The Pitaya Adventure

On last week’s trip to the supermarket I was taken with a display of pitaya fruit.  The colours just jumped out at me!  In the middle of the produce section I grabbed my camera to capture the sight.

As interesting as the pitaya was, I eventually passed it by and continued shopping.  But I continued to be intrigued by these cactus fruit, also known in China as dragon fruit.   They are grown here in Israel, and indeed are related to the plants with the monster buds I snapped in a neighbourhood garden.  Here they are growing at  Sde Nitzan, near Beer Sheva in the south.

Yesterday when I stopped at the market on the way home from work, I decided not to fight the temptation this time and bought a pitaya.  I wasn’t at all sure how I was supposed to choose a good one, or what to look for,  I just grabbed a likely specimen.  Brought it home, put it down and looked at it.  I realized that I had absolutely no idea how to eat the frigging thing.

What on earth did we do before search engines?  I learned that the pitaya must be cut open to expose the flesh, which is eaten raw, together with the black seeds (like kiwi).  OK.

It was sweet, but not too sweet,  actually a very delicate taste, and the seeds gave it a wee bit of a crunch.   I ate the whole thing, since I don’t know how it keeps.  It was so light that wasn’t a problem.

I’ve now read that pitaya is used to make juice and wine, and also made into sorbets and ice cream, or just eaten raw with yogurt.

Supposedly it’s very low in calories, and the seeds are rich in lipids.  It’s also supposed to lower cholesterol and blood pressure. Eaten regularly, it is credited with alleviating chronic respiratory tract ailments.

I will definitely try these again.  They’re not as good (or as sweet) as the sabra, or prickly pear, the national fruit of Israel and the proclaimed symbol of Israelis (thick skin, prickly and sharp on the outside, soft and sweet on the inside), but quite refreshing.

What was your latest taste experiment?

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3 Responses to “The Pitaya Adventure”

  1. Roberta Says:

    Thanks for sharing!

    I was wondering about this fruit too 🙂 I will definitely try it now.

  2. Esther Says:

    Last time we went to Rosh Hanikra the was a girl at a table giving tasters of pitaya to everyone who walked past. She was also selling the fruit and some juice but she wasn’t pressuring anyone into buying.
    There must be someone locally growing the fruit – probably Kibbutz Rosh Hanikra. I’ve heard they do a lot of fruit research and experimentation.

    I quite liked it but a prefer fruit with a stronger taste

    • eclecticitee Says:

      One of the fellows I work with grows pitaya at his moshav, I’ll ask him which one. It’s somewhere around Ma’alot.

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