This is the pitya, dragon fruit – indigenous to Central America but is also grown and exported from several Southeast Asian countries, such as Thailand and Vietnam. Obtained from several cactus species, its succulent stem provides the uniquely delicious fruit with moisture in the arid climates where it grows.
Dragon fruit is also knows as Dragon Fruit, Red Pitahaya, Night blooming Cereus, Strawberry Pear, Belle of the Night, conderella plant.
Other common names: French: cierge-lezard, poire de chardon, German: distelbirn, echte stachelbirn, drachenfrucht, Hawaiian: Pa-nani-o-ka, Portoguese: cato-barse, cardo-ananaz, Spanish: pitahaya roja (Colombia, Mexico, Venezuela); flor de caliz, pitajava (Puerto Rico); junco, junco tapatio, pitahaya orejona, reina de la noche, tasajo (Mexico), Swedish: skogskaktus, röd pitahaya
Some dragon fruits have red or yellow skin (which looks a little like a soft pineapple with spikes) and white or red flesh, but always the beginnings of overlaid leaves, similar to an artichoke, and an abundance of small, black, edible seeds. The flavor is mildly sweet, like a blend of kiwi and pear, and it has a crunchy texture.
While it may seem a little strange at first, it's easy to get to the fruit. Simply slice lengthwise and either scoop out the flesh, or quarter it and peel back the leathery skin. Eat only the white part with seeds, removing any residual pink parts, which are bitter.
To choose a ripe dragon fruit: look for bright, even-colored skin. If the fruit has a lot of blotches, it may be over-ripe (a few is normal). Hold the dragon fruit in your palm and try pressing the skin with your thumb or fingers - it should give a little, but shouldn't be too soft or mushy. If it's very firm, it will need to ripen for a few days.
To preserve most of its flavor and nutrients, the dragon fruit is usually eaten raw as a healthy snack, salad
or it is pureed into juice
), cup cake
), cheese cake
, Yogurt Mousse Cake
, layer cake
, pancakes, breakfast dishes, sherbet
), popsicles (also see here and here ), panna-cotta
, Pitaya Plus Radiance Parfait
pitya is low in calories and offers numerous nutrients, including Vitamin C
, phosphorus, calcium, plus fiber and antioxidants.
Health Benefits of Pitaya.
1. Dragon fruit boosts immune system. Dragon fruit is rich in vitamin C and fibers that help provide an overall healthy body.
2. Dragon fruit helps in digestion. Because of the richness in fibers, Dragon fruit aids in the digestion of food, Studies also suggest that Dragon fruit promotes the growth of probiotics.
3. Dragon fruit help to lower blood glucose levels in type 2 diabetes. Studies also suggest that the the glucose found in Dragon fruit aids in controlling the blood sugar level for diabetes patients.
4. Dragon fruit prevent formation of cancer causing free radicals. Dragon fruit is rich in minerals and fibers that aids in digestion, cleans toxic ingredients thus preventing the occurrence of colon cancer.
5. Dragon fruit as anti-oxidant. The presence of high level of vitamin C, minerals and pytoalbumin is regarded as relevant in fighting free radicals and possess anti-oxidant properties.
6. Dragon fruit helps to control cholesterol level. Dragon fruit is also rich in flavonoids that are known to have favorable effects against cardio related disease.
7. Dragon fruit promotes healing of wounds and cuts.
8. Dragon fruit improves appetite.
9. Dragon fruit improves eye sight
10. Dragon fruit can aid in weight reduction
11. Dragon fruit improves memory.
Read More at Wikipedia.
Recipe using Pitaya see Here and Here, Here.