Dragon Fruit – A Good Dragon from the Desert

Dragon fruit, with the scientific name of Hylocereus undulatus Britt, also known as Pitaya, which is actually a species of cactus.

The fruit is oval in shape, 10-12 cm in diameter.  It is generally red or yellow in color and covered with thick triangle leaf shape skin.  The flesh inside is usually white, red or yellow in color, flesh is with black seeds all over.  Though, the seeds do not affect the taste or texture of the flesh.

Pitaya is rich in nutrients and has unique functions. It is rich with plant proteins that many other fruits do not carry. It also has anthocyanins, various types of vitamins and lots of water-soluble dietary fiber. Pitaya has a cooling effect and it ripe in summer, which make it a popular fruit during summer time.

Pitaya grows in the tropical and subtropical regions, loves light but also can leave in shady area, can withstand high heat and long drought; love fertile soil but can withstand barren soil. In the warm, humid, with lots of sunlight environment, it can grow very rapidly.

Dragon fruit plant can withstand as low as 0 degree Centigrade and as high as 40 degree Centigrade. But the best temperature for the growth of the fruit plant is between 25 degree and 35 degree Centigrade. Pitaya can adapt to a various type of soil, but the best is with lots of humus, high water content but with good drainage and mild acidic soil.

Dragon Fruit plant is originated from Costa Rica, Guatemala, Panama, Ecuador, Cuba, Columbia and other places of origin in Central America. It is now widely grown in Vietnam, Thailand and other Southeast Asian countries and also in Taiwan and also Hainan, Guangxi, Guangdong, Fujian, Yunnan and other provinces in mainland China.

As a tropical fruit, dragon fruit is best to eat it fresh. To be able to transport to further market, it can be stored for 1 month in the low temperature of 5 to 9 degree Centigrade in a protected environment.  It can also be stored for 2 weeks in a room temperature between 25 and 30 degree Centigrade.

Pitaya is not only tastes sweet, but also has high nutritional value. For every 100 grams of pitayas, it contain 83.75 grams of water, 0.34 grams of ash, crude fat 0.17 grams, 0.62 grams of crude protein, crude fiber 1. grams, 13.91 grams of carbohydrates and 59 thousand and 650 calories, 1.62 grams of dietary fiber, vitamin C5.22 mg, 2.83 grams, 7.83 grams of fructose glucose, calcium 6.3-8.8 mg and phosphorus 30.2-36.1 mg, 0.55 to 0.65 mg of iron, and a large number of anthocyanins (where red flesh dragon fruit has the most), water-soluble dietary protein, albumin and other plants.

There are also abundant of vitamin C, iron, phosphorus, calcium, magnesium, potassium, vitamin B1, B2, B3, and B12.  Even in black sesame seed kernels, there are also lots of calcium, phosphorus, iron and other minerals and various enzymes, albumin, fiber and high concentration of anthocyanins.

It is worth noting that pitaya pulp almost contains no fructose and sucrose.  It contains mainly glucose, which is easy to absorb, suitable as a fruit after exercise.