and pour it into a pitcher.
- Taste and add water or sugar if necessary. Serve chilled or with ice cubes.
Maracuya ice cream
By using maracuya juice, you can use it to make some truly fantastic treats. Most people love ice cream, especially in hot weather, but this ice cream is tangy and refreshing. Enjoy as is or serve with hot chocolate cake.
- 5-6 passion fruit
- 2 cups condensed milk
- ⅔ cup half and half
- Cut the maracuya in half and hollow out their pulp. Put the pulp in a blender with ¼ cup of water. Mix the mixture and pour the juice into a strainer to collect the seeds.
- Then put the juice back in the blender with the condensed milk and half and half. Blend it until smooth.
- Chill the mixture in the refrigerator for at least 4 hours.
- Put the mixture in an ice cream maker and follow the manufacturer’s instructions. Enjoy.
Maracuya and mango jam
This jam is sweet and tangy, with clear tropical flavors. You can also add ginger to give it a boost.