Passionfruit leaves are edible too - raw and cooked! How revolutionary!
The beautiful, vigorous vines of the passionfruit (Passiflora edulis) have abundant leaves. Having recently found this out, passionfruit leaves have joined my list of amazingly abundant greens growing freely in the garden - adding to the list of sweet potato leaves (not at all like the inedible potato leaves), pumpkin leaves, cranberry hibiscus, Surinam spinach, Brazilian spinach that I discuss in the film below.
Knowing that passionfruit leaves are edible changes again the amount of food I see in my garden - abundant gardening can sometimes happen simply through a shift in perception.
I have a passionfruit vine growing wildly up my verandah post and the passionfruit are gradually forming. Another is scrambling along a fence below our compost bays.
No more waiting for the passionfruit to form, I can be eating the leaf too, and of course the flower (but obviously that takes away from the amount of fruit that forms).
Passionfruit comes from the Amazon rainforest near Brazil, Argentina and Paraguay. The leaves were used by the indigenous peoples of this region to relieve pain and as a sedative. They also used it as a poultice for cuts and bruises. In the 1800s, it was used in southern US for headaches, pain, colic, epilepsy and convulsions. By the 20th century this plant had spread around the world
Where can passionfruit grow?
The passionfruit vine is a vigorous, evergreen climber but is generally short lived (5-7 years). It likes full sun, except in really hot summers. Here in the Queensland subtropics, mine is flourishing with some shade.
It prefers warmer climates, but can be grown in a greenhouse or even indoors. It needs a strong trellis or structure to grow on.
For a good fruit crop, passionfruit needs lots of sun, plenty of food, well drained soil, lots of water and thick mulch. The fruits start forming after about 18 months.
How to use the leaves?
Young tender passionfruit leaves can be used as a raw leafy green in salads or as a spinach-type cooked green in quiches, curries, stir fries, soups or pastas. They contain vitamin A and niacin.
The dried leaves are used for calming teas and herbal remedies.
I've only just started experimenting. I remove the stems, roll up the leaves and then very finely slice. They make a great sambal - with coconut, onion, lime juice and chillies.