Thursday, 2 October 2008

Pitahaya (Πιταχάγια)

Amongst the kinky imported fresh produce that makes it to the supermarkets in Crete, I spotted something that I'd never seen or heard of before. I have seen papaya, tamarillo, passionfruit, pineapple, lime, starfruit, and all sorts of other weird and wonderful crops, all carefully packed in boxes, specially made for the kind of fruit packed in them, with hollowed pockets to fit each one individually, all beautifully presented in uniform size. But I'd never before seen a bright pink fruit with tinges of neon green thorn-like protusions. It was Monday morning, the start of a new week; I decided to give it a try.


"What's this?" I asked the assistant at the fresh produce counter.

"Ahhh...," she started, looking closely at the label, "pi-ta-HA-ya."

"And what is it?" I asked, in full knowledge that it was a pointless question.

"I don't know," laughed the shop assistant.

"I'll let you know," I laughed back.

One euro and ninety-seven cents later, I took my pitahaya home. I wanted to find out what was inside this fluorescent creation of nature. But what do you do with a pitahaya? Do you cut it lengthways or widthways, do you peel it, what do you do with it? Before mutilating it, I decided to look it up on the internet)which I knew would spoil the surprise for me, as it would have photos of its interior).


Sure enough, it told me what to expect of a pitahaya and how to deal with it. As soon as I sliced it open lengthways - the outer inedible layer was as soft as a banana peel - the fruit seemed to peel away on its own. I smelt it - nothing. Maybe they have a special aroma when they are eaten fresh in the country they are grown... maybe.

It looked like an albino kiwifruit. It tasted rather bland. I stuck it in the fridge, thinking that maybe it will take on a different taste (like cactus figs) once they have been refrigerated. An hour later, I starting scooping it out with a spoon. Still no taste though; a little like low-quality vanilla ice-cream.

Oh well, I had my fun.

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