Having lived in St. Johns for a few years, I have always been a big fan of the Kruger’s farm stand on Lombard. On a recent trip, I saw a new and exciting looking fruit that I did not recognize – the Dragonfruit. Also known as the Pitya or Pitahaya, the exotic looking fruit was an easy sell – I was told that you slice it open and scoop out the innards (the dragon guts!) with a spoon. It was supposed to resemble the kiwifruit, with tons of little black seeds in the edible portion, ‘though not as strongly flavored.
Upon arriving home, I immediately hit the internet to find out more about this spiky, colorful and new-to-me fruit. Turns out it is related to cactus apples, a fruit I enjoyed often as a child of southern California. Prior to breaking it open, I was not sure which variety of dragon fruit I had obtained. Once the white pearly insides were revealed, it was easy to identify it as white pitahaya.
My absolute favorite take-away from the article on Wikipedia was the reference to the “second harvest” of the Tohono O’odham people of southern Arizona (yet another place I have lived).
“With the scarcity of fruits in their lands, the pitaya was such a prized fruit that once it was eaten, the natives would wait for their own excrement to dry, then break it apart separating the pitaya seeds. These seeds would be ground into a flour and eaten again, giving the pitaya’s “second harvest” its name.”
Having now sliced open and eaten of the dragon fruit, the “second harvest” seems (more than ever) like a hardcore commitment from some truly resourceful people – the seeds are super tiny and awesome at sticking to one’s teeth. Even tinier than chia seeds.