Pitahaya or dragon fruit - all you need to know

Pitahaya or dragon fruit - all you need to know

The exotic dragon fruit from Thailand is a rare guest in Russian supermarkets. This mysterious bright pink fruit has many unusual names:

  • Pitahaya;
  • Pitaya;
  • Dragonheart;
  • Dragon Eye;
  • Dragon;
  • The prickly pear;
  • Dragonfruit;
  • Keumangkon.

There are legends about its origin, and it blooms only at night, as it should be a plant of ancient fairy tales.

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Legend

The dragon fruit's sweet taste, which the ancient warriors loved so much, was what destroyed the beautiful fire-breathing creatures, according to ancient tales. It is not without reason that the rind of this fruit resembles dragon scales, because the dragon's heart is the real heart, which could be obtained only by killing it.

pythaya

So people fought these giants for the coveted delicacy until they were all exterminated. The monsters died out, leaving behind amazing fruits that have taken root in Thailand and are now growing on their own.

By the way, the same legends assure that a person who has eaten a pitaya becomes braver and more courageous.

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Useful properties

Modern scientists are more restrained in their assessment of the beneficial properties of dragon heart, but they also note its benefits for human health.

pitahaya-

Their research suggests that the dragon is a fruit that:

  1. It is a source of protein, calcium, iron, phosphorus, vitamins C, PP, B1, B2, B3;
  2. Beneficial effects on the digestive and cardiovascular systems;
  3. Strengthens vision;
  4. Useful for diabetes;
  5. Helps you lose weight by avoiding nutritional deficiencies;
  6. It removes toxins and detoxes;
  7. Moisturizes and restores the skin.

In folk medicine, it is also attributed the ability to improve memory, heal cuts and increase appetite.

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Harmful properties

Eating any exotic food should always be approached with caution. Pitahaya is no exception. Start with small portions so as not to provoke allergies. For very young children, it is better not to give them this fruit to avoid diathesis.

The dragonfruit in large portions can lead to more serious consequences: flatulence, heartburn, diarrhea. So it is better to consume it without excessive fanaticism.

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Appearance and taste of pitaya

Wild Pitahaya, a member of the Cactus family, is very difficult to confuse with any other plant. It is not just a cactus, but a climbing vine-like climbing species. The three-lobed stem of this cactus sometimes reaches a height of 10 meters.

pitahaya-4

The dragonfruit blooms with large white flowers that give off a delightful fragrance. They are called Moonflowers because they bloom exclusively at night.

A month to a month and a half after flowering, the fruits themselves, covered with scales, are set. Their size is commensurate with the size of a radish, and the maximum weight is 1 kilogram.

Pitahaya grows in tropical climates: South and Central America, Vietnam, Thailand, Indonesia, the Philippines.

The pythaya has a delicate, sweet and slightly sour taste. It is usually compared to a kiwi or banana, but the consistency of the dragon fruit is more watery.

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Varieties

The most popular are the 3 types of pitahaya:

  1. Red pitaya with white flesh;
  2. The Costa Rican Rosa Pitahaya, which has not only a red skin, but also a red pulp;
  3. The sweetest is the yellow pitahaya with white flesh.

Pitahaya 2

How to choose and store the dragon fruit

The first thing you should pay attention to when buying a dragon fruit is its peel. A bright rich color with a slight sheen, as well as yellow-green ends of the scales indicate that the fruit is ripe and can be taken safely. An irregular color with pale spots, on the contrary, gives away unripe fruit.

pythaya

A long-standing dusting of the pitahaya on the store shelf can be a sign of a withered attachment point to the cactus, dark spots, and faded scales. Excessive softness or excessive hardness is also a bad sign. Ideally, a dragon heart should resemble a ripe kiwi to the touch.

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Store the pitaya in the refrigerator, and the shelf life of the fruit should not exceed three days.

5 interesting facts about the dragon fruit

  • Not only the fruit but also the flowers of the dragon fruit are valued. They are used to make tea and other drinks.
  • The flavor of the pulp becomes richer if it is slightly cooled.
  • The dragon fruit is actively used by many manufacturers of perfumes and cosmetics, adding it to masks, creams and shampoos.
  • The Aztec tribes were the first to use the heart of the dragon for food.
  • Some varieties of pitahaya taste salty rather than sweet.

90% of the composition of the dragon fruit is ordinary water. The pythaya is consumed by cutting it into two halves. After that, it is divided into slices or scooped out with a spoon.

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