…that is the Chinese translation for the Pitaya (also “Pitahaya”) or more commonly called “dragon fruit.” We planted the pitayas several years ago. Last year we got our first fruit and this year we have a lot more.
Pitayas grow around the world, especially in Asia. The Costa Rica Pitahaya (Hylocereus costaricensis), is actually a native species to Costa Rica and is part of the cactus family. Even though it is native to Costa Rica it is not common to see it served for meals. I don’t know why.
The fruit starts from a hugh white pitaya flower that only blooms at night. By the following day the flower has fallen off the fruit begins to grow. Within a week to ten days there is a fruit the size of a grapefruit that is ready to be picked. You can tell when Pitaya is ready because it quickly changes color from green to the beautiful bright red that you see in the picture.
We serve it here on the Osa Peninsula at Iguana Lodge for breakfast with our other local tropical fruits. The Pitaya has great color and a really nice flavor. This fruit is one of the few to have indicaxanthin, a betalain, a type of plant pigment antioxidant. We are lucky to have this fruit growing on our beach.