Dragon fruit is now getting closer to our ears. Even though until 2001, this fruit could only be found in Israel, Australia, Thailand, and Vietnam. Now, this fruit is easily found in supermarkets in Indonesia.
Anton Mulyadi (40 years old), an educator in a junior high school in Jakarta, a year ago often experienced internal heat disorders. When the disorder comes, the palate and tongue appear thrush or canker sores. Even though it was annoying, Anton was not used to taking medicine as a bidder. He believes, a week later the canker sores will disappear on their own. “Of course, I still feel uncomfortable when I have to teach students,” he said.
Luckily Anton had a relative of a sinse who practiced in the Cikini area, Jakarta. Anton is advised to chew a ripe white dragon fruit. He did the same thing the next day. Miraculously, small wounds on the tongue and on the roof of his mouth immediately healed.
Actually, dragon fruit has long been known by ancient Chinese people as a fruit that brings blessings, so it is often placed near a dragon statue on a temple altar. This fruit named China Feuy Long Kwa in Vietnam is known as Thang Loy, Keaw Mang Kheon (Thailand), Shien Mie Kuo (Taiwan), Pitahaya (Mexico), Melano (Hawaii), Rhino Fruit (Australia), in England called Dragon Fruit. In Indonesia, this fruit is known as the Bum Naga.
This plant is native to Mexico, northern South America, and spread to surrounding countries, including Guyana. At first, the dragon fruit was brought to the Indochina region by someone in French around 1870, from Guyana, as decoration. The reason is simple, the figure is unique, and the flowers are beautiful in white. When it bloomed on the night of the 1st and 15th of the Komariah calendar, it smelled sweet.
Aztecs, native to Central and South America, have long been picking wild dragon fruit from the forest as a food source. Now dragon fruit has become the country’s export commodity. Vietnam Airlines offers this fruit as a dessert for every flight to Europe.
There are four types of dragon fruit. First, white flesh dragon fruit (Hylocereus undatus). Red fruit skin is very contrast with white meat in it. Inside the meat scattered black seeds. This type is easily found in local and foreign markets. The average weight per fruit is 400-500 grams. Some are up to 650 grams.
This type of fruit has a sweet, sour taste, has scales or greenish tufts on the outside, and the sweetness is relatively low compared to other types of dragon fruit. 10-13 brik sweetness. This plant is very suitable to be planted on dry land, and once planted it can last up to 20 years.
Second, dragon fruit red meat (Hylocereus polyrhizus). This type of plant is more muscular. In the stems and branches, the inter-spatial distance appears more tightly. The average fruit weight is 400-500 grams. The flesh is purplish red. 13-15 sweetness levels.
Third, super red meat dragon fruit (Hylocereus costaricensis). The stem is bigger and camouflaged when old — red fruit skin and frayed. The average fruit size is 400-500 grams — 13-15 sweetness level.
Fourth, yellow skin dragon fruit white meat (Selenicerius megalanthus). Its appearance is distinctive with yellow skin and without scales or tufts. The skin texture tends to be smooth, like an apple, so it’s called the apple cactus. Sweetness levels of 15-18 brik. Fruit size 80-100 grams.
According to Djoko Raino Sigit, developer of white meat dragon fruit plants in Malang, East Java, and Delanggu, Central Java, to plant dragon fruit, we first prepare the support poles because these plants do not have sturdy primary stems. Wood or concrete poles can be used with a size of 10 x 10 cm with a height of 2 meters, which is plugged into the ground as deep as 50 cm. The upper end of the support poles is circular in shape to support the branches of the plant.
A month before planting, first, make a hole with a size of 40x40x40 cm with a spacing of between 2 and 2.5 m. Within 1 hectare there are around 2,000 buffer planting holes. On each pole or buffer tree, 3 to 4 soil holes are made with a distance of about 30 cm from the support pole. The planting hole is then given 5-10 kg of manure mixed with soil.
Cuttings and seeds can propagate this plant. However, generally planted by cuttings. It takes 25-30 cm long stem material planted in polybags with planting media in the form of a mixture of soil, sand, and manure with a ratio of 1: 1: 1.
After the seeds are approximately 3 months old, the seeds are ready to be moved or planted on the land. In the first 2 years, each supporting pillar can produce 8-10 pieces of fruit. The fruit’s biggest harvest season occurs from September to March.
Every one-year-old tree can produce at least three kilograms of fruit. If it is sold in a place, the price is IDR 27,000 per kg, and if you have it, go to a fruit shop or supermarket between IDR 35,000-400,000 per kg. This plant can bear fruit 3 times a year.
The growing requirement is to be planted in the lowlands, at an altitude of 20-500 m above sea level. The soil condition is loose, contains a lot of organic matter and nutrients, soil pH 5-7. The water supply must be sufficient because this plant is sensitive to drought, even though it will rot if it is excess water. This plant also requires full sunlight to accelerate the flowering process.
Plants with oval-shaped fruit like pineapple fruit, rich in vitamins and minerals with enough fiber content that is suitable for diet. Sinse David explained from Cikini Clinic, Jakarta, besides dragon fruit has high economic value, it is also efficacious. Europeans believe this dragon fruit can reduce cholesterol, balance blood sugar levels, prevent colon cancer, strengthen kidney function, bone, and work power of the brain, improve eye sharpness, treat vaginal discharge, and protect oral health, including thrush.
The simple way, dragon fruit is eaten fresh, after cooking and tender. The fruit is split into two, then the white flesh sprinkled with small black seeds is taken using a spoon. These fruit seeds can be eaten immediately, like basil seeds. Fresh dragon fruit is consumed as thirst remover because the water content is very high, around 90.2 percent of the fruit weight.
The use of this fruit is not only fresh. Test results of the Research Institute of Fruits and Vegetables (RIFAV) in Gia Lam, Ha Noi, Vietnam, dragon fruit can be canned. In California, the flowers are made into salads.
From some literature mentioned, Spanish soldiers who invaded Latin America believe that eating this fruit can prevent skin damage. The fruit flesh can be fermented to produce alcoholic beverages.
This unique fruit is also worthy of being a souvenir. Horticulturist Dr. Elaine Solowey from the Natural Medicine Research Unit (NMRU) at the Hebrew University Hadassah Medical Center in Jerusalem, presented the Dalai Lama with this fruit after studying traditional medicine in Tibet.