04 Feb2007

dragon1

I suppose it got its name because the “scale-y and fire-y” skin might remind one dragon2of a fire-breathing dragon. Or maybe because it’s pulp is similar to kiwis, which I think are native to Southern China, so I wrongly assumed they were closely related and hence the Chinese/Dragon association. Yet its skin is indeed bizarre and fascinating and unlike the fuzzy kiwi. I have run across it in fruit platters in Vietnam, Thailand, Indonesia, Hong Kong and Australia; but knowing so little about it, never gave it more than a cursory taste with a gentle shrug of the shoulders indicating “blandish…neither here nor there.” Now I know more. And hopefully, so will many of you…

dragon3

Pitaya, Pitahaya, Strawberry Pear, Dragon Fruit (Hylocereus undatus) is actually the fruit of a large CACTUS plant that is believed to be native to Central America. It is now cultivated in tropical climates around the globe, including Vietnam and Northern Australia, I gather. The oval fruit can be up to six inches long, is typically weighty for its size and comes in either dragon4stunning pink or more golden/yellow hues. The pulp is a juicy, high water content white version of kiwi fruit, with hundreds or thousands of little black seeds scattered throughout the pulp. It has neither the tartness or sharpness of kiwi but a more subtle, melon, Vitamin C-ish flavor that is pleasant and thirst quenching. I suppose, it is the fruit of a cactus, after all. I purchased two the other day for roughly PHP170 so they came out to PHP85 a piece. I have eaten a whole one so far and am trying to figure out if it will grow on me. The Kid likes drgon fruit a lot, and aptly describes it as a “palate cleanser” to “take away the aftertastes in your mouth.” It tastes good, it must be healthy for you, but it just strikes me as being a bit too bland. It would make a great addition to a fruit platter for variety but that’s about as far as it goes. If you have any other interesting uses for this fruit, I would love to hear about it. For now, it is a great addition unpeeled to a still life with various tropical fruit in it…

 

COMMENTS:

  1. ragamuffin girl says:

    My friend’s parents eat a lot of this for constipation. Better than papaya, they say. Eat lots and off you go to “do your thing”. Haven’t tried it for that though. I eat some when they come with fruit cups or platters, and they are very bland tasting. I love kiwis!

    Feb 4, 2007 | 1:14 pm

     
  2. connie says:

    We usually get the yellow one, have seen the red ones but haven’t tried those yet. I find it a bit bland too, so I usually mixed it with cottage cheese, same way I mix pineapple and/or peaches with cottage cheese. I tried it once with strawberry flavoured yogurt, and I like that combination too.

    Feb 4, 2007 | 1:15 pm

     
  3. kaye says:

    i really visiting this site coz i learn a new thing everytime.. so informative and delicious site.. hehehe!! i love the lobster sandwich, kakagutom talaga..

    Feb 4, 2007 | 3:57 pm

     
  4. tulip says:

    I add it to fruit salad with sabayon glaze or a syrup made of lime juice, nut oil,passion fruit and honey.Or little fruit kebabs dipped in Greek yogurt,mango puree,mint & honey concoction.
    I bought a 2 feet dragon fruit plant(forgot what is it really called) last year in an organic/produce exhibit for Php500. I only got 2 fruits so far.

    It has a Chinese name(something like “rong”) which literally means dragon. It is called that way because the body looks like that of a dragon with spikes, and this time of the year it is in full abundance since Lunar New Year is just 2 weeks from now. Sort of a luck fruit.

    Feb 4, 2007 | 4:10 pm

     
  5. tulip says:

    “I suppose it got its name because the “scale-y and fire-y” skin might remind one of a fire-breathing dragon.”

    My dad told me that this fruit was believed to be produced by fire-breathing dragons. After each ball of fire, the scaly fruit comes out thus it’s called in China a fruit of the dragon. Oh well, something like that plus by the looks of it color and scales it resembles the feature of a dragon.

    Feb 4, 2007 | 4:36 pm

     
  6. Marketman says:

    tulip, amazing how myths or legends are borne in the last 3-4 centuries and we take them hook line and sinker. These fruits, if native to Central America, could only have made their way to the region in the late 1500′s or the following century. So our names for them and how they came to be are relatively recent in the history of the planet… This must have been one of those fruits such as chico and makopa that travelled the reverse route on the galleons from Mexico…

    Feb 4, 2007 | 6:16 pm

     
  7. honey says:

    I used to buy those in Divisoria. It’s cheaper there. Like you say, it’s bland. I read somewhere that the variety with the reddish flesh tastes better. haven’t seen it here yet though.

    Feb 4, 2007 | 8:12 pm

     
  8. MeltingWok says:

    woww, you guys are lucky there :) We only get these here in the summer, selling for USD$3.99-4.99 per pound *shrug* pulling a couple teeths here.

    Feb 4, 2007 | 8:16 pm

     
  9. millet says:

    both red and yellow varieties are grown on a commercial basis (albeit small-scale) here in davao as well, and the yellow ones are smaller but invariably sweeter, with a more pronounced flavor. and The Kid is right, it’s a good palate cleanser.

    Feb 4, 2007 | 8:21 pm

     
  10. bayi & ssk says:

    The red flesh variety is better. It tastes better too. The red variety is full of antioxidents. If you blend the flesh of the red fruit with some cold water and a few cubes of ice, it makes an excellent refreshing drink.

    Feb 4, 2007 | 11:28 pm

     
  11. tulip says:

    Yep Marketman, its really new. That myth was believed by Chinese & Vietnamese folks but they knew it is indeed native to Central or South America and said to be brought by the French who colonized Vietnam. The colonizers were believed to have find its way to Vietnam en route from Central or South America. French came to Vietnam in the mid 1800s.
    It’s one of Vietnam’s main export trade, back in Vietnam they mostly use it as ornamental plants and the fruit made into wine. I got few Vietnamese friends who made this punch-like concoction out of it, quite good.

    Feb 4, 2007 | 11:46 pm

     
  12. Lou says:

    Is this fruit related to the cactus pear? I’ve tried these once when we lived in Nicaragua and I was disappointed with its very bland taste; in fact very tasteless. The maid said they use it for salad, but I never asked her to make one since the girls are the taste testers and it got a thumbs down just on the first bite. I’ve seen them in Africa, too, but the Africans don’t bother with them at all, although the donkeys are crazy about them! Both fruits demand a high price too, per pound. And thanks for the info about that “other red red fruit” I may try it later. I wonder if someone could take a picture of how this (tree?) cactus looks like. I’m curious if it looks like the pear cactus…

    Feb 5, 2007 | 12:10 am

     
  13. Lei says:

    I too find the dragonfruit on the bland side. But after you described how The Kid likes its cleansing taste, I may try this fruit once again and hopefully get to like it.

    Feb 5, 2007 | 10:27 am

     
  14. tulip says:

    Lou,
    I have seen cactus pear (or others call it Indian figs in Mexico) too few years ago. The tree doesn’t look the same as dragon fruits. Though both are from cactus plants they aren’t of the same “genus”. A dragon fruit tree has a trunk-like stem, at its anterior end are “pseudo-branches”-more like a small palm tree.

    Feb 5, 2007 | 3:08 pm

     
  15. slym says:

    the malaysian variety of dragon fruit is really sweet, and the red fleshed version is perceived to be the premium version as they tend to be very much sweeter than those of the white version……..

    and as an earlier commentator said, it is very good for constipation……….and the funny thing is, if you eat the red flesh version…….the “end product” will be very reddish indeed

    Feb 5, 2007 | 3:32 pm

     
  16. Maria Clara says:

    They use them in pastry cream for cake filling, profiteroles and éclairs and mousse at high end bakeries and restaurants. They also use them in various cuts for another layer of aesthetic look on dessert plates drizzled with fruit coulis.

    Feb 6, 2007 | 1:58 am

     
  17. melody says:

    i like this fruit better when frozen. and the one with red flesh definitely taste better

    Feb 6, 2007 | 8:58 am

     
  18. marga says:

    The red variety is said to be better than the white version. My friend gave us a lot of these and warned me that one will pass out from one’s system reddish by products. The fruit is sweet but the color can cause stains on your clothes so be careful when you eat them. It can “clean” you system from a lot of toxins. The question is how do yoy know if what you have is the red or white variety??? I guess you have to depend on the vendor, right???

    Feb 6, 2007 | 6:49 pm

     
  19. Mildred says:

    Before i thought it was just one of those ordinary fruits around but when i surf and tasted it. Wether have it with a cream or nothing, it taste good and it really is a cleansing fruit. We had plantation in the Ilocos province and it’s still gwoing. We only have the red and the white one. We are still looking forward to have the yellow one. Right now one of the plants grwos in our backyard and it has flowers and beginning to have fruits. It’s really something big for people who have problems with regards to health. Hope this sometime in the future will someone have to make it as a capsule….

    Jun 26, 2007 | 11:04 am

     
  20. tita says:

    I first saw this fruit when I went to Vietnam and tastes it. It was delicious and even brought some back home. Later on, I found some in leading supermarkets here but it was very expensive. I said to myself, I will not spend so much for it when there’s a substitute and it’s true that the taste is so bland. Just about a few days ago, I saw a lot in Tagaytay and it is not that expensive though……70 a kilo for the big ones and 50 for the small ones. i was amazed that we are already growing some in Cavite too.

    Sep 3, 2007 | 1:56 pm

     
  21. renato chua says:

    I love the taste of the red varieties more than the white ones. But they say the white ones is better because of it has more anti oxidant. You can buy from divisoria at a cheaper price ( PHP 750 per case about 9.5 kilos ) Veitnam variety white fleshed. I haven’t taste the yellow ones yet, but I heard it more tasty and sweet. The red and yellow variety I was told are grown locally, But I can’t find any around here in divisoria.

    Nov 6, 2007 | 7:02 pm

     
  22. rosetta says:

    i love the yellow ones the best. they look like really yellow shrivelled pineapples but are clear and syrupy inside with lots of seeds. i like the taste of the seeds in the yellow ones better. but beware you will be saying hello!! to your snack for a about 24-48 consecutive hours after eating it everytime you visit the loo. GREAT for those looking to “clean out the pipes”

    Nov 13, 2007 | 9:53 am

     
  23. Bob says:

    I recently bought a couple of the yellow pitihaya in Barranquilla, Colombia. They don’t look like the pink ones on the outside but the fruit looks the same. I found them to be delicious, sweet and not bland as some comments have said. I am also glad to read the comment about it being a good laxative because, shortly after eating one, I got the Tijuana Twostep! Now I know why!

    Apr 3, 2008 | 1:59 am

     
  24. milk & honey says:

    where can i buy yellow dragon fruit? my moms been looking everywhere and stuff but we cant find it still…..

    Apr 14, 2008 | 3:17 am

     
  25. Marketman says:

    milk & honey, the last time I saw golden or yellow dragon fruit was in Binondo/Chinatown, but that was a long while back…

    Apr 14, 2008 | 6:21 am

     
  26. Alan Jack says:

    Does anyone know where I can buy a Pitahaya plant and/or the fruit in Southern California?

    May 15, 2008 | 12:47 am

     
  27. azrik says:

    hey guys…. if anybody interested to import this very nice dragon fruit from malaysia can contact me on my email add. our farm use only organic type…

    Jul 17, 2008 | 11:29 pm

     
  28. melanie says:

    Hi! We are growing dragon fruit here in Cagayan also and I like the red ones with red flesh inside. It taste better if you freeze it. By the way the Chinese name of the fruit according to my Chinese student is “Huo Long Guo”, and according to her they usually give this fruit to the sick persons in China.

    Jul 26, 2008 | 5:46 pm

     
  29. renver says:

    i have plenty of planting material red one here at science city of munoz, nueva ecija. normally it bears fruit from may to september. glad to share my experience in growing and propagation

    Aug 29, 2008 | 1:41 am

     
  30. julio says:

    Just asking some informations for planting materials of dragon fruits. I want to go into planting business in our land in batangas. Please help me to where can i buy the materials. thnx.

    Aug 31, 2008 | 10:34 pm

     
  31. ven m says:

    want to know from RENVER his celphone no. and how much his planting materials for red dragon fruits cost?

    Sep 6, 2008 | 12:47 pm

     
  32. erbie says:

    want to start dragon fruit planting too.lyk ven m,want to know RENVER’s celphone no. and planting particulars.thank you

    Sep 9, 2008 | 7:52 pm

     
  33. leah collinson says:

    hi! i hope anybody can send me some information about this dragon fruit or send me and e mail where i can contact because i want to plant a dragon fruit in my yard if possible,, and i never seen it, heard there is somewhere in davao or in cagayan which cagayan? cagayan de oro ? or cagayan tuguegarao,, i hope anybody can send me information??
    thank you,,
    mrs l. collinson

    Sep 10, 2008 | 10:00 am

     
  34. mike says:

    Wow – that has to be the most interesting looking fruit I’ve ever seen.

    Sep 25, 2008 | 10:32 am

     
  35. Mar says:

    I have few dragon fruits plants in my baclyard for my hobby. I love it.

    Mar

    Sep 29, 2008 | 10:09 am

     
  36. Mar says:

    I have few drogonfruits plants in my backyard as a collection or hobby. I love it.

    Mar

    Sep 29, 2008 | 10:12 am

     
  37. raffy selga says:

    I’d like to ask for Renver’s cellphone number and direction how to go to his farm. Thank you

    Sep 30, 2008 | 1:25 pm

     
  38. engr edu says:

    mrs. l. collinson… you dont have to go to davao or cagayan de oro… some plantations in ilocos norte had began.. the problem is where r u from.. me my self had started planting pitayas(dragon plant) in my backyard and its productive already and im planing to expand it to a plantation too.. some farmers in laoag had reach the market bu selling fruits and cuttings too.Php150.0/kg for the fruit and 250 for the cutting ready to be planted

    Oct 16, 2008 | 1:24 pm

     
  39. sina says:

    i am sina. i want to know where is the yellow dragon fruit farm in thailand. cos i want to plant it. but i don`t know where can i buy the cuttings. if any one know please tell me. i really love it. my email: pech_sina@yahoo.com

    Nov 30, 2008 | 11:27 am

     
  40. Daminda says:

    Hi,

    i’m Sri lankan and interested to grow DF in large scale. could you please advice me on this?
    How much do you pay in US$ per 1Kg ?
    Does it have huge export market? if yes for which countries?

    Jan 29, 2009 | 7:21 pm

     
  41. Benjamin Lim Jr says:

    Hi I’m Benjie….I’m interested in growing dragon fruit and make it as a business….do you think it grow here in the philippines?Is there a market here for that fruit?

    Feb 5, 2009 | 12:26 pm

     
  42. Weera says:

    hi i’m Weera, i am interested in exporting dragon fruit in large scales to all over the world. any buyers please be kind enough to contact me on my email sachithweera@gmail.com

    thanking you

    Mar 18, 2009 | 1:15 am

     
  43. arence says:

    hello..im arence from bounty fresh food… we have 5 hectares plantation and we sell fruits every june to nov..to those who are interested pls contact me 0917 5073004 or email arenz_123@yahoo.com

    Apr 16, 2009 | 7:20 pm

     
  44. renato vergara says:

    my farm is beside Central Luzon State University. My cp 09279674578. Land line 044 4560362.

    Apr 26, 2009 | 3:39 pm

     
  45. alex says:

    i always thought this fruit would have a very sweet tase… im dissapointed cause everyone says it is bland.

    May 28, 2009 | 12:16 am

     
  46. mark says:

    for sale dragon fruit cutting for only 100 pesos per cutting almost 1 meter long.we have 3000 cuttings..contact me @09276400117 our farm is located in batangas..minumum 100pcs tnx

    Jun 15, 2009 | 12:55 pm

     
  47. David Parong says:

    i’m also in dragon fruit farm in Pantabangan, Nueva Ecija at the same time maintain a rarefruit nursery at Cabanatuan City for hobbyist and interested in planting materials..glad to share my experiences to those interested. my contact number is 09184978643.

    Jun 19, 2009 | 9:40 am

     
  48. Danni Ugali says:

    Hi Benjie! Yes, dragon fruit grows here in Philippines. We have a small plantation in Tanza CAvite. If interestd, u can email me drprods@yahoo.com or text me 0905-3671665. Its Dragon Fruit season now! Thanks!

    Jul 10, 2009 | 12:57 pm

     
  49. Myrna Mendoza says:

    Hi! We also have a small dragon fruit farm in San Juan, Batangas and we are harvesting this time of the year! If anyone among you is in this area, please drop by Bahay Marikit Resort (http://bahaymarikit.com) if you’re interested. Thanks!

    Jul 21, 2009 | 12:44 pm

     
  50. rosana says:

    I planted my dragon fruit last year august, and now it started to flower! I spayed liquid fertilizer derived from vermicast and the flower buds appeared. I used malunggay as trailing post for each dragon fruit plant. I know this is weak
    support but will it outlast the plant? Am planning to use concrete post but very expensive. Any suggestions?

    Jul 30, 2009 | 6:36 pm

     
 

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