Wednesday, 18 January 2017

A passion for Grenadillas

The grenadilla vine has draped itself up high in a neighbour’s overhanging tree. The strings of green bauble-like fruit gave the garden a very Christmassy feel over the holidays. Time spent in the vegetable garden is now punctuated by thuds coming from the herbaceous border, as the ripe grenadillas drop.

Of all the instructions of how to plant, water, prune and harvest your grenadilla fruit, I only managed the planting and watering correctly. I did try to confine it to its trellis. But on arrival home one weekend we noticed that the grenadilla had discovered the tree next door. It had started to climb from its trellis into the tree.

I decided that I cannot control everything. Looking at the neat rows of beans, carrots, brinjals and beetroot, I looked up into the tree where the grenadilla was passionately reaching new heights. I decided that giving the grenadilla its freedom would be like letting my gardening hair down, and why not.

On a sunny day I decided to set the grenadilla free and in the process I unwittingly created a danger zone of potential falling fruit. The first season was fairly quiet with a couple of fruit falling down. But this season it is crazy, with about 20 to 30 fruit coming down on a daily basis.

Picking is out of the question. The grenadillas are hanging about 8 meters high, up in the tree. One can only wait for the ripe fruit to drop. Luckily they have tough skins and only one or two that fall on the stone path behind the cottage tend to burst open.

Pruning will be a problem. As for harvesting, I have to leave it to the grenadilla to decide when it is going to let go of the purple fruit.

Grenadilla liqueur in the making

With a kitchen where every hollow container is now filled with grenadillas, it is open season for recipes that call for them. And even some that do not call for grenadillas but could possibly still get some.

Grenadillas contains antioxidants, vitamins A and C, riboflavin, niacin, iron, magnesium, phosphorus, potassium, copper, fibre, and protein. All the nutrient, mineral, and vitamin content of the grenadilla make it a worthy addition to any diet.

Some of the benefits include the ability to prevent cancerous growth, stimulate digestion, boost immune function, improve eyesight, increase skin health, lower blood pressure and boost circulation. It apparently also reduces signs of premature aging, lessens inflammation, improves sleeping habits, and eliminates asthma.

Grenadilla ice cubes
I use them in salad dressings, sauces, freeze them and make liqueur with them.  I discover new ways of using grenadillas on a weekly basis. Sometimes I simply scoop the pulp and pips out to enjoy the sweetness of this strange fruit. More often, I am surprised with a very tart experience because I have not discovered how to judge the sweetness of a grenadilla by appearance.

Even though we are over-run by grenadillas, we have not lost our passion for them yet. There remain many ways of preparing and eating grenadillas to explore and discover.


  1. Extraordinarily prolific this fruit. A lovely quandary to have - how to make the best of an oversupply of grenadillas! Lovely post, thanks.

  2. Sure no pun intended. Is a delicious fruit. I seem to think the slightly wrinlky ones taste the best. Thanks for our bounty!


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