We’ve got a lot of these down here. These are some of the most interesting ones we’ve tried so far:
Monstera deliciosa (also called Ceriman, Swiss Cheese Plant (or just Cheese Plant), Fruit Salad Plant, Monster fruit, Monsterio Delicio, Monstereo, Mexican Breadfruit, Monstera, split-leaf philodendron, Locust and Wild Honey, Windowleaf and Delicious Monster) is a creeping vine native to tropical rainforests from southernMexico south to Panama.
It has a thick stem growing up to 20 m height and large, leathery, glossy, heart-shaped leaves 25-90 cm long by 25-75 cm broad. On young plants the leaves start out smaller and entire with no lobes or holes, but older plants soon produce lobed and holed leaves. The fruit is up to 25 cm long and 3-4 cm diameter, looking like a green ear of maize lined with hexagonal scales. When it first flowers, the fruit contains so much oxalic acid that it is poisonous, causing immediate and painful blistering and irritation, swelling, itching, and loss of voice. It takes a year for the fruit to ripen, at which point it is safe to eat.
The seedlings grow towards the darkest area they can find until they find a tree to latch onto, at which point they start to grow up towards the light, creeping up the tree.
The fruit may be ripened by cutting the fruit when the first scales begin to lift up and the fruit begins to exude a pungent odor, then wrapping in a paper bag and setting aside until the kernels begin popping off. The kernels are then brushed off; they fall away to reveal the edible flesh underneath. The flesh, which is approximately like that of pineapple in texture, is then cut away from the core and eaten. It has a fruity taste similar to jackfruit and pineapple. Eating the immature fruit which has not matured and still has the kernels firmly attached, exposes the throat to the oxalic acid and is dangerous.
Monstera deliciosa is commonly grown as a houseplant for decoration, typically in hotels, restaurants and offices, as well as in private homes. It grows best at a temperatures of 20 °C to 30 °C, requires high humidity, and needs shade. Growth ceases below 10 °C and frost will kill it. It flowers around 3 years after it is planted in ideal conditions, and takes 1 year longer for the fruit to ripen. Flowering is rare when grown indoors. The plant can be transplanted by taking cuttings of a mature plant or by air layering.
Some of you have heard of noni juice, well this is what it comes from. We couldn’t bring ourselves to try it, just because of the smell. Like sweaty feet or blue cheese. And apparently it tastes the same as it smells.
here’s some other info about it’s health benefits…
Morinda citrifolia, commonly known as great morinda, Indian mulberry, Mengkudu (Malaysia), beach mulberry, Tahitian noni, cheese fruit or noni (fromHawaiian) is a tree in the coffee family, Rubiaceae. Morinda citrifolia is native to Southeast Asia but has been extensively spread throughout the Indian subcontinent, Pacific islands, French Polynesia, Costa Rica, Puerto Rico and recently the Dominican Republic. Tahiti remains the most prominent growing location.
Noni grows in shady forests as well as on open rocky or sandy shores. It reaches maturity in about 18 months and then yields between 4–8 kilograms (8.8–18 lb) of fruit every month throughout the year. It is tolerant of saline soils, drought conditions, and secondary soils. It is therefore found in a wide variety of habitats: volcanic terrains,lava-strewn coasts, and clearings or limestone outcrops. It can grow up to 9 metres (30 ft) tall, and has large, simple, dark green, shiny and deeply veined leaves.
The plant flowers and fruits all year round and produces a small white flower. The fruit is a multiple fruit that has a pungent odor when ripening, and is hence also known ascheese fruit or even vomit fruit. It is oval and reaches 4–7 centimetres (1.6–2.8 in) in size. At first green, the fruit turns yellow then almost white as it ripens. It contains many seeds. It is sometimes called starvation fruit. Despite its strong smell and bitter taste, the fruit is nevertheless eaten as a famine food and, in some Pacific islands, even a staple food, either raw or cooked. Southeast Asians and Australian Aborigines consume the fruit raw with salt or cook it with curry. The seeds are edible when roasted.
The noni is especially attractive to weaver ants, which make nests out of the leaves of the tree. These ants protect the plant from some plant-parasitic insects. The smell of the fruit also attracts fruit bats, which aid in dispersing the seeds.
Noni fruit powder is high in carbohydrates and dietary fiber. According to the College of Tropical Agriculture and Human Resources at the University of Hawaii at Mānoa, a 100g sample of the powder contains 71% carbohydrate and 36% fiber. The sample also contained 5.2% protein and 1.2% fat.
These macronutrients evidently reside in the fruit pulp, as noni juice has sparse amounts of macronutrients.
The main micronutrients of noni pulp powder include 9.81mg of vitamin C per 1200mg sample, as well as 0.048mg niacin(vitamin B3), 0.02mg iron and 32.0mg potassium. Vitamin A, calcium and sodium are present in moderate amounts.
When noni juice alone is analyzed and compared to pulp powder, only vitamin C is retained at a high level, 33.65mg per 100g of juice.
Although the most significant nutrient feature of noni pulp powder or juice is its high vitamin C content, noni fruit juice provides only about half the vitamin C of a raw navel orange. Sodium levels in the noni juice blend (about 3% of DRI) are multiples of those in an orange. Although the potassium content appears relatively high for noni, this total is only about 3% of the Recommended Dietary Allowance and so would not be considered excessive. Noni juice is otherwise similar in micronutrient content to a raw orange.
Noni fruit contains a number of phytochemicals, including lignans, oligo- and polysaccharides, flavonoids, iridoids, fatty acids, scopoletin, catechin, beta-sitosterol,damnacanthal, and alkaloids. Although these substances have been studied for bioactivity, current research does not conclude anything about their effects on human health.
Laboratory experiments demonstrated that dietary noni juice increased physical endurance in mice.
Noni was explored unsuccessfully by medical researchers for possible use in treating cancer.
In Hawaii, ripe fruits are applied to draw out pus from an infected boil. The green fruit, leaves and the root/rhizome have traditionally been used to treat menstrual cramps and irregularities, among other symptoms, while the root has also been used to treat urinary difficulties.
The bark of the great morinda produces a brownish-purplish dye for batik making; on the Indonesian island of Java, the trees are cultivated for this purpose. In Hawaii, yellowish dye is extracted from its root in order to dye cloth.
There have been recent applications for the use of oil from noni seeds.  Noni seed oil is abundant in linoleic acid that may have useful properties when applied topically on skin, e.g., anti-inflammation, acne reduction, moisture retention.
Pitta Hiya or Petaya (Dragonfruit)
You’ve probably heard me talk about this before, but I never explained what it was. We like them so much that we planted 4 of them in the yard. This is one you can get at the grocery store – I’ve seen them in Edmonton before!
A pitaya (pronounced /pɨˈtaɪ.ə/) or pitahaya (/ˌpɪtəˈhaɪə/) is the fruit of several cactus species, most importantly of the genus Hylocereus (sweet pitayas). These fruit are commonly known as dragon fruit – cf. Chinese huǒ lóng guǒ 火龍果/火龙果 “fire dragon fruit” and lóng zhū guǒ “dragon pearl fruit”, or Vietnamese thanh long (green dragon). Other vernacular names are strawberry pear or nanettikafruit. In Mauritius, it is known as “Débousse-to-fesse” because of its laxative properties.
Native to Mexico and Central and South America, the vine-like epiphytic Hylocereus cacti are also cultivated in Asian countries such as Taiwan, Vietnam,Thailand, the Philippines, Sri Lanka and Malaysia. They are also found in Okinawa, Hawaiʻi, Israel, northern Australia and southern China. Hylocereus blooms only at night; the large white fragrant flowers of the typical cactusflower shape are among those called “moonflower” or “Queen of the Night“. Sweet pitayas have a creamy pulp and a delicate aroma.
If not otherwise stated, this article’s content refers specifically to the pitayas of Hylocereus species, or “dragon fruit”.
sour pitayas) are of more local importance, being commonly eaten in the arid regions of the Americas. They are sourer and more refreshing, with juicier flesh and a stronger taste, and are relished by hikers. The common Sour Pitaya or pitaya agria (S. gummosus) in the Sonoran Desert has been an important food source for Native American peoples. The Seri people of northwestern Mexico still harvest the highly appreciated fruit, and call the plant ziix is ccapxl – “thing whose fruit is sour”. The fruit of related species, such as S. queretaroensis and Dagger Cactus (S. griseus), are also locally important food. Somewhat confusingly, the Organ Pipe Cactus (S. thurberi) fruit (called ool by the Seris) is the pitahaya dulce (“sweet pitahaya”) of its native lands, as dragon fruit are not grown there in numbers. It still has a more tart aroma than Hylocereus fruit, described as somewhat reminiscent of watermelon; it has some uses in folk medicine.
After thorough cleaning of the seeds from the pulp of the fruit, the seeds may be stored when dried. Ideally, the fruit must be unblemished and overripe. Seeds grow well in a compost or potting soil mix – even as a potted indoor plant. Pitaya cacti usually germinate between 10 and 14 days after shallow planting. As they are cacti, overwatering is a concern for home growers. As their growth continues, these climbing plants will find something to climb on, which can involve putting aerial roots down from the branches in addition to the basal roots. Once the plant reaches a mature 10 lbs weight, one may see the plant flower. Pitaya cacti flower overnight, usually wilting by the morning. They rely on nocturnal creatures such as bats or moths for fertilization by other pitaya. Self fertilization will not produce fruit. This limits the capability of home growers to produce the fruit. However, the plants can flower between three and six times in a year depending especially on growing conditions. Like other cacti, if a healthy piece of the stem is broken off, it may take root in soil and become its own plant. This is a much shorter route to reproduction. The plants handles up to 104oF and very short periods of frost, but do not survive long exposure to freezing temperatures. The cacti thrive most in USDA zones 10-11, but may survive outdoors in zone 9a or 9b.
Hylocereus has adapted to live in dry tropical climates with a moderate amount of rain. The dragon fruit sets on the cactus-like trees 30–50 days after flowering and can sometimes have 5-6 cycles of harvests per year. There are some farms in Vietnam that produce 30 tons of fruit per hectare every year.
Sweet pitayas come in three types, all with leathery, slightly leafy skin:
- Hylocereus undatus (Red Pitaya) has red-skinned fruit with white flesh. This is the most commonly-seen “dragon fruit”.
- Hylocereus costaricensis (Costa Rica Pitaya, often called H. polyrhizus) has red-skinned fruit with red flesh
- Hylocereus megalanthus (Yellow Pitaya, formerly in Selenicereus) has yellow-skinned fruit with white flesh.
Early imports from Colombia to Australia were designated Hylocereus ocampensis (supposedly red fruit) and Cereus triangularis (supposedly yellow fruit). It is not quite certain to which species these taxa refer to, though the latter is probably the Red Pitaya.
The fruit can weigh from 150-600 grams; some may reach one kilogram. The flesh, which is eaten raw, is mildly sweet and low in calories. Few people find its taste offensive; some may consider it bland. It is generally recommended that dragon fruit be eaten chilled, for improved flavor; dragon fruit should not be used to accompany strong-tasting food – except to “clean the palate” between dishes. The fruit is also converted into juice or wine, or used to flavor other beverages. The flowers can be eaten or steeped as tea.
To prepare a pitaya for consumption, cut the fruit vertically into two halves. From here, either cut the halves into watermelon-like slices, or scoop out the two white fleshy halves with a tablespoon. Eating the fruit is sometimes likened to that of the kiwifruit due to a prevalence of sesame seed-sized black crunchy seeds found in the flesh of both fruits which make for a similar texture upon consumption. Although the tiny pitaya seeds are eaten with the flesh, have a nutty taste and are rich in valuable lipids, they are indigestible unless chewed. The skin is not eaten, and in farm-grown fruit it may be polluted with pesticides.
The typical nutritional values per 100 g of raw pitaya (of which 55 g are edible) are as follows:
- Water 80-90 g
- Carbohydrates 9-14 g
- Protein 0.15-0.5 g
- Fat 0.1-0.6 g
- Fiber 0.3-0.9 g
- Ash 0.4-0.7 g
- Calories: 35-50
- Carotene (Vitamin A) traces
- Thiamine (Vitamin B1) traces
- Riboflavin (Vitamin B2) traces
- Niacin (Vitamin B3) 0.2-0.45 mg
- Ascorbic acid (Vitamin C) 4–25 mg
- Particularly red-skinned pitayas are a good source of Vitamin C.
- Pitayas are rich in fiber and minerals, notably phosphorus and calcium. Red pitayas seem to be richer in the former, yellow ones in the latter.
- The seeds are rich in polyunsaturated fatty acids, and in particular Red Pitayas contain very little saturated fat.
- Pitahayas also contain significant quantities of phytoalbumin antioxidants, which prevent the formation of cancer-causing free radicals.
- In Taiwan, diabetics use the fruit as a food substitute for rice and as a source of dietary fibre.
- Pitaya supposedly increases excretion of heavy metal toxins and lowers cholesterol and blood pressure. Eaten regularly, it is credited with alleviating chronic respiratory tract ailments.
- Pitaya has natural laxative properties and for many people may cause gastro-intestinal discomfort and diarrhea.