Question How much of a Dragonfruit is edible?

Discussion in 'Fruit & Vegetable Growing' started by Berkeloid, Jul 9, 2016.

  1. Berkeloid

    Berkeloid Active Member Premium Member

    Joined:
    Jul 9, 2016
    Messages:
    46
    Likes Received:
    20
    Location:
    Brisbane, QLD
    Climate:
    Sub-Tropical
    Hi all,

    Apologies for the slightly off-topic post, but I'm having trouble finding an answer and with some Dragonfruit growers here I figure this is the best place to find out!

    I am wondering whether the stems/leaves of Dragonfruit are edible, or whether only the fruits themselves are. Does anyone know?

    The reason I ask is that I have only recently discovered Dragonfruit, and I have noticed that whenever I eat them first thing in the morning, I am extremely focused and motivated all day, and I don't need to sleep as long the next night. This is great for catching up on all the jobs I never seem to get around to doing!

    I have noticed that this effect is greatly increased by eating the skin of the fruit. I find the skin of half a fruit is about the same as the flesh of a whole fruit, as far as helping focus my concentration goes. (For those who are wondering, yes it is rather unpalatable so I chop it up finely and put it in with muesli which makes it much easier to eat.)

    Since the fruit are expensive and growing my own is going to take some time to get to the point where the plant produces fruit, I am wondering whether you even need the fruit and whether you can just eat the stems (leaves?) of the plant instead? I can't find any information about whether these are edible, toxic, or what, so I am wondering whether anyone knows or has tried this?

    Thanks for any information you can provide!
     
  2. Mark

    Mark Founder Staff Member

    Joined:
    May 27, 2012
    Messages:
    4,506
    Likes Received:
    1,030
    Location:
    Bellmere, QLD
    Climate:
    Sub-Tropical
    Hi and welcome to SSC.

    Sorry for not seeing/responding to your post earlier :oops:

    I also feel good after eating pitaya dragon fruit not sure if it's in my head or something in the fruit but there's no doubt they are healthy!

    As for your question asking if the rest of the plant is edible I don't know.

    I've done a lot of research on dragon fruit growing but never seen or been asked this question! It's a good question :)

    Let me do some research myself and I'll post back soon.
     
  3. Berkeloid

    Berkeloid Active Member Premium Member

    Joined:
    Jul 9, 2016
    Messages:
    46
    Likes Received:
    20
    Location:
    Brisbane, QLD
    Climate:
    Sub-Tropical
    Thanks for the reply! Interesting you've noticed they affect you too. For me the biggest giveaway was that if I ate a whole fruit (especially if I ate the skin as well) early in the evening, there is no way I will sleep that night! Other fruits don't have that effect so it can't be the sugar, there must be something else in them.

    Let me know if you find anything out about the stems, I'd be much easier (and cheaper) if eating those produced a similar effect.
     
  4. Mark

    Mark Founder Staff Member

    Joined:
    May 27, 2012
    Messages:
    4,506
    Likes Received:
    1,030
    Location:
    Bellmere, QLD
    Climate:
    Sub-Tropical
    Found an answer for you!

    This comprehensive answer to "is the whole dragon fruit plant edible" came from Project Pitaya who is a YouTuber I have followed for several years. He makes excellent videos on dragon fruit and shares information on growing, eating, propagating, and maintaining the plants.

    His reply:

    Hey Mark. I can personally answer that question. It's been known by locals in some parts of Central America that the stems are edible. I have personally eaten various varieties of Dragon fruit stems. One thing to note, some varieties have thicker skin than others. With that said, the skin outer layer of some varieties are to thick, tough to chew or frankly even to blend a bit. Which brings me on how I've eaten them. In order to get the full benefit out of stem, and to get them down quickly, I blend them and make a smoothie out of it. Some varieties of stems taste neutral other are mildly bitter and others I've found to have a light sweetness to them.

    Varieties of STEMS I have tried ( eaten) Sugar Dragon S-8, Orejona (Nicaragua) this one seems to be especially good at stomach issues ( sort of like a remedy), Physical graffiti, Various white fruit stems as well, etc..

    In short, stems are edible, I would recommended that if someone does want to start consuming Dragon fruit stems, to gradually incorporate them into a diet. Flowers are edible too, Asians eat the flower in soups and in stir fry, I have also dried flowers and the made tea out of them. As for the roots of the plant, I do not know of people who eat them, but I know what does love them very much as their main meal and quickly can kill a adult plant, GOPHERS love Dragon fruit roots.


    So there you go! I hope that answers your question then :)

    Just a point I noted out of the last paragraph:
    This is something I would definately take heed of and perhaps try a very small qty first to see just in case of unexpected side effects and the fact your variety might be slightly different from the varieties he has tried.

    Please let us know how you go if you do decide to try the stems.
     
    • Thanks Thanks x 2
  5. Berkeloid

    Berkeloid Active Member Premium Member

    Joined:
    Jul 9, 2016
    Messages:
    46
    Likes Received:
    20
    Location:
    Brisbane, QLD
    Climate:
    Sub-Tropical
    Oh wow thank you so much for that fantastic answer! That's not only good news but really informative as well. As far as increasing focus and concentration, I am now very interested to see whether the stems have a similar effect to the fruit or not!

    I have just today had some cuttings delivered (not sure of the exact variety other than white fruit) so I intend to plant most of them, but I might end up eating some of one now :) I will definitely post back on what I find.

    Thanks again for such a helpful answer!
     
    • Like Like x 1
  6. Mark

    Mark Founder Staff Member

    Joined:
    May 27, 2012
    Messages:
    4,506
    Likes Received:
    1,030
    Location:
    Bellmere, QLD
    Climate:
    Sub-Tropical
    Yes please do let us know what you think.

    This could be good news for many backyard dragon fruit growers because getting an abundant supply of fruit can sometimes be a challenge but generally the plants grow stems quickly so perhaps eating them could be an alternative...
     
  7. Steve

    Steve Valued Member Premium Member

    Joined:
    Jun 5, 2013
    Messages:
    670
    Likes Received:
    250
    Location:
    Brisbane Australia
    Wow, this is pretty interesting....
    Sounds like a super-fruit to me :idea:
     
  8. Berkeloid

    Berkeloid Active Member Premium Member

    Joined:
    Jul 9, 2016
    Messages:
    46
    Likes Received:
    20
    Location:
    Brisbane, QLD
    Climate:
    Sub-Tropical
    Yes I am definitely intrigued by the possibilities. I investigated Modafinil some time back (a legal stimulant meant to treat sleep apnoea, but many people are using as a "lifestyle drug" to stay awake without sleep for a few days without feeling the effects of sleep deprivation) however that wasn't for me as although it worked, I didn't like the feeling of missing out on my sleep and constantly feeling tired (although not sleepy, if that makes sense.) I ended up just taking a very small dose in the morning as it made me very motivated all day (it completely removes the desire to procrastinate) however it takes so long to wear off, even in small doses, I still couldn't sleep properly and then felt wrecked after a few days.

    Quite by chance I tried a dragonfruit when I found them for sale in the supermarket, and after eating a whole one I started to feel quite energised and focused - very similar to the subtle feeling from Modafinil. I had it late in the afternoon and didn't sleep very well that night, and after a few more experiments I found that although the effect is significantly weaker than Modafinil (maybe 20% as effective), for a natural alternative it's wonderful! There also seem to be no side effects - I can have dragonfruit for days in a row without any problems, yet I felt like a zombie after the second day of using Modafinil. If I have the dragonfruit in the mornings then it doesn't affect my sleep, and like Modafinil I wake up early the following morning too - but unlike Modafinil I actually feel well rested.

    I'm still researching the effects of this - sadly dragonfruit season is over so I can't get hold of any more fruits, but I'll be keeping an eye out once the weather warms up again. I do think there's something to it, because I have read a few people say that after eating dragonfruit they have vivid dreams - and Modafinil is also known for producing very strong lucid dreams, as it has a tendency to wake up your brain while you are sleeping, making you become aware that you are dreaming. It seems to me that if dragonfruit can cause more vivid dreams than normal, it may well have a similar effect.

    I took a teaspoon sized piece of a stem last night and ate it raw just before bed. It didn't seem to affect my sleep so I probably need a bit more and to eat it a little earlier in the evening, but there were no side effects, no upset stomach or any problems so I think it should be fine for me. It tastes pretty much like what you'd expect - a general green vegetable taste. The skin is pretty tough, it's a bit like chewing on thin fingernails, so I can see myself either pureeing it or cooking it to see if that breaks up the skin a bit.
     
    • Like Like x 1
  9. Mark

    Mark Founder Staff Member

    Joined:
    May 27, 2012
    Messages:
    4,506
    Likes Received:
    1,030
    Location:
    Bellmere, QLD
    Climate:
    Sub-Tropical
    I still have fruits on my yellow pitaya and one of mine only just flowered a few weeks ago in the middle of winter and a new fruit is forming (which I have found typical for our plants to fruit throughout the year). I recommend buying several varieties for the backyard to help with pollination and hopefully the fruiting season can be extended if not go continuously.... Our red skin and red fleshed varieties seem to only flower around spring summer, however, these varieties aren't very old so we'll see if the flowering cycle changes as the vines mature.

    Also, try the local markets for the odd dragon fruit grower. I tried my first dragon fruit at the Caboolture Markets and that's what got me into growing them myself. Home grown pitaya fruit is generally superior than the supermarket fruit - I'm not sure why this is but some fruits I have purchased have been terribly bland and one large red fleshed variety I got from Woolies last year went to the chickens (expensive chook feed) because it was so awful.
    LOL... chewing fingernails sounds yummy :p
    What about under the skin like the flesh of the stem how was that?
     
  10. Berkeloid

    Berkeloid Active Member Premium Member

    Joined:
    Jul 9, 2016
    Messages:
    46
    Likes Received:
    20
    Location:
    Brisbane, QLD
    Climate:
    Sub-Tropical
    Well I've tried eating the stems a few different ways and here's what I've found.

    Sadly the stems don't seem to have any effect on my mood. It looks like only the fruits and fruit skins do this. The skin on the stems is really tough and not that pleasant to eat. If you were going to regularly eat it you'd have to come up with some way of softening the skin.

    The best way I came up with was to chop them into tiny pieces (maybe 2mm x 2mm) and fry them in butter. Then they go crunchy and the texture is a bit like eating muesli. Chopping them this size and mixing them in a salad is fine from a taste perspective, but the tough skins are not that pleasant to eat and really stand out (in a bad way).

    I haven't tried baking or boiling them - perhaps including them in a tray of baked vegetables could work, but after frying some larger sections I'm somewhat skeptical of the stir fry method unless you meticulously slice the skin off first, something which is very fiddly to do.

    As for the taste of the fleshy part of the stem, I can't say it was particularly pleasant. It has a very strong green-vegetable flavour. It doesn't really taste like broccoli, but eating raw broccoli is probably a good way to describe the experience.

    All in all it's probably not worth the effort to eat, considering it seems to have no positive effects unlike the fruit skin, which is absolutely worth eating.

    Interesting you still have fruit growing. The supermarket and fruit shop varieties are the only ones I have tried and they are sweet but very bland. I have planted the rest of the cuttings so I hope to one day have my own fruits to eat!
     
    • Like Like x 1
  11. Mark

    Mark Founder Staff Member

    Joined:
    May 27, 2012
    Messages:
    4,506
    Likes Received:
    1,030
    Location:
    Bellmere, QLD
    Climate:
    Sub-Tropical
    Well at least you gave it a go @Berkeloid that was very brave of you!

    Dragon fruit vines generally grow pretty fast so hopefully you won't have to wait too long to have your own fruit and also witness those magnificent flowers blooming in real life these nothing like it!
     
    • Like Like x 1
  12. Berkeloid

    Berkeloid Active Member Premium Member

    Joined:
    Jul 9, 2016
    Messages:
    46
    Likes Received:
    20
    Location:
    Brisbane, QLD
    Climate:
    Sub-Tropical
    Thanks Mark! Yes it looks like it will take a while for the cuttings to take root but that's good to hear they are fast growing once established! Maybe next time I will try to puree them in a smoothie or something :)
     
    • Like Like x 1
  13. sunny

    sunny Member

    Joined:
    Jan 2, 2017
    Messages:
    1
    Likes Received:
    0
    Climate:
    Tropical
    Hi Mark, I have just discovered your page while researching on the dragon fruit. I have a project to set up the business of Dragon fruit. What is the best trellis on a commercial scale? Thanks
     
  14. Berkeloid

    Berkeloid Active Member Premium Member

    Joined:
    Jul 9, 2016
    Messages:
    46
    Likes Received:
    20
    Location:
    Brisbane, QLD
    Climate:
    Sub-Tropical
    If you do a Google image search for "dragonfruit farm" then it looks like most commercial growers tie the plants onto thick posts. I guess this is probably the easiest and cheapest method.

    As far as I understand it, the stems grow up (with support) and once they bend over from their own weight, that's where the fruit forms. So any kind of trellis that maximises the number of stems that have bent over will produce the most fruit. And you probably don't want it too high, as the fruit will be easier to collect if it's at waist-height.
     
  15. Sophal

    Sophal Member

    Joined:
    May 15, 2017
    Messages:
    1
    Likes Received:
    0
    Climate:
    Tropical
    You can eat the entire fruit even its skin. Birds and insects eat dragon fruits too... to get in to the fruit they have to bite in to the skin. If it was poison it would kill these birds and insects. I ate the skin of the dragon fruit too. I tasted like young green pepper on the sweeter side. However, I used the dragon fruit skin for other purpose than eating it.
     
  16. ClissAT

    ClissAT Valued Member Premium Member GOLD

    Joined:
    Sep 27, 2015
    Messages:
    1,022
    Likes Received:
    491
    Location:
    Pomona, Qld
    Climate:
    Sub-Tropical
    I have been keeping this thread in the back of my mind since Berleloid first started it.
    I have some specific health issues requiring particular medications that are sapping my energy & leaving me tired & lethargic which drives me crazy.

    I have not noticed any change after eating dragon fruit although I have to say I didn't eat it first thing in the morning. I usually ate it mixed into fruit salad at lunch or dinner time.

    Also I was keen to see whether the fruit skin was edible. I was pretty sure the stems would not taste very good. Fairly astringent, much like other cactus. Unfortunately I would struggle to eat something that didn't taste nice no matter what advantages it had!

    But I will try the fruit skin next time I have a fruit. Also, I've found bought fruits to be bland compared to my own grown, too. Unfortunately I only have one small fruit left on a vine now so I guess there'll be no more until next season.

    I'm trying to work out a way to create a micro climate that will encourage fruiting all year round, utilizing the front of my new shed. But it wont be built now until next year so no more fruits until next season.
     
  17. Berkeloid

    Berkeloid Active Member Premium Member

    Joined:
    Jul 9, 2016
    Messages:
    46
    Likes Received:
    20
    Location:
    Brisbane, QLD
    Climate:
    Sub-Tropical
    I have found that eating the skins has a similar effect to eating the fruit (as far as increasing motivation goes) however the skins aren't very pleasant. They taste a bit like eating tough slimy grass. Given the fruit itself doesn't taste that great if you have to buy it, I have been pureeing the fruit with the skin on and mixing a few tablespoons of this in with my breakfast muesli. Seems to do the trick and the flavour of the skin is a bit more palatable that way.

    I have also found no problems with freezing this mixture (with or without the skin) as when it thaws it is no different to having it fresh. So this season I have been buying up the cheap fruit, pureeing them and then freezing them.

    @ClissAT: I'd be very interested in the details if you successfully work out how to get one fruiting all year round! That would be very useful.
     
  18. Mark

    Mark Founder Staff Member

    Joined:
    May 27, 2012
    Messages:
    4,506
    Likes Received:
    1,030
    Location:
    Bellmere, QLD
    Climate:
    Sub-Tropical
    Yummy! :)
     
    • Funny Funny x 1
  19. Mark

    Mark Founder Staff Member

    Joined:
    May 27, 2012
    Messages:
    4,506
    Likes Received:
    1,030
    Location:
    Bellmere, QLD
    Climate:
    Sub-Tropical
    What other things do you use it for?
     
  20. ClissAT

    ClissAT Valued Member Premium Member GOLD

    Joined:
    Sep 27, 2015
    Messages:
    1,022
    Likes Received:
    491
    Location:
    Pomona, Qld
    Climate:
    Sub-Tropical
    As much as I'm all for finding sources of extra energy Berkeloid, I really think I have to draw the line at pureeing dragon fruit skins! ;) Although, as they say, each to their own. :)

    Everytime I read about your breakfast munchies, it reminds me of my dear recently departed Mother who used to add all manner of apparent goodies & energy producing concoctions to her morning bowl of rolled oats & pawpaw. :vomit::D

    In the end it did her no good at all other than maybe to extend her useful life.
    She died from melanoma but she didn't know she had it until about 5days before she died at 87yrs.

    I, on the other hand, do need to find another energy source but I am not as hardy as my Mother was so DF skins would be right at the bottom of my additive list. :rolleyes:

    I love the fragrance & taste of dragonfruit & can think of nothing worse that to pollute it with it's skin when I eat one.;)
    Although as you point out, my home grown ones are far more tasty than the bought ones.

    Since I have been thinking that if I can get them producing well enough I should be able to sell some since I have around 50, I wonder why the farmed ones would be any different to the ones I produced.
    Could it be the longer storage & perhaps the need to pick them earlier before being totally ripe that makes then tasteless?
    I do leave mine until fully ripe & their generous fragrance permeates the whole house as soon as I cut one. The DF added to fruit salad overrides all the other flavours in the dish.
     
Loading...

Share This Page