Pitahaya / Dragonfruit


A pitaya is the fruit of several cactus species, most importantly of the genus Hylocereus (sweet pitayas). These fruit are also known as pitahaya, dragon fruit, fire dragon fruit","dragon pearl fruit", strawberry pear, nanettikafruit, or thanh long. Native to Mexico and Central and South America, the vine-like epiphytic Hylocereus cacti are also cultivated in Southeast Asian countries such as Taiwan, Vietnam, the Philippines, and Malaysia. They are also found in Okinawa, Israel, northern Australia and southern China. Hylocereus blooms only at night; they have large white fragrant flowers of the typical cactusflower shape, that are often called Moonflower or Queen of the Night. Sweet pitayas have a creamy pulp and a delicate aroma.

How to use: When you are eating dragon fruit fresh, most importantly, you eat the flesh of the fruit not the skin (rind) and leaves in most cases! However, if your fresh dragon fruit has a soft enough skin (some are tougher than others), then it will do you no harm to eat the skin - but most people don't do it.

When you think of how to eat dragon fruit and dragon fruit skins, think of how folks eat kiwi fruit and kiwi fruit fuzzy skins. Some folks eat kiwi including the skin. It's a similar choice. Most don't. Some do.

How to buy: First before you even think how to eat dragon fruit fresh, you need to pick your dragon fruit (either literally off the vine, or picking the dragon fruit 'off the shelf' at the market), when you select your fresh dragon fruit, you want to pick it carefully to find one that is already ripe. Pick dragon fruit which are not hard to the touch. Think as you would when selecting the more common avaocado. Avoid picking dragon fruit that is hard, as it was likely picked early. Commercial dragon fruit growers will often pick dragon fruit early to let it better withstand shipping. Likely the pitahaya fruit picked this way will not have developed a good flavor or proper texture.

Pick your fresh dragon fruit that yields like a ripe avocado or ripe papaya - that's the best way to think of it.

Colored Flesh / Pink Skinned

Pitahaya_red This is the Red Pitahaya. Of the two pink skinned varieties of pitahaya, the sweeter. Yielding fruits larger than those of the yellow skinned dragon fruit (with fruits up to more than 2 lbs in weight).

Costa Rica Pitaya

White Fleshed / Pink Skinned:

Pitahaya_red These are perhaps the most common variety of the three varieties of dragon fruit cactus and are slightly to significantly less sweet than the pink or red fleshed pitaya fruit.

White Fleshed / Yellow Skinned

Pitahaya_yellow Generally the sweetest of the three varieties of pitaya, and with smaller sized fruits.