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Dragonfruit?

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Anyone have any experience with Dragonfruit (Hylocereus undatus) also known as Pitaya, either growing or eating? A tropical cactus native to Central and South America, now growing in Hawaii, Vietnam and other tropical areas. They had them at my Lowe's so I bought one and planted it in the back yard - we'll see if it tolerates the desert heat.

TM

They make milkshakes out of them here in Little Saigon.

At the mai tai competition this past summer in Hawaii, some of the contestants did some magical things with dragonfruit. Of course these were all hybrid style "mai tais". One of the bartenders hollowed one out and either used it as a lid or a cup? I was sampling a lot so my memory is rum muddled. Either way it was a beautiful presentation.

If nothing else, they are an absolutely beautiful decoration. They look fabulous cut up and displayed along with other exotic fruits. Glad you started this thread, I would be interested in the culinary options.

TM

I imagine they would be really good in a Daquiri (like they sometimes make with cactus fruits)

Here is a great article on it:
A million farmers come out of poverty

If this part was true, I'm sure we would have heard about it years ago...

Medicinal value:
It is now known that the Red Indians had secretly guarded their knowledge of the medicinal value of the dragon tree. Dr. Thilak Ranasinghe, director of Agriculture for the western province believes claims were made outside Sri Lanka that its pulp is antioxidant, prevents colon cancer and diabetes and even helps produce insulin among such impaired.

Dragon fruit, neutralises toxic substances as heavy metals, reduces colostral and high blood pressure, controls high sugar levels, prevents cancer and bleeding and promotes health. Eaten regularly, it controls Asthma and cough.

TG

The kind I can get here every so often (@7.99 each!) is white dragonfruit like the picture. I would prefer to get red dragonfruit.

In any event, the fruit has suprisingly little flavor for something that you'd expect might blow your socks off without removing your shoes.

It has edible seeds like kiwis, but lots more of them. It spoons up like a papaya or melon. It is kind of strange eating a fruit that has texture like a soft melon, but practically no flavor. I find that you have to combine it with other things for a flavor component. I still like them for all of their medicinal value and they do look fantastic. Just wait until you spoon yourself a mouthful. All texture and no flavor.

[ Edited by: The Gnomon 2010-01-06 20:07 ]

T
twitch posted on Wed, Jan 6, 2010 7:21 PM

I've had the white variety. As said, hardly any flavour!
Looks incredible, tastes like stream-water. I've noticed that a lot of wild-looking exotic fruit seems to trade off looks for what's underneath.
Pretty damn superficial, if ya ask me.

Thank you all for your input :) Mine is the red variety, even if it has no taste at least it will add color to a tropical fruit salad. I think it will be a while before I have to worry about fruit- it's still pretty small and we'll see if it even survives the 120 degree summer. Here it is tied to a 4 foot, burlap wrapped railroad tie.

Dave's Garden has it listed as hardy in Zones 10a, 10b, & 11: http://davesgarden.com/guides/pf/go/161292/ and that they have been successfully grown in regions of Arizona. It's a succulent, so it should do fine in the high temp heat of Summer, especially since you're giving it several months to take root. Good Luck!

Progress Report - After almost 6 months my Dragonfruit is still alive, I think that's a record!!! It was starting to get a little sunburned (yellow) in the hot desert sun so I gave it an umbrella today. Still no fruit :(

TM

At least it's thriving!

Robert Irving was given Dragonfruit to cook with on tonight's episode of Dinner Impossible. He said "It taste like - nothing!" :lol:

On 2010-07-14 21:43, MadDogMike wrote:
Robert Irving was given Dragonfruit to cook with on tonight's episode of Dinner Impossible. He said "It taste like - nothing!" :lol:

Anyone who has ever had any would not vigorously dispute that it is more flavorful than water or air. 8)

Well, after 2 1/2 years my dragonfruit is still growing new branches (or whatever you call those things on a cactus) but still nothing that resembles a flower or bud :(

FLOWER BUD!!!!!!!

It's about 5 inches long. Unfortunately, I'm leaving the country for 2 weeks and won't get to see what develops - if my son doesn't take some pictures I'm gonna KILL HIM! :wink:

Dragonfruit have large white flowers that bloom at night - one night only. I'm not sure if mine will ever develop fruit, they are pollinated by moths since the bees work the dayshift. I don't know if we have any of the right moths in our area?

Very cool. I have had Dragonfruit in my garden now for almost 2 years and nothing. It grows well in San Diego and needs stuff to climb on. My friend has grown them for years. He has like 15 plants and he says he gets like 5 fruit a year max. He says to only water them if the soil is completely dry, cause they don't need much water.

Thanks for the info Luna. My son faithfully checked the dragonfruit bud every night and took some pics but never saw it open. Looks like it did bloom (maybe for only a short period) and it now forming a fruit?

I found dragonfruit/pitaya in Cancun and finally got to try it ~ it doesn't have a lot of flavor. It's reminiscent of kiwi with all the seeds, it's more of a visual addition as a garnish. I also found pitaya paletas (Mexican ice cream bars) in the Guadalajara airport but I went for the avocado paleta instead (it wasn't sweetened much, kinda like guacamole on a stick :lol: )

You are a patient gardener Mike...congrats on the one-second bloom and painful wait for the tasteless critter!!!

:lol: I hadn't thought about it that way ~ a 3 year wait for a tasteless fruit! :lol:


Well that's the end of the dragonfruit bud, it blew off last night in the high winds. I guess I'll have to wait another 3 years for the next one :lol:

Well I don't have to wait 3 years for the next flower bud:

We'll see what this one does

Riveting....simply riveting. A person could die waiting for action from that plant. But still gotta be one of the best looking fruits on the planet!!!

Hold that thought Marlene, the latest bud withered up and DIED :lol:

A friend accidentally purchased some Pepsi X with Dragonfruit flavor and I tried one. It was NASTY! Didn't taste at all like dragonfruit (which taste like nothing), tasted more like some kind of gawdawful medicine

The Sobe Dragon, on the other hand, is pretty tasty (but doesn't taste like dragonfruit either :lol: )

My dragonfruit plant has suffered from heat and neglect this summer. The cheap umbrella I bought at Harbor Freight broke the first time there was a slight breeze and I never got around to replacing it.

But I did find dragonfruit at my local WalMart today. It's pretty tasteless but adds interesting contrast to a fruit salad

Doesn't look too bad Mike. I guess I neglect mine more than you do :)

Mike,

I keep meaning to post to this thread but always seem to forget about it, until now.

Some time ago I asked my wife if she was interested in attempting to grow some dragon fruit when I ran across an ad for some plants. She wanted to read up about them before answering, and researched them a bit online. She informed me that if you want fruit you have to have at least 2 plants, one of each color, and they need to cross pollinate to produce fruit. We passed at that time as she felt it was too much bother for an apartment.

Bear, that info does not surprise me. I was wondering how a single flower would pollinate itself. If that is the case, you would need a whole grove of the things to ensure that you had multiple flowers at the same time and then you have to have the right moths or nectar eating bats to cross pollinate them. Good thing that dragonfruit doesn't taste all that great!

I have an ornamental variety growing quite well in my new "jungle"area. Use to be a great spot for tomatoes. I planted it with my tropicals/subtrops to add visual interest. I'll post a pic soon as I get home.
Nice thread MD. Hope to see you at Oasis.
Cheers

Here is a pic of my Dragon fruit plant. This variety does not seem to mind the humidity as my "jungle" area gets lots of water.
Cheers

I have about a dozen ornamental dragonfruit plants that need a home.I grow them among my tropical plants in my tiki garden.
They’re free for the asking (no shipping-would cost more than they’re worth. I will deliver them to the next Itmp at Don’s so pm me if you want one.
Imho, they look pretty cool once established. The one in the pix was planted last May or so. Gets a bit more water than necessary because it’s among tropicals so I don’t water it directly anymore.
Cheers
Check out the air roots that grab onto the wood fence. This plant will latch onto whatever is handy.

Dragonfruit (Pitaya) Can get very dense at the base so I try to keep it under control by thinning it often. Don’t thin if you want fruit on the other varieties. I also cut back any tips trying to worm their way between the fence boards or behind the stone “mask” I got from Ed Tikibroker.

That's some nice looking plants David.

I saw dragonfruits at Vons today for $9.99/lb. They were big ones as you see them next to the bananas, over a pound each. Which means those dragonfruit cost more than 10 bucks each! Nice cash crop

On 2013-10-20 13:36, MadDogMike wrote:
That's some nice looking plants David.

I saw dragonfruits at Vons today for $9.99/lb. They were big ones as you see them next to the bananas, over a pound each. Which means those dragonfruit cost more than 10 bucks each! Nice cash crop

Hey Mike, it appears that I planted the wrong variety.
!0 bucks a pound would buy plenny mugs!Cheers,
David
Btw TC’ers I still have 3 to give away. Don’s marketplace is nxt weekend. PM me if interested.

[ Edited by: nui 'umi 'umi 2013-10-20 22:46 ]

[ Edited by: nui 'umi 'umi 2013-10-20 22:46 ]

H

I found these at a local Middle Eastern market, I didn't realize how beautiful the fruit is. I didn't buy any but it is way cheaper than regular market prices.

Very pretty and the fruit has a cool texture, just not much taste. For that price you should at least try one.

I stopped watering my dragon fruit 3 years ago and it's still alive (barely) :lol: My sister-in-law brought me back some fruit from Salinas, CA. These were purple instead of white, were sweeter and had a lot more flavor. They are a deep staining purple (like a beet) and taste suspiciously like a beet. I'm thinking there may have been some interspecies hanky panky going on in the greenhouse :o

The red-skinned white fleshed ones are virtually tasteless. Highly decorative as a garnish or in in a fruit salad, but tasteless nonetheless. I grow pink-fleshed ones as a curiosity but they are not much better in taste.

In Spanish there is a saying "Tanto pedo para cagar aquado" which means a lot of farting that just makes a watery stool. Our equivalent to "much ado about nothing". That's kinda how I feel about dragonfruit LOL

T

Errrr....."colourful" phrase that....

Dragon Fruit LOOK wonderful in a fruit bowl, because of their exotic and highly fanciful appearance, but they have a very short shelf life after being picked. Dragon Fruit remain the equivalent of what we call chokos here in Australia. Now at one time everybody had a choko vine. Their exuberant growth was often used to cover outdoor latrines WAY back when they were the go. They also fruit prodigiously. Everybody tried to give the damn things away. There were boxes of the damn things labelled "FREE" in charity shops, but they are also utterly tasteless. Older people would claim they were very nice in a white sauce. Me? I'd say why not just eat the white sauce!

[ Edited by TIKIGIKI on 2023-01-23 15:05:46 ]

We call chokos "choyote" here. They are pretty bland. Yes the dragonfruit look amazing. Bought one recently, sliced and dried it, they make interesting drink garnish

For those of you who would like to enjoy something that flowers for just a single night (as does the dragon fruit) how about growing what is known as "The Queen of the Night" cactus? Epiphyllum oxypetalum. (There are two varieties. Do try to get the completely white version, rather than the one with yellow back petals.) It's a climber that likes to grow up a tree to have a bit of shade from the direct sun. Now you have to watch it carefully to judge just when the spectacle of the big night will be, but once seen, (and smelled) it's not forgotten. Here is some footage of mine putting on a magnificent display. Unfortunately I can't post the associated perfume, but it is truly gorgeous. Enjoy!

https://youtu.be/MyHZ4M9dV8s

[ Edited by TIKIGIKI on 2023-01-23 21:03:58 ]

Beautiful flowers TIKIGIKI!

T

It is a truly wonderful plant. Great excuse for a neighbourhood gathering and a few specially selected cocktails. Certainly impresses the hell out of all who see it! Sadly, the one in my link was at my previous residence. It performed every year, (sometimes twice), and although I took cuttings and have planted them here at my new place, they are yet to achieve the impressive size of the one you see. Losing your garden that you have cultivated and enjoyed for many years is one of the sad prices you pay when "downsizing".

For those interested in such things, dragonfruit cactus root aggressively. Any of those branches will happily root if they come into contact with the ground or even a tight space between pots. If a piece breaks off just stick it in the ground and a week later you have a new plant.

As far as being bland goes, this is a trait most cactus fruit share. Take prickly pear. Once you get past the fact that 90% of the fruit is taken up by rock hard seeds, you're left with a little bit of flesh that produces the most intense magenta juice ever. The stuff looks unnatural, like it's some kind of radioactive Hollywood special effect. So you'd think the flavor would match, right? Wrong. It's only got a bland, vaguely melon-like taste. They're more flavorful than dragonfruit, granted, but taste 'em both and you'll know they're related.

Prickly Pear was responsible for a massive invasion here in Australia. It literally escaped a garden and went berserk! It took a lot of research and the introduction of a natural pest, (the aptly named cactoblastis cactorium moth whose larva feed on it) to bring the evil stuff under control. It is now a prohibited plant here, classified as a noxious weed. You can be fined for growing it.

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[ Edited by TIKIGIKI on 2023-01-24 23:11:34 ]

Prikli Pear I can't believe you are talking crap about your namesake LOL

I wouldn't say that Prickly Pears are that bland, MUCH better than Dragon Fruit but not as visually stimulating. Yes, the seeds are a pain but it makes pretty good jelly or pancake syrup. The syrup also makes pretty good Margaritas. In case you ever want to process any of those fruit (we call them "tunas" in Spanish), they have NASTY little hairlike thorns. Put them on a stick and burn them with a torch to get rid of those stickers. Then peel them and make juice.

TIKIGIKI I always worry about those "natural predators", look at the Cane Toad there in Australia and the Mongoose in Hawaii. I see they caught a 6 lb Cane Toad last week!

[ Edited by MadDogMike on 2023-01-25 07:44:04 ]

Invasive species are always an issue. Prickly pear are common here in Texas and throughout the Southwest but lots of things eat them despite their thorny protection. The green pads (nopales) are tasty and popular in Mexican cuisine when young. I use it in salsa. Obviously, nothing native to Australia eats it and therefore it's become a major problem. Likewise with cane toads--they're kept in check in their native South American environment (actually, they may be threatened. There's a fungal infection devastating amphibian populations throughout the Americas right now, with no end in sight). Here in Texas we've been dealing with nasty South American fire ants and Africanized "killer bees" for more than half a century now. Invasives are the worst...

If your cane toads are in anyway threatened or endangered, Australia would be only too happy to replenish your population. (And then some!) I hate the damn disgusting things.

Supreme stupidity. The cane beetle they wished to eradicate lives at the top of a six or seven foot cane stalk,....cane toads cannot climb. And yet they released them, hoping they would eat the cane beetle....

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