The scales are noteworthy. The appearance and colors are quite curious and attractive, mainly due to the intensity of the pigmentation. The fruit has become popular and has also aroused interest in its benefits. Read more and get to know pitaya!
- 1 What is a pitaya?
- 2 What is the origin of pitaya?
- 3 Pitaya fruit
- 4 Pitaya properties
- 5 What are the benefits of pitaya?
- 6 Pitaya lose weight?
- 7 Pitaya price
- 8 How to eat pitaya
- 9 Recipes with pitaya
- 10 Contraindications
- 11 Pitaya tree: how to plant
Pitaya is a striking fruit that is born from a type of climbing cactus of the same name, which is native to Central America. The flowers of the pitaya plant are white and only open during the night. The fruit has gained popularity due to the health benefits and its intense and striking color. The texture is similar to that of the kiwi and the flavor is not strong.
It can be found in color variations (red, yellow and white), but its nutritional properties and flavor have little distinction, making them similar.
Also due to its appearance, the fruit is sometimes called dragon fruit, as it appears to have scales. Some types are also called dragon eggs .
Pitaya is a natural fruit from Mexico and Central America, but it is also grown in other places like Brazil and China. The ideal environment for cultivation has temperatures from 14º C to 32º C. The fruit likes regions with regular rainfall, but is able to survive and adapt to relatively dry climates.
There are some types of pitaya, but the main 3 are as follows:
Belonging to the species Hylocereus undatus , the white pitaya has the most neutral taste. Its skin is red and the flesh is white. The flowers of the white pitayas produce pollen and can pollinate themselves.
Pollination is the method of plant reproduction. Pollen is carried from Organs male organs of one flower to the female organs of another, which causes the fruit to develop, allowing seeds to appear. The white pitaya is capable of pollinating flowers from the same foot, without depending on others.
Pink Pitaya (red)
Red pitaya, which is also called pink pitaya, has both a reddish-pink skin and pulp. It belongs to the species Hylocereus monacanthus . This variety of the plant does not produce pollen. For it to bear fruit, there must be a male specimen of the white pitaya.
The yellow pitaya is sweeter than the others. It is unusual in Brazil, since it does not adapt very well to the climate of most of the country and, therefore, producing it here is more work. It is usually grown in Colombia, where the climate is more receptive to variety.
Pitaya is a fruit with several nutritional properties. The variations between each type of pitaya are minimal, so if your goal is to use it for a healthy diet, you don’t need to spend a lot of time choosing, just take the one that you think is most delicious.
Pitaya has several nutrients that bring health benefits, which may vary according to the type (white, red or yellow) and also according to the forms and regions of cultivation. However, in general, the fruit presents (in 100g):
|Calories||50 kcal – 100 kcal|
|C vitamin||25 mg|
What are the benefits of pitaya?
Pitaya is rich in nutrients such as vitamins C, B1, B2 and B3, in addition to iron, phosphorus and calcium. It has few calories, approximately 50 calories for every 100 grams of the fruit. The fruit can bring several benefits to those who eat it, as long as it is combined with a healthy diet and routine. Some of them are:
Benefits for the skin
The presence of vitamin C in large quantities provides material for the body to produce collagen, benefiting the muscular structures and especially the skin, making it more elastic, healthy and shiny.
Source of vitamins and minerals, the fruit helps to complete the nutritional need and maintain the proper functioning of the body. Also due to the presence of vitamin C, pitaya helps to strengthen your immune system.
Pitaya seeds have laxative effects. People who suffer from constipation problems can benefit from eating the fruit.
In addition to the laxative effect of the seeds, the fruit also has a lot of fiber, which helps to regulate the intestine, making it easier to go to the bathroom.
Low calories and thermogenic action
Pitaya offers low calorie content per serving and, in compensation, various nutrients, such as vitamins. In addition, it has a thermogenic effect. This means that the body needs to spend more energy on its digestion, increasing the burning of calories at rest.
The effect is subtle, but in combination with exercise and healthy eating, you can lose weight and control weight.
Indirectly, yes. Pitaya is a food that can help with weight loss due to its low caloric content and thermogenic capacity.
Therefore, inserting it in the diet can help to reduce the daily calorie intake and, consequently, favor weight reduction.
The amount of fiber in the fruit also helps to promote satiety, in addition to the aforementioned benefits to the intestine. Thus, pitaya can contribute to a healthier and more balanced menu, also interfering with weight loss.
Pitaya is not a cheap fruit. While you can buy 1 kilo of banana for less than R $ 5.00, the same amount of dragon fruit can go from R $ 30.00 to R $ 60.00, varying slightly if it is imported or domestic.
However, the price is not a big deterrent and the fruit has avid consumers willing to pay for it.
The pitaya pulp is easily detached from the skin. You can cut the fruit in half and eat it with a spoon. It is also possible to cut it into four slices, as with an apple, and then pull the peel. When doing this, the pulp comes off the peel and it is easy to take a piece or bite it directly.
It is not recommended to eat the shell of the pitaya. In addition to not having a very pleasant taste, it can cause indigestion.
Fruits are always good for your health, but be careful not to overdo it. Seek a balanced diet and eat around 3 to 5 different fruits every day, inserting the pitaya between these portions.
You can make some recipes that lead to pitaya to eat the fruit in different ways.
Pitaya recipes use fruit as their main ingredient and bring its flavor to the dessert plate.
It is recommended to prepare these recipes with the red pulp pitaya, which gives the dessert a pink and reddish color, making it aesthetically different. However, you can use the white pulp pitayas without any problems if you prefer.
Some recipes that lead to dragon fruit are:
Making pitaya juice is extremely simple. You only need:
- 1 large pitaya polpa;
- Coconut Water.
Just put the coconut water and the pulp of the pitaya inside the blender and beat. If you want, you can add ice before turning on the blender so that the juice is ready frozen!
Creme de pitaya
It is possible to make a pitaya cream that can be used in cakes and pies. You will need:
- 2 cups of whipped cream (about 500mL)
- Half a can of condensed milk;
- 1 teaspoon of vanilla essence;
- 100g of powdered milk;
- 500g of kneaded pitaya pulp.
You can knead the pitaya with a fork if you want to leave pieces of the fruit in the cream or, if you prefer it to be without pieces, use a shredder or a blender.
Add the condensed milk and powdered milk to the whipped cream and beat the mixture gently with a fork. When the three ingredients are well mixed and with the texture of the whipped cream, add the pitaya and stir again until all the cream is pink. Your pitaya cream is ready!
Pitaya ice cream
The pitaya ice cream recipe is exactly the same as the pitaya cream just above. After completing the cream, just take it to the freezer for a few hours and your pitaya cream turned into a delicious ice cream with a very beautiful color!
There are no contraindications for pitaya ingestion. The peel, however, should not be ingested, as it can cause intestinal problems. Remembering that the excessive consumption of any food can cause side effects.
Planting pitaya in Brazil is not that difficult. With the exception of the yellow version, the plant adapts easily to the climate and is resistant, which makes its cultivation easy. It can be planted in a large part of the Brazilian territory.
The ideal time for planting pitaya is in September and the fruits can be harvested between January and May. Depending on the way you use to grow the cactus, it can take 1 to 3 years to have fruit.
The easiest and most practical method of planting pitaya is to use seedlings. They can be purchased or, if you know someone who already grows the fruit, you can get it from that person. A seedling is one of the branches of the plant that, when planted, gives rise to another foot.
Planting is very easy. As the pitaya is a climbing plant, it is necessary to have the so-called “post”, a support for the pitaya foot, where it clings and supports itself. The post must be around 2 meters and be buried about 50 centimeters, so that it is firm. It can be made of wood or other materials.
The seedling must be planted with the spines facing upwards and the bottom must be buried in a shallow hole, about 5 centimeters deep is enough. The seedling has three sides, one of which is straight while the other two are curved. The straight side must be in contact with the post.
Then, the seedling must be tied to the fence post to ensure support. The tie can be made with string, but the loop must be loose so as not to hurt the plant.
Planting should be done in a place that receives sunlight and the plants should be watered once or twice a week, without soaking the soil.
The bigger the seedling, the faster it will bear fruit, but it takes an average of 1 year. The amount of fruit should gradually increase until the fifth year of the plant, when it stabilizes.
It is possible to plant pitaya with seeds, but through this method, fruits can take up to 3 years to sprout. They should be buried in a pot and watered so that the soil is constantly moist, without making it too wet. It is positive that the plant receives as much sun as possible.
After it has germinated, you can transfer it to a larger pot or to the ground, but don’t forget that after the plant reaches 15cm in height, the fence post becomes necessary.
From that point on, the steps are the same as for the seedling. You should water 1 to 2 times a week, without soaking the soil, and wait for growth.
It is recommended to plant more than one seedling at a time and make sure you have at least one plant that produces pollen, which is the case with white and yellow pitaya. Pollen is necessary for the flowers to become fruit.
Pitaya flowers only open during the night and last a short time. In the wild, bats or moths pollinate them. So, to ensure that enough pollen will reach the flowers grown at home or in the garden, you can do manual pollination, which should preferably be done in the summer, but it is possible to do it until May.
To do this, you can use a soft brush or even your own fingers. During the night, while the flowers are open, you should run your brush or fingers gently inside the flowers, on the stamens , which are the male organs of the plant and are at the bottom of the flower.
The pollen must then be passed on the stigmas of another pitaya flower, which leave the bottom of the flower and grow out of it, forming a small stem in the center of the flower. They are the female organs of the plant.
White pitaya can pollinate flowers on the same foot as the plant, but red pitaya cannot self-pollinate and pollen from white pitaya must be used.
After that, the chances of your flower becoming a fruit are much greater. Fruits may appear over the course of the next month!
Pitaya is a beautiful, eye-catching, exotic-looking fruit and is very fashionable today. It can be planted at home and its production is easy. Share this text with your friends so that they learn more about pitaya!