Sunday, August 22, 2010

Pitahaya, take 4

So I (Chase) have been entranced with this weird-looking fruit in season right now called pitahaya (pronounced pea-tie-ya).  I wrote about it briefly in our last newsletter, but I’ll go ahead and tell you the whole story.  Pitahaya, which is also called dragon fruit, is this baseball-sized cactus fruit with surprisingly colorful juice.


I was in the grocery store one day and saw a huge pile of them and thought, “Cool!  A big, pink alien-looking fruit!” or something to that effect.  I bought one and googled “weird pink fruit” to find out what it was called, as I neglected to read the sign at the store.

Since then, I’ve heard again and again that people revere it for its juice, but I’m beginning to think that they only like the juice for its color.  The juice is dark purple and gets all over everything: the knife, the cutting board, the counter, the blender, the hands.  I have yet to get it on the shirt, but I’m sure that once I do, it will stain.

Those of you who know me well know that I love making delicious drinks, especially smoothies.  My attempts at making drinks with pitahaya, however, have been less than delicious, which is severely frustrating for me, a self-made, self-proclaimed drink master.

Attempt #1: I just threw some things together, including coconut milk I had made myself from a coconut I bought, cracked, and shredded (pretty awesome, right?).  My thought was that two tropical fruits will obviously taste delicious together.  The initial product was palatable, not memorable.  Unfortunately, in throwing together this and that, I made a whole blender-full (and was too honest to convince Julie to have any), so I saved it in glass goblets in the fridge.  Every time I opened the fridge thereon after, I was enticed by the beautiful color of it in our fancy goblets (see the below picture).  What a terrible mistake to confuse color for flavor: leftover the next day, it tasted like bile.  I admired the rich purple as it washed down the drain.


 Attempt #2: I found a recipe on and attempted it.  I gave it 3 stars out of 5 as it was bitter and tasted odd.  Not bad, but odd. 

At this point, I gave up.  Obviously pitahaya didn’t have the intriguing flavor promised by its beautiful appearance.  But a couple days later, as I bought food at a diner, I saw that they had pitahaya drink on sale.   I bought it and it was delicious, although it was mostly very sweet, purple lime juice.  Shortly afterwards, pitahaya was on sale and I had found another recipe.

Attempt #3: Added yogurt (per recipe) but substituted an orange for a lime since I didn’t want to go to the store.  Bad.  Added a lot of sugar and then a banana for some reason.  And then some ground ginger and cloves (it seemed a good idea at the time).  Palatable, like someone blended orange juice and corn syrup with your pumpkin pie.  Not worth repeating. 

Again I gave up.  After all, both my recipes ended up as disappointments.  I have wanted desperately to like this fruit.  I’ve read it’s a great source of calcium, fiber, and antioxidants, and I have never seen a more beautiful—yet less useful—fruit.

Well yesterday at the grocery store, it was on sale for 10 cents cheaper than it normally is!  Who could pass up a deal like that? 

In other words, I am now in possession of yet another pitahaya that I will attempt to make a drink with.  I am also in possession of a bag of limes and a couple kilos of sugar.  And if I fail once more, I’m sure I’ll keep trying again and again and again, until the Lord should return or pitahaya should go out of season.  I’m either determined or obsessed…but it’s so cool looking!


  1. I think you may be a tad bit obsessed

  2. Are you sure that's not what they make Pepto Bismal out of? Just water it down a little and there you go--homemade Pepto Bismal.


  3. Here is the authentic Nicaraguan way of making pitahaya juice:

    First, peel and slice the fruit. Then licuar it in a blender, and strain - don't let the seeds get through. Mix with lime juice and sugar, to your taste.

    Please excuse my "Spanglish" :-). My family is from Bluefields. Let us know how attempt #5 turns out.

  4. Have you tried just eating it? That's the way our family does it...makes nice purple tongues.

  5. Matthew--sorry, you're wrong. :)

    Jaimie--great suggestion.

    Dad--let's just say that what Pepto turns dark, pitahaya turns i've heard.

    Phenicia--very helpful, thanks! I wish i had known this a few weeks ago!

    Boone family: i did try just eating it and found it really bland.

    In other news, i did make some more today along the lines of what Phenicia said and will write about it soon.

  6. Chase, you had me dying laughing. I could totally hear you telling this story!

  7. Wow, that looked so delicious in the goblet! So disappointing that it wasn't. I just remembered that you were a drink god--your homemade frappaccinos are amazing, so I know you'll figure out a way to make the pitahaya fabulous.

  8. Chaser, Thank you, as always, for a good laugh. It is a beautiful color...have you tried paining with it?


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