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10 Pitahaya Facts and A Refreshing Lime-Pitahaya Summer Drink

by Spicie Foodie on July 6, 2014

10 #Pitahaya Facts and A Refreshing Lime-Pitahaya #Summer #Drink by @SpicieFoodie | #pitaya #dragonfruit #vegan

It doesn’t matter if you’ve ever tasted or held one in your hands, I think you’d agree that pitahayas are one of the most interesting, exotic and beautiful fruits in existence. A couple of days ago I got to eat pitahaya again for the second time in my life. Last time I simply ate the fruit and this time I not only ate it by itself but also blended it up into a refreshing drink. Before we get to the simple recipe I’d like to share 10 facts about this hot pink coloured fruit.

10 #Pitahaya Facts and A Refreshing Lime-Pitahaya #Summer #Drink by @SpicieFoodie | #pitaya #dragonfruit #vegan

1. Pitahayas are also know as pitayas, dragon fruit, strawberry pear or nanettika fruit.

2. It doesn’t matter the name you know them by, did you know they grow on cactus? That’s right these fruits grow on the Hylocereus cactus trees. They have white flowers that bloom only at night: “Pitahaya’s bloom only at night, and only last one night where pollination is necessary to set fruit.

10 #Pitahaya Facts and A Refreshing Lime-Pitahaya #Summer #Drink by @SpicieFoodie | #pitaya #dragonfruit #vegan

3.That cacti that produce pitahayas is originally native to Mexico. Sometime in history they began spreading across Central American. The Europeans then transplanted it to other areas of the world: The French introduced them to Vietnam, the Dutch to Taiwan. Currently pitahayas are grown in Mexico, Central America, Australia, Israel, China, Cyprus, America and countless East and Southeast Asian countries.

4. There are 3 colours (types) of pitahaya fruits. The ones you see here are Hylocereus undatus or the white-fleshed pitahaya fruits. Their outer skin colour is the same as the Hylocereus costaricensis variety which has a red flesh. Lastly there is a variety called Hylocereus megalanthus with an outer yellow skin colour and a white inner flesh. Out of the three, the white-fleshed variety is the most common. Unfortunately I’ve yet to come across the red-fleshed and yellow-skinned ones.

10 #Pitahaya Facts and A Refreshing Lime-Pitahaya #Summer #Drink by @SpicieFoodie | #pitaya #dragonfruit #vegan

5. Dragon fruits are oval in shape and when cut open resemble a kiwi. They can weigh anywhere from 150-600gms (or 5.9 – 21 oz) but have also reached a weight of one kilo or 2.2 pounds. Unlike the vibrant outer colours, their scent and taste is very tame.

6. There are two ways that I like to use to cut open the fruit and reveal the edible flesh inside. The first method you simple slice it in half (cutting the long length) and use a spoon to scoop out the flesh. The second method you trim off a little of the top or the bottom of the fruit, then cut in half then simply peel away the pink skin away from the white flesh. The latter method will leave you with more edible flesh. You shouldn’t eat the pink/yellow skin as it is very sour and some believe that it will cause intestinal problems.

10 #Pitahaya Facts and A Refreshing Lime-Pitahaya #Summer #Drink by @SpicieFoodie | #pitaya #dragonfruit #vegan

7. Pitahayas are low in calories and a good source of Vitamins C, B1, B2, and B3, and a good source of iron, calcium, phosphorus, magnesium, antioxidants and fibre. It is also an anti inflammatory fruit that is good for your cholesterol, heart, to regulate blood sugar (beneficial for diabetes and hypoglycaemia patients), gives you glowing skin and is said to help in weight management. Plus its high water content will help keep you hydrated.

8. Dragon fruit is available year-round in most places. You can purchase it from Mexican, Latin or Asian food markets.

10 #Pitahaya Facts and A Refreshing Lime-Pitahaya #Summer #Drink by @SpicieFoodie | #pitaya #dragonfruit #vegan

9. When choosing a pitahaya choose one that is vibrant, smooth, doesn’t have too many blotches and isn’t too firm feeling. You should avoid ones that are too squishy and instead should choose one whose skin gives a little when pressed. Ones with brown leaves and stems should also be avoided.

10. Typically dragon fruit is eaten chilled to improve it’s (mild) taste. It may be eaten alongside other mild fruits as a salad, blended into drinks, frozen into granites or sorbets, made into jellies as well as baked into desserts or used for decorating cakes too.

10 #Pitahaya Facts and A Refreshing Lime-Pitahaya #Summer #Drink by @SpicieFoodie | #pitaya #dragonfruit #vegan

 

A Refreshing Lime-Pitahaya Summer Drink
 
Prep time
Total time
 
Keep cool with this tropical summer drink. It will leave you feeling refreshed and energised!
Author:
Recipe type: drink, summer, tropical
Cuisine: Mexican, Vegan, International
Serves: 4
Ingredients
  • 2 medium pitahayas, peeled and chopped
  • 3 cups of cold filtered water (adjust to taste)
  • 1 large lime (adjust less or more depending on taste and how sweet or tart the pitahaya is)
  • brown sugar to taste (I used about 4 tablespoons), adjust depending on how sweet pitahaya is
  • ice cubes
Instructions
  1. Blend the pitahayas, lime juice, half the water and some sugar. Add the remaining water and blend again. Taste and add more sugar or lime juice if desired. Strain into a pitcher with ice and serve or leave in the refrigerator until ready to serve. You may need to stir now and again as the pulp and water may separate.
Notes
Before you blend the pitahaya please make sure you taste it. The sweetness level will give you a better idea as to how much sugar you should use. Keep tasting and adjusting until you achieved the sweetness desired. Additionally, if you'd like to water the drink down more (for flavour or to yield more servings) feel free to adjust the water amount.

 

 

10 #Pitahaya Facts and A Refreshing Lime-Pitahaya #Summer #Drink by @SpicieFoodie | #pitaya #dragonfruit #vegan

This tropical drink has tones of limes and sweet hints of the pitahaya — the flavours compliment each other well. Perhaps next time I’ll use a mix of coconut water and see what happens.  It may not be an explosion of flavours but it was a very satisfying and refreshing drink. On scorching summer days this is exactly the type of drink one needs. Enjoy!

10 #Pitahaya Facts and A Refreshing Lime-Pitahaya #Summer #Drink by @SpicieFoodie | #pitaya #dragonfruit #vegan

Have a great Monday!

 

 

in Drinks,Fruits,Mexican,Vegan/Vegetarian

{ 11 comments… read them below or add one }

1 Letty July 7, 2014 at 12:05 AM

Thanks for this post Nancy. The fruit and vegetable stand in Los Barriles BCS is named Pitahaya. I am there in the winter and have never seen one. I will be on the lookout next time I am in the mainland. Is October too late in the season?

Reply

2 Spicie Foodie July 7, 2014 at 10:49 AM

Hi Letty! I’ve found them almost year-round in Europe but I believe those were imported from Asia. I’m not 100% about finding them in BC during the late autumn/early winter. We moved to QR last November and I didn’t see them here until a couple of weeks ago, but where I live has no farmland and much of the fruits & vegetables are brought in. Anyway, Baja California is a pitahaya producing area and you might get lucky — they grow the yellow varieties too! Good luck :)

Reply

3 Matt Robinson July 7, 2014 at 1:28 AM

This sounds so good! Pitahaya is so beautiful, looks like it’s from a different planet altogether.

Reply

4 Rumana July 7, 2014 at 8:44 AM

So vibrant pictures beautiful…

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5 Nandita July 7, 2014 at 3:32 PM

Loved this post Nancy!!! Never knew these facts about the dragon fruit!! Thanks for sharing all the information and the splendid pictures :)

Reply

6 mjskit July 7, 2014 at 10:08 PM

I’ve always been tempted to buy some of these but ever knew how to cut them much less what to do with them. So thank you for taking care of both of the unknowns. :) It’s such a beautiful fruit and no, I did not know that it was a cactus fruit. Thanks for this post Nancy!

Reply

7 Donalyn@TheCreeksideCook July 8, 2014 at 7:25 AM

Hmm – not something I am likely to find out here in the middle nowhere! Maybe one day when I am visiting a more populated are, I will get to try it ;) Lovely photos, as always!

Reply

8 Sandra July 8, 2014 at 12:15 PM

I was just telling my son over the weekend that I wanted to try this. After seeing these pictures I’m more anxious than ever to see what it tastes like!

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9 Frank @Memorie di Angelina July 9, 2014 at 7:09 AM

Great idea! I recently discovered dragon fruit at a local Asian supermarket and I just had to try it. Love the idea of using it to make a beautiful chilled summer drink.

Reply

10 John@Kitchen Riffs July 9, 2014 at 10:41 AM

I never knew pitahayas were originally native to Mexico! Gorgeous stuff — I love the way they look. And taste. Super post — thanks.

Reply

11 Indian Dishes July 22, 2014 at 6:38 AM

This really looks delicious. its perfect for my kids, they will surely love this.thank you for sharing this recipe. quick and easy!

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