The pitahaya is a type of cactus which has its origins in Mexico, but is now grown in Nicaragua, the USA, and even in Israel.

The fruit is blandly sweet (like a lychee), with a translucent white pulp (like), containing tiny black seeds (like a kiwi). It has a thick red skin (like a demon), with odd spines (like a pineapple).

Cut a pitahaya in half, and use a spoon to scoop out the eatstuff. If you add lemon or lime juice, it makes it far more interesting. Some people add whipped cream, but this is a bit much; they are only as large as apples, typically weighing in at 300g.

Panther Blood, a cocktail, is made from mixing up pitahaya pulp in a blender, along with lime juice, water, and white rum.

Pitahayas are available from June until late September. In Europe, they can be imported at around 2USD/kg; in Canada, it is only 1.60USD/kg. Americans, however, cannot buy pitahayas because of medical/legal legislation (and maybe a tad of economic protectionism). They have to buy wimpy puréed pitahaya.

Because it is a red-magenta, gaudy people like to decorate their kitchens or restaurants with pitahayas. Soon, it will become a choice ingredient for corporate colour vats.

Other names of the pitahaya: pitahaya cactus, acanthocereus tetragonus, acanthocereus pentagonus, pitajaya, pitaya, organ pipe cactus, Strawberry pear, and hylocereus polyrhizus.

Pit`a*ha"ya (?), n. [Sp., prob. from the native name.] Bot.

A cactaceous shrub (Cereus Pitajaya) of tropical America, which yields a delicious fruit.


© Webster 1913.

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