The fruit of a night-flowering cactus

I’ve only tried eating dragon fruit once, and to be honest it didn’t taste of much – however, I wonder if maybe if I was in the country where it grows and I had picked one ripe and ready from its cactus and eaten it there, if maybe it would have tasted delicious! The flesh is a stunning bright magenta red and it has tiny black seeds – very attractive to look at… despite its lack of flavour.

The cactus the fruit grows on is a pitaya, and although it originated in central America it is now grown all across the world. Apparently there are different varieties as well as the one I tried with its brilliant magenta colour, some have pink skin and white flesh and some are more of a yellow colour. In their native countries local people ate them as sour and refreshing fruit, rather than sweet and flavourful – and they have been described as bland, which is what they tasted like to me. The fruit I had was about the size of an orange, and weighed pretty much the same, but they can grow much bigger, up to 1½ lbs in weight. I was impressed by its appearance but underwhelmed by its flavour, so I won’t be buying one that weighs that much… in fact I’m not sure I will bother buying another one at all!

An unusual thing about this plant, it flowers at night and is pollinated by moths and bats rather than bees and daytime insects. Although commercially these cacti are grown from seeds, they are the same a others in that if a leaf is broken off it can be planted and will grow, however it does take several years before the plant can bear fruit. An interesting fruit, a beautiful fruit, but I won’t be putting them in any fruit salad i make!

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