Dragon Fruit Pitahaya Fruit
Exotic Tropical Beauties ~
One of the most strikingly vivid of exotic fruits I have come across has to be the Dragon Fruit, also called Pitahaya Fruit.
Visually it is a most unusual looking fruit both on the outside and on the inside. I envy any of you who see this exotic creation in abundance where you live as it is not a native or even naturalized fruit where I come from.
Pitaya Fruit are often classed as Dragon fruit and in fact belong to a different genus so to clear up any confusion, let’s take a look at two exotic beauties, the Pitahaya and Pitaya Fruits.
Pitaya Fruit (Stenocereus)
The Stenocereus group of Pitaya fruits (sour Pitaya) are commonly found in the most arid regions of the Americas.
The Sonoran Desert in Arizona, one of the hottest deserts in North America, is home to the pitaya agria (Stenocereus gummosus), a sour pitaya that is an important food source of the Native Americans.
Also cultivated in Mexico, these “sour” tart fruits include some species that may taste a little sweet but still not as sweet as the Pitahaya Dragon Fruit ones.
Pitaya are said to taste more like a watermelon.
Red Skinned Dragon Fruit
Pink / Purple Flesh Pitahaya Fruit
Pitahaya Fruit (Hylocereus)
Pitahaya Fruit, commonly called Dragon Fruit, Strawberry Pear and Nanettika Fruit, are the fruits found on the vine like cacti of the genus Hylocereus.
They are native to Central America, South America and Mexico.
Thankfully today they are more widespread and grow extensively throughout East and Southeast Asian countries including Cambodia, Vietnam, Thailand, Indonesia, Malaysia and the Philippines.
They are also cultivated today in Hawaii, Cyprus, Israel, South China, and Okinawa and in Northern Australia.
These cacti have beautiful fragrant white flowers many do not see bloom as they only come out at night and have been called moonflower and Queen of the night.
Apart from growing wild, or commercially, these cacti are often used as ornamental plants in the home, grown in private gardens or as an indoor plant.
The Dragon Fruit of the Hylocereus is generally sweeter than the Pitaya Fruit and the flesh is creamy with many tiny black seeds which are edible .
Its taste is not as striking or exotic as its appearance and has been called “bland”. The taste is similar to a melon or kiwi fruit but sweeter.
Dragon Fruit Pitahaya Species ~
There are three different varieties of the sweet Pitahaya:
Hylocereus undatus is red skinned Pitahaya fruit with white flesh and is the most common of all Dragon Fruit and is known as Pitahaya Blanca.
Hylocereus costaricensis is red skinned with red or purple flesh and is commonly known as Pitahaya Roja.
Hylocereus megalanthus is a yellow skinned variety with white flesh and also known as Pitahaya Amarilla.
Varieties of Dragon Fruit
Growing Dragon Fruit ~
As shown in the video (3 methods of growing from seeds) it is possible to grow these from the seeds in the fruit at home.
The plants are usually grown in the soil and favor the tropical warm climates and have the ability to withstand some rainfall.
Natural climbers, these vines like plants will commonly attach themselves to something as they continue to develop. Another way to grow the plant is from a broken healthy piece of stem and is commonly used in homes to root and grow Dragon fruit successfully.
Two intriguing facts about these cacti is the flowers only come out at night and it is then that they are pollinated by bats and moths.
This is extremely important as without the bats or moths very few species have the ability to self pollinate. As much as we may not be enamored with bats, they are important and certainly play a major role in the Dragon Fruit cacti plants.
Approximately 30 – 50 days after the flowers are gone, the fruit appears and will often have 5 – 6 harvests per year.
3 Easy Methods of How to Grow Dragon Fruit From Seeds
Nutritional Content ~
Dragon fruit are extremely nutritious and beneficial to our health.
High in Vitamin C – helps build the Immune System and is a Natural Detoxifier.
High in Protein - boosts the Metabolism.
Calcium – helps Strengthen Bones and Teeth naturally.
Fibre – aids in Constipation and Irregular Bowel Movements.
Also contains in lesser amounts: Vitamin B12, Vitamin B1, Vitamin B3, Antioxidants, Phosphorus, Iron, Ash, Carbohydrate and Carotene.
Additional Health Benefits ~
- Appetite Stimulant
- Lowers Glucose Levels
- Improves Memory
- Moisturizes Skin
- Respiratory Infections
- Lowers Cholesterol
- Lowers High Blood Pressure
- Low in Calories
Breafast Crepe with fresh Pitahaya Fruit
- Fresh out of skin
- Fruit Salads
- Topped with Yogurt
- Fruit Soups
- Stir Fry
Choosing Ripe Dragon Fruit ~
Look for fruit with bright colored skin. Signs of it being over-ripe are many brown blotches on the skin or stems that are brown, dry or brittle.
Leaves with brown tips are also a sign it may well be over-ripe.
Press the skin with your thumb. It should give a little, not be soft and mushy (over-ripe) to the feel or have no give at all (not ripe yet and will need a day or two to soften up).
How to Eat Dragon Fruit ~
An easy fruit to prepare at home, there are several methods of cutting the fruit.
Like a melon, you may slice down the length of the fruit to have two halves.
Using a spoon, scoop around the fruit flesh, releasing it from the skin and set on a chopping board.
Check for any skin and remove as it is indigestible.
Chop the fruit into cubes and put back into your skin as a serving dish!
Easy and makes for a stunning presentation too.
Equally you could cut the flesh into segments, slices or mash depending on what way you are using the fruit.
Cutting the fruit width wise is another method or peeling the skin off completely
How to Eat Dragon Fruit
Ever tried Pitahaya, Dragon Fruit?
Dragon Fruit Recipes ~
by Rajan Jolly
- Dragon (Pitaya) Fruit - Nutrients, Nutritional And Health Benefits
Learn about the amazing health benefits of this tropical, exotic, delicious nutritional superfruit which has a unique shape and an intense color...
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Author Info ~
Information on the author, her bio and full body of works available @ Suzie HQ
Credit to homesteadbound ~
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© 2013 Suzanne Ridgeway