Dragon fruit

Dragon fruit

Synonyms:
Pitaya, Pitahaya, Strawberry pear
Plural:
Dragon fruits
Family:
Cactaceae – Cactus family
Species:
Hylocereus triangularis

Origin

Pitahayas come from the tropical and semitropical areas of South America; they prosper in high coastal regions as they have lower atmospheric pressure.

Plant

Like the prickly pear, it is classed as a fruit of a cactus species. The plant has three-square-edged, up to 5 m long branches that form big, white-yellow, extremely attractive blossoms with quite strange looking fruits at the end. The Dragon fruit gets its name from its the leathery, greenish scale-like skin.

Cultivation

In the Columbian plantations, the cacti stand in long rows as espalier trees, low enough to harvest. They are also are also cultivated in Nicaragua.

Importations

They are imported from December to March and July to August from Columbia and Nicaragua.

Fruit

Edible:
Flesh and seeds.
Inedible:
The skin.
Odeur:
It is neutral.
Flavour:
They are refreshing and finely sour with a hint of gooeseberry.
Size:
Up to 10 cm long.
Shape:
Oval.
Bowl:
It is thicker than cactus fruits; depending on which variety, they can appear yellow with clear bulges or intensively red-and-green blazed with scales.
Flesh:
It consists of whitish and black seeds with yellow, reddish or whitish and black cores with the red and green varieties; soft, juicy and refreshing; their consistency similar to kiwis; they more aromatic than prickly pears.
Ripeness:
The Fruit is soft. For bright varieties the skin turns orange and red varieties turn toxic red and green.
Overripe fruits:
They become unpleasantly soft.
Unripe fruits:
the skin is green.

Usage

They may be consumed raw or used in sweet salads.

Storage

When ripe they may be stored for about 12 days at room temperature. For post-maturation, they should be put in a chilled area on top of a soft base.

Tip

Pitahayas are effective in supporting the digestive system and when consumed in large quantities, they can be used as a laxative!