Fruit [Satur]day: Pitaya

Yes, I know I’m a day late, but at least it’s here. This week’s fruit is the pitaya (or pitahaya), also known as dragon fruit. It is native to Mexico, Central America, and South America. There are a bunch of different varieties which you can read about here. It only blooms at night which is why its flowers are called moonflowers. In Asia the red-skinned version is the most common and you can find it at Asian markets (I’ve seen them in China Town). Here, however, we grow the more rare yellow-skinned kind. Behold!

It doesn’t look particularly inviting from the outside. That’s because it belongs to the cactus species. Cut it in half though and the delicious jelly is exposed.

As you can see the clear jelly (white in the red pitaya) is filled with little seeds that are full of anti-oxidant properties. In fact, 90% of the fruit is water-based and rich in calcium phosphorus and iron.

It tastes slightly sweet and very refreshing. According to wikipedia it has some medicinal uses such as “increases excretion of heavy metal toxins and lowers cholesterol and blood pressure”, along with alleviating chronic respiratory tract ailments. According to my cousin it has bowel-clearing properties, which may be true due to the high fiber content. I don’t really remember eating much pitaya in my life, so I always thought I just didn’t like it. That’s strange because it’s definitely a perfect snack fruit you can just dip your spoon into.

That concludes this week Fruit “Friday”.  I hope I satisfied your craving for exotic fruit knowledge. See you next week.

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