What is a Pitaya?

IMG_8150A Pitaya has many names.  It has been called the night blooming Cereus, the Strawberry pear, and even the Belle of the night.  This exotic delicacy however, is simply a cactus fruit. The pitaya has also often been mistaken by its cousin the pitahaya or the dragon fruit however, the taste is completely different!

Appearance

The Mexican Pitaya is one of the most unique looking fruits you can find. It is an extremely beautiful fruit that has dazzling flowers as well as a very distinctive shape and color.  The Pitaya when attached to the cactus plant is covered by thorns, but don’t worry we remove them! Underneath the thorns there is a thin layer of brown or green rind that protects the deliciousness inside. The center of the fruit is made up of a sweet tasting pulp.  This pulp comes in five equally vibrant colors. You have dark red Pitayas, orange Pitayas, purple Pitayas, white Pitayas and even glowing yellow Pitayas. There is a Pitaya for every occasion and  it makes for excellent brightly colored smoothies and many other things, this fruit is very versatile!

Health Benefits

IMG_7000A Pitaya is what many would call a Superfruit. The Pitaya has been found to help in lowering cholesterol as well as being used to prevent high blood pressure.  It has even been found to help against diabetes by regulating blood sugar levels. The Pitaya is also rich in vitamin C, fiber, calcium, and various antioxidants, especially phytoalbumin, which is believed to help in the prevention of the formation of cancer-causing free radicals. On top of all of this, consumption of Pitayas helps in delaying aging as well as memory loss and can help boost the immune system! It truly is a Super Fruit! Even the seeds are healthy! The seeds are rich in omega-3 fats that have been shown to help fight inflammation and various autoimmune diseases. There are many healthy options out there to choose from. Next time however, instead of the traditional apple or banana, give the extraordinary Pitaya a try!

Taste

IMG_7080The Pitaya has a very unique taste but has been found to taste similar to strawberries and watermelon. The Pitaya has a delicious essence yet it is very mild and not too sweet. Perfect for a refreshing snack!

Mexican Pitaya Nutritional Contents

The typical nutritional values per 100 g of raw pitaya (of which 55 g are edible) are as follows:

  • Water 80-90 g
  • Ascorbic acid (Vitamin C) 4–25 mg
  • Ash 0.4-0.7 g
  • Calcium 6–10 mg
  • Calories: 35-50
  • Carbohydrates 9-14 g
  • Carotene (Vitamin A) traces
  • Fat 0.1-0.6 g
  • Fiber 0.3-0.9 g
  • Iron 0.3-0.7 mg Niacin (Vitamin B3) 0.2-0.45 mg
  • Phosphorus 16 – 36 mg
  • Protein 0.15-0.5 g
  • Thiamine (Vitamin B1) traces
  • Riboflavin (Vitamin B2) traces

These figures are subject to change as per cultivation conditions.