Saturday, January 30, 2010

Pitaya (Dragon Fruit)

I first experienced dragon fruit in a market in Vung Tau in southern Vietnam in 1995. What a stunning fruit; waxy pink skin with crisp white or bright red flesh and edible seeds. Easy to peel and wonderful decorative qualities.

I just wanted to bring one back to Australia and plant the seeds here. I did finally think better of my idea to eat one just before flying out and ... well you know what I mean? So it was several years later that they made it to tropical Australia and I am pleased to see there is quite a pitayta industry now.

Pitaya is the fruit of a cactus that originates from Central and South America. The fruits are brightly coloured and have a pink and green skin, which is unique in appearance. The pulp is white or a vivid red and contains many small black edible seeds, which add an appealing crunch. The flesh is sweet and refreshing with a slightly acidic melon-like flavour. A pitaya should give a little when gently squeezed. The fruit can be stored in the refrigerator for up to three days. Cut in half lengthways then scoop out flesh. May be cut to suit needs. Best eaten chilled and sprinkled with lemon or lime juice to enhance the flavour. Blend with milk and yoghurt for a vivid milkshake.

Pitaya is rich in Vitamin C, antioxidants, dietary fibre and said to help lower blood glucose levels.

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