Monday, 10 April 2017

Growing a Dragonfruit

I know a lot of my readers have been following the progress of our one and only Dragonfruit and a few days ago I finally picked it. Dragonfruit is a tropical fruit native to Southern Mexico and Central America and, as we live in a supposedly cool temperate region, I really didn't think we would ever see fruit on our plant. However, perhaps it enjoyed our unusually hot summer temperatures recently and I was quite intrigued as I followed its progress over the weeks since the beginning of February.


In early February I first noticed a change in the Dragonfruit as I thought at first it was just another cactus flower forming.


Early February

Sure enough, the flower opened on the 15th February but it was different from the other cactus flowers and I had a feeling that after 9 years we were finally going to see some fruit.


15th February
The changes were slow for a number of weeks ...


26th February
...and I was trying to be patient.


5th March
The CEO said they tasted like perfume but others online had raved about them so I was quite keen to have a taste.


25th March
Once it got some colour it seemed to ripen quite quickly and was getting redder every day.


27th March

I really had no idea when was the right time to pick it so watched a few YouTube videos including this one How to Pick and Eat a Dragonfruit and When is it ripe? Dragonfruit.

In the last video it is explained that there are three types of Dragonfruit, the red skinned red flesh variety, the red skinned white flesh variety and the yellow skinned white flesh one. The red flesh Dragonfruit is a round shape whereas the red skinned white flesh variety, which we have, is more an oval shape.

29th March

A friend said the birds would get stuck into it when it is ripe so I covered it for a week or so until I was fairly sure it was ready to pick as it had a bit of 'give' when I pressed on it and had been warned in one of the videos not to let it get to the wrinkly stage as it would then be overripe.


7th April

So it was with great anticipation that I picked our one and only Dragonfruit.  


7th April

Inside it was definitely a purple colour which was quite pretty in contrast to the white flesh dotted with black seeds.


7th April

I scooped some out and there was a lot of juice. Then it was time for the taste test!


7th April

I know you are waiting for me to say it had an absolutely exotic taste in keeping with its appearance but sadly, while it didn't taste like perfume, it actually didn't taste at all. LOL! I couldn't believe it. So I cut it up and added it to some Greek style natural yoghurt and we all polished it off that way as it does have a number of health benefits which you can read about in this article 7 Amazing Benefits of Dragonfruit. It also says in that article that it is an 'exotic and delicious fruit'.  Perhaps it is like tamarillos and the red flesh one is tastier than the orange one or maybe it is more tasty if grown in tropical areas...does anyone know? 

Nine years is a long time to wait if anyone is planning on growing this fruit but then again, as I mentioned before, we do live in a cool temperature climate and they are a tropical fruit. You might have more success where you live. Let me know if you do :-)






25 comments:

  1. Wow that is such a long time to wait. I am glad that you did get one fruit at least and you could try it for yourself. You have learnt a lot about dragonfruit now so that is a bonus, Also you have tasted your very own.
    I've never tried one before. The only one I could try would be from a shop so I'm not sure on the taste of those either.
    They are certainly something different in looks, inside and out.
    Well done - you did it and I take my hat off to you with all your patience.
    Kylie

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  2. The dragonfruit didn't really look very appetising, but an interesting experience no doubt. I tried to join the homemakers forum yesterday & it wouldn't accept my user name,I tried 4 or 5 different ones but still no success.

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    1. Karen can you email me the info about your username on nannachel@gmail.com and I will let the Admin ladies know. Thanks heaps.

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    2. I tried again & it would let me use Karen, so I went with that, now just waiting for approval. Thanks.

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  3. Oh that's a bit disappointing, the growing conditions may affect the taste, I wouldn't eat avocados or pawpaw until I tasted them in the south pacific islands, grown in the heat and tree ripened....no comparison to most of what we used to get here but things have improved.
    Is the dragonfruit plant in a spot that gets hot most days ? It may perform better in a north or west facing area near a metal or brick wall to keep,it warm.

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    2. Margaret it is out the front so is facing north. We do have another one in a pot that is out the back facing north so I will see how that one goes. It is only one year old though :-)

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  4. Nanna Chel I live just north of Gympie so sub tropical. My neighbor gave me six of these fruits recently and I have to admit they were pretty blah. One had a portion that seemed overripe to me but it actually had a bit of flavour, not much mind. I have one left and am leaving it to go very soft to see if that makes any difference. Will let you know. The others I chopped and mixed with lemon juice and passionfruit.
    Cheers, Karen near Gympie.

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  5. Thanks Karen. So obviously the heat doesn't seem to make that much of a difference. It is such a shame as it is such an impressive looking fruit and seems to have lots of health benefits. Let me know how the one you are leaving to go very soft tastes.

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  6. The red fleshed one is a bit sweeter and does have a mild flavour. I just cant get past the texture. When I had my first Dragonfruit all I could think was that it tasted exactly like I thought a cactus should taste. In Darwin we grew them and sold them to a Vietnamese friend, who could not get enough of them. They were especially sort after by the Asian population when it came up for Chinese New Year. We found them to be a good little earner for a few years.

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  7. Jane I wondered if the red flesh one would have more of a taste. They would grow well in Darwin as they do in Mt.Isa where we got ours from.

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  8. Hm, I had very similar thoughts about dragon fruit, to me it tasted of nothing. Very pretty mind you! I thought it was perhaps because mine were bought from the supermarket, but parhaps it changes with the climate like you said. Im glad you got to try it! At least you didnt have a glut to deal with. ;)

    xx

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    1. Emma, there was definitely no glut. LOL!

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  9. I had no idea it was such a beautiful plant, Nanna Chel. I must confess I never thought about growing it, having been left unimpressed by the taste. We do grow many other tropical fruits in our temperate climate though. If I came across a dragonfruit cutting, I will probably not be able to resist giving it a go as well.

    I wonder if there is a way to improve the flavour like some nutrients do with other fruits.

    -mrsmeagre

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    1. It does look very impressive so it is a pity about the taste. Perhaps we should just stick to growing tamarillos :-)

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  10. The Asian markets here have them in season and whilst I cannot often afford to buy one, I thoroughly enjoy them.

    I find the flesh so refreshing and even though they do not have the punch of other tropical fruits like mangos, they do have a very subtle taste. I never thought of it as perfume-y, but I guess it does have a slight floral flavor. The white ones are the only type sold here.

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    1. J, they aren't cheap here either which is why I have never bought one.

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  11. I just had my first couple of dragon fruit off my one year old vine. I do live in the tropics, and find that I really enjoy dragon fruit - lovely and refreshing very chilled. I have the red one which is maybe a bit more flavorful. The flowers are awesome arent they?

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    1. Obviously they fruit a lot quicker in the tropics. It would have been nice if it had been ready to pick during the heatwaves and I would have chilled it. Not quite as appealing when it is cold.

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  12. I remember purchasing one a long time ago from the supermarket, because I wanted to taste one before growing. I was non-plussed by the flavour too. It wasn't awful, but it wasn't worth investing so much time into an edible plant that I didn't enjoy either.

    Although I wonder if 'water' is the issue? Technically is can survive and fruit on minimal water, but I know it's true of nearly every fruit tree at least, the more access to water they have, the sweeter the fruit tastes. That recent heatwave, might not have helped your dragon fruit flavour.

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    1. I have no idea about the water situation, Chris. It had to rely on rainfall pretty well and it was fairly dry over summer as you know.

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  13. Well I am grateful for the whole "life cycle of the Dragonfruit" post as I live in a cold climate and this is probably as close as I will ever get to one - thank you!! Very interesting to look at.

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    1. I thought you would enjoy that post, Kathy :-)

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  14. I've never tried a dragonfruit, Chel. I'm not a big fan of fruits that have lots and lots of seeds. What an interesting flower it's got though. Admire your patience in waiting so long for that first fruit! Meg:)

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    1. Meg, I didn't really notice the seeds when I was eating it. They are very small. Now that I have tried eating a Dragonfruit I am keen to see what a Pomegranate tastes like.

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