Wednesday, May 19, 2010

Enter the Dragon Fruits

I have discovered several new fruits since I worked here in Sri Lanka. Among those which I have already featured are the juicy citrus “ambul dodang” and another variety of naturally sour citrus called “jama naran”, both of which make very refreshing lemonades. Here, I was also exposed to new varieties of banana such as the rather tiny but sweet “seeni kesel” which I cooked into “minatamis na saging” and the quite rare and heavy, in both weight and nutritional contents, called “nethrampalam” or “nendran” banana.

I also found here but have not yet posted the island-wide popular wood apple or elephant apple locally known as “divul” which they make into healthful drinks. We have tried this before but not quite impressed.

In addition, occasionally visiting the fruit sections of supermarkets provided us with opportunity to see some uncommon, sometimes unfamiliar but delightfully colorful and seemingly luscious exotic fruits. Among them is the interestingly pretty dragon fruit. I remember the first time I encountered the fruit; my eyes were immediately caught by its vibrant color and beautiful appearance. Later on, I discovered that the fruit has been commonly available as well in the Philippine markets. But it is only here that I fully enjoyed its thirst quenching flesh.

Dragonfruit is a common name for the fruit of the vine like epiphytic Hylocereus cactus native to Mexico and Central and South America locally called “pitaya” or “pitahaya”. It is also called strawberry pear or “nanettika” fruit. It is commercially cultivated in Asian countries such as Taiwan, Vietnam, Thailand, Malaysia, Sri Lanka and astonishingly, the Philippines. They are also found in Okinawa, Hawaii, Israel, Northern Australia and Southern China.

Dragonfruit cacti bloom only at night and the flowers are usually wilting by the morning. They could bloom several times per year, but could only yield fruits after successful pollination. But this is found difficult because dragonfruit cacti are quite fickle about pollination. The plants rely on nocturnal creatures such as bats or moths for fertilization.

The dragonfruit is not commonly available in stores here, but recently, I noticed that supply has started to arrive in the supermarkets early this month. The gorgeous fruit can now be regularly seen alongside the other usual fruits both local and imported.

Dragonfruit also referred to as sweet “pitaya” has a creamy pulp and a delicate aroma. Its flesh varied from color pink to white to slightly reddish white with lots of edible tiny black seeds. Its pulp is very juicy and distinctly tasty. :-)

Apart from being an interesting fruit and food item, the wonderful dragonfruit has other usage – as medicine. It is known to have laxative properties, the reason why in Mauritius, it is referred to as "Débousse-to-fesse". I can only imagine the literal meaning and I think I don’t have to discuss it further. :-)

So if you have a recurrent problem with difficulty in bowel evacuation, just let the dragonfruits enter your system and your problem will be solved. Enjoy! I mean, Good Luck. c“,)

No comments:

Post a Comment


Related Posts with Thumbnails