The pitaya or dragon fruit is a tasty and colorful exotic fruit, coming from a cactus. It will enhance your original fruit salads and will bring you many health benefits thanks to its richness in fiber, water and vitamins. It is a fruit native to Central America and Southeast Asia that is mainly found in Asian grocery stores although it appears more and more in supermarkets and in frozen products.
Characteristics of the pitaya:
- High water content;
- Rich in antioxidant;
- Rich in fiber;
- Stimulates intestinal transit;
- Slows down the aging of the body.
What is the pitaya?
On average, a pitaya measures ten centimeters and weighs around 350g. It can weigh up to 1kg. The skin is most often bright pink and its pulp can be white or pink, in all cases, small black seeds similar to those of the kiwi are found scattered in the flesh.
Pitaya identity card
- Type: Cactus;
- Origin: Southeast Asia and Central America;
- Flavor: Fragrant and very sweet;
- Color: Bright pink;
- Season: All year round.
Characteristics of the pitaya
On average, a pitaya measures ten centimeters and weighs around 350g. It can weigh up to 1kg.
The skin is most often bright pink and its pulp can be white or pink, in all cases, small black seeds similar to those of the kiwi are found scattered in the flesh.
Word from the nutritionist
Pitaya is only eaten raw, which allows you to take full advantage of its vitamins and benefits. One serving of pitaya is about 100 g.
For 100g of pitaya:
|Vitamin C||3 mg|
8 benefits of pitaya: why eat it?
- The pitaya is rich in water which allows it to participate in the coverage of our daily water needs.
- Rich in water and fiber, and devoid of lipids, the pitaya is an ally of choice during weight loss.
- It is rich in fiber to fight against constipation.
- It is a source of magnesium which will promote muscle relaxation and have an anti-stress role.
- Rich in antioxidants, it slows down cellular aging.
- Pitaya helps eliminate excess uric acid and thus prevent gout disease.
- It helps fight against insulin resistance and therefore plays a preventive role in relation to type 2 diabetes.
- Pitaya is rich in vitamin C which helps fight fatigue, stimulate the immune system and fight against various infections and winter colds.
Choosing the right pitaya
To choose the right pitaya, the fruit must be firm, brightly colored and free from any spots or bruises.
The different varieties
The pitaya is not the fruit of a single species of cactus, but of several, giving fruits of different colors. There are three types: pink skin and white flesh, pink skin and red pulp, and yellow skin and white pulp.
The one that we find most commonly on our stalls is the pink-skinned pitaya with white flesh.
Pitaya is eaten quickly. For optimal conservation, use the vegetable drawer in the refrigerator where you can keep the fruit for about two weeks.
Preparation of the pitaya
How to eat pitaya?
The pitaya is eaten exclusively raw, its flower can be consumed in the form of tea. The flesh of the pitaya can be used for a sorbet, a fruit juice or in a fruit salad accompanied by various exotic fruits. It is eaten with a teaspoon after having cut it in half, you can also garnish it with a little lemon juice to enhance its flavors!
History of the pitaya
Originally from Central America, the pitaya or dragon fruit is more and more common in our shelves. Its name comes from the Indian Taino which means “scaly fruit”. It was used in traditional Indian medicine for its laxative properties.
The nickname of the pitaya, “dragon fruit”, comes from the Vietnamese Thanh Long. The long liana which bears the fruits and which wraps around the trunk of the trees in fact recalls the sinuous body of this mythological creature, very present in the Asian imagination.
Cultivation of pitaya:
The pitaya is a cactus that loves the sun and the heat. In a garden, it should therefore be planted in full sun. It will pick up the elements it needs to thrive in sandy, moist soil.
Due to its size and its drooping branches, you will need a T-shaped stake or a fence to hold its branches.
The fruit can be harvested as soon as it is well colored.