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D is for Dragonfruit

Updated on May 13, 2013

Dragonfruit 101

Pitaya also known as Dragonfruit, is among the most nutritious in all exotic fruit native in Central and South America dated way back in the 13th century. It belongs to the several cacti specie that grows with vine-like branches with red and yellow outer skin with white or red edible flesh that tastes like of the kiwifruit due to its black crunchy seeds.

Dragonfruit are a perfect ingredient for making smoothies, juices, wine and flavourings plus its excellent medicinal value. It can also be eaten raw by peeling off the skin, chilled and eaten as is. It is highly concentrated with Vitamin C, minerals and fiber. It requires a tropical climate for its commercial purposes to have a successful plantation.

So, what are you waiting for check out dessert recipes I included here that is perfect in your future family menu. Hopefully this lens will help you sort them out a bit more and find new ways to cook with them.

Do you know?

  1. It blooms only at night and it has large white cactus-shape flowers that are called "Queen of the Night" or "Moonflower".
  2. Dragon fruit is typically available in September and October.
  3. It has a big bright red fruit's thick skin presents prominent scales giving it the appearance of an exotic oriental lantern.
  4. Unopened flower buds are sometimes cooked and eaten as a vegetable.
  5. Dragon fruits are rich in antioxidants. They help prevent the formation of carcinogenic free-radicals.
  6. Dragon fruits are widely consumed in Asian countries like Taiwan, Vietnam, Thailand, the Philippines, Sri Lanka and Malaysia.

A pitaya or pitahaya is the fruit of several cactus species, most importantly of the genus Hylocereus (sweet pitayas). The vine-like epiphytic pitaya-producing cacti of the genus Hylocereus are native to Mexico, Central America, and South America. Currently, they are also cultivated in East Asian and Southeast Asian countries such as Indonesia (especially in western Java), Taiwan, Vietnam, Thailand, the Philippines, Sri Lanka, Malaysia, and more recently Bangladesh. They are also found in Okinawa, Hawaii, Israel, northern Australia and southern China.

Hylocereus blooms only at night; the large white fragrant flowers of the typical cactusflower shape are among those called "moonflower" or "Queen of the Night". Sweet pitayas have a creamy pulp and a delicate aroma. It is also grown as an Ornamental plant, used in gardens as a flowering vine, and a house plant indoors.

read the rest of the Wikipedia article

* Common Name: Dragonfruit

* Specie: Cactus

* Genus: Hylocereus

Types of Dragonfruit

There are some variety of dragonfruit with variations in color of its skinned and flesh from fuschia red to white, red to red and yellow to white when ripens.

Red Pitaya (Hylocereus undatus)

- It is the most commonly seen dragon fruit known for its red-skinned fruit with white flesh.

Costa Rica Pitaya (H. polyrhizus)

- It has red-skinned fruit with red flesh.

Costa Rica Pitaya (H. megalanthus)

- It has yellow-skinned fruit with white flesh.

To make planting simple, dragon fruit pitaya is planted by cuttings. Some forums and concern farmers call these dragon fruit cuttings as seedlings. These dragon fruit cuttings are easy to grow and plant as from cuttings, you plant them and care for them making sure that you do not over water the nursery to avoid decomposing as fungi grows when dragon fruit plant is over watered. You have to care for the dragon fruit cutting that you just planted for over a month and they can be good to plant in your farm or even in a big pot after that.

Dragon fruit planting or farming will yield crops according to some farmers in a matter of 6 months to 9 months only which is a very short time span for farming which will surely give you high return on your investment. The only enemy of dragon fruit planting and farming is when you get hit by typhoon as we all know can really leave a devastating effect to the crops. Belonging to the cacti family of plants, the dragon fruit does not like so much water so it must be avoided at all costs and a typhoon might cause a serious problem if it happens.

This will also be a good clue for those looking for planting dragon fruit information that if the harvest time will take you about 6 months to 9, then it would be nice to plant the crop right after the typhoon months like in the Philippines which is July or upwards which means that you can make a harvest somewhere in the middle of summer months.

Photo Courtesy of Imbrickle

Information Courtesy of InternetPhilippines.com

How to Plant Dragon Fruit Pitaya in the Tropics

Nutrition Facts

Have you eaten a dragonfruit before? Did you know that the Dragonfruit has a rich variety of vitamins and mineral nutrients that can help improve your metabolism and endurance. According to scientific study, a honey dragonfruit is very good for digestion, blood circulation and can very well reduce emotional stress and neutralize toxins in the body. It also can prevent colon cancers and lowering blood fat. The Red-red/purple colored pigment found in Dragon fruit is called "Anthocyanins" which help to control heart rate and slow aging. As well as the small black seeds also have "albumen" essential for proper digestion and collect waste food in the stomach, producing toxins and excess minerals in the stomach. It is also rich in Vitamin C that lightens the skin and good aid for certain virus.

Recipe Courtesy of Calimoya.com

Ingredients

  • 2 Dragonfruit
  • 1 cup water
  • sugar or other sweetener to taste
  • lemon juice
  • Sorbet Maker (electric or manual are best)

Instructions

  1. In a pot, put the cup of water and the sweetener. Bring just short of a boil mixing constantly to dissolve the sweetener into the water. Set aside when the sugar is completely dissolved and allow to cool fully. While the water syrup is cooling, cut the fruit into halves. (If you wish to serve the sorbet in using the outer layer as a container, rub the inner surface and the cut edge with lemon juice to preserve the color and keep cool in the fridge. If frozen, they will tend to loose their brilliant color. Scrape out the flesh with a spoon and pure the flesh in a blender, food processor or other type of machine to turn the flesh into a smooth pure. (This helps cut down on the tendency of the Dragon Fruit to become gelatinous like Okra.) Add the juice of the lemon to the puree both to preserve the color and to balance the natural sweetness of the fruit and heighten the flavor. Stir the "syrup" into the pureed fruit and put into the sorbet or ice cream maker.
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Dessert Recipe Books for Tropical Fruits

D is for Dragonfruit

D is for Dragonfruit is lens #209 by the author.

D is for Dragonfruit Feedback - Your comments are highly appreciated. Thank you.

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    • profile image

      anonymous 

      6 years ago

      how do you prune a dragon fruit bush?

    • SciTechEditorDave profile image

      David Gardner 

      6 years ago from San Francisco Bay Area, California

      Okay, you know today is a Squidoo quest day! So:

      !eceipretsam oodiuqS a no snoitalutargoC

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