Pitahaya
PITAHAYA.
INTRODUCTION

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There exist two eatable varieties of different size and color, the yellow one and the red one, two proceeding ones from plants of the Cactaceous ones. This family consists of more than 600 species known as cacti that produce mucilages, organic acids and glucósidos. Also it is known like Pitaya, Pitajón, Yaurero and Warakko. The red pitahaya is commercialized on the international market with the name of fruit of the dragon (dragon fruit).




ORIGIN AND VARIETIES


The pitahaya was discovered for the first time in wild form by the Spanish conquerors in Mexico, Colombia, Central America and the Antilles, who named him by "pitaya" that means scaly fruit. The yellow variety cultivates in high tropical and tropical zones (Colombia, Bolivia, Ecuador, Peru, Venezuela and in general the whole Central American area) and the red one, in Mexico, Nicaragua and Vietnam, between others. The principal area of production of red pitahaya in Vietnam is the oriental coast, from Nha Trang in the north up to the city of Ho Chi Minh in the south. The exports of red pitahaya of Vietnam are faced principally to the markets of Hong Kong, Singapore and Taiwan, although also it is exported to the European markets.

HIS BEST EPOCH

The yellow variety is free on our markets from January until March and from June until September. The red variety is free only in June to August.

CHARACTERISTICS

It forms: both varieties have an ovoid form. The yellow one is characterized for having a crust with thorns and the red one, for his thick crust and with bracts. The pulp of both is very aromatic and it is replete with seeds.

Size and weight: the red one is of major size than the yellow one. The yellow one measures approximately 90 millimeters long and a diameter has from 65 to 70 millimeters. The red one has approximately 12 centimeters long and a diameter from 75 to 80 millimeters.

Color: the yellow variety, initially it is green and it yellows in the ripeness. Both have the pulp of white color and replete with tiny black seeds. The red variety is characterized because his rind is red and thick and has green bracts, in contrast to the thorns that there presents the yellow variety, which, on having matured, they return yellow, giving him a very decorative aspect.

Flavor: his flavor is exquisite, like sugary water, very thin and delicate.

The conservation and storage of the pitahaya, in waiting of his distribution, has to be realized attending on a few certain values of temperature and moisture. It has to survive between 4-6ºC and to a high grade of moisture (80-85 %). Thus they can survive up to four weeks in ideal conditions. The maturation takes place to temperature ambience, 20ºC. As soon as his ripeness was reached they can survive a few days to a temperature of between 0 and 4ºC.


HOW TO CHOOSE IT AND TO PRESERVE IT


It is known that the yellow variety is in his ripeness point when the color of his skin becomes yellow. In the red variety, the fruit is mature when the bracts become yellow. It is necessary to preserve in fresh, dry place, removed from the heat foci and without contacting the light of the sun. Only it is convenient to introduce it in the icebox if minx wants to take it a little bit before his consumption.




NOURISHING PROPERTIES


The pitahaya is almost a water portion delightfully sugary. There are fruits of very low caloric value, since scarcely they contain carbohydrates. He emphasizes the vitamin content C in the red variety, not like that in the yellow one. The eatable portion supposes 55 % of the entire weight. The vitamin C intervenes in the formation of collagen, bones and teeth, red globules and favors the absorption of the iron of the food, the resistance to the infections and has antirust action.




AS REGARDS THE HEALTH
Low in calories and with a scarce nourishing contribution, it is possible to combine with other fruits that enrich it in tones and nutrients, therefore it can to be consumed by the children, the young people, the adults, the sportsmen, the pregnant women or nursing mothers and the biggest persons.

For his scarce caloric value and the red one for his vitamin contribution C, they are adapted for those who have a major risk of suffering lacks of the above mentioned vitamin: persons who do not tolerate the citrus fruits, the pepper or other vegetables, which are an almost exclusive vitamin source C in our feeding or for persons whose nourishing needs are increased. Some of these situations are: periods of growth, pregnancy and breast feeding. Likewise, the tobacco, the abuse of the alcohol, the employment of certain medicines, the stress, the intense physical activity, the cancer and the AIDS and the chronic inflammatory illnesses, which diminish the use and produce bad nutrients absorption.

The vitamin C, like antirust, helps to reduce the risk of multiple illnesses, between them, cardiovascular, the degenerative ones and even the cancer. Also, because the vitamin C increases the absorption of the iron of the food, it is advised in case of anemia ferropénica, accompanying to the food rich in iron or to the supplements of this mineral since this accelerates the recovery.


CURIOSITIES
The flowers of the plant of this fruit are of big beauty and they have the peculiarity of which they open at the dawn and close as soon as they begin the hours of more heat. The thorns of the pitahayas are eliminated before commercializing the fruit. In the proper area they brush and then they wash themselves. His chewed seeds have effect purgative and laxative.


HOW TO PREPARE IT

It is consumed like fresh fruit, but also it can be used in cocktails and refreshments. The mature pitahayas are peeled without difficulty. It is cut by the side of the flower and throws itself of the skin down.

The this way bare fruit can be cut in slices. On having eaten it, it is necessary to avoid to chew the seeds.

The yellow pitahaya boils away the native, such a who, or in juices, in cocktails, added to fruit salads of fruits or to the yogurt. Also it is used in the making of yogurt, ice creams, sweets, jams, jellies, gelatine and refreshments. In some countries it is used like coloring.

The red pitahaya is less aromatic and she possesses a less sweet, more insipid flavor. His attractive color makes her particularly adapted like adornment of multiple desserts and exotic cocktails.





RED PITAHAYA WITH ICE CREAM OF VANILLA

4
20'
minimum

Ingredients

- 2 pitahayas red
- 150 grams of raspberries
- vanilla ice cream

To peel the pitahayas; to cut the tops and to stretch of the skin. To cut them in tracks. To crush the raspberries up to leaving them with the consistency of a sauce. To put a ball of ice-cream in a decorative plate. To place the pitahaya tracks around and to decorate with the sauce of raspberry, some mint leaflet and virutas of black chocolate.



 
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