Monday, December 5, 2011

Cactus fruit tasting

I’ve posted several times this year about four segments of a Queen of the Night cactus (Cereus hildmannianus susp.hildmannianus) I rescued from the yard waste pile. One of them produced four show-stopping flowers and then set three fruits. Two of these grew and gradually changed color from green to purple to pink. I kept an eye on them because I wanted to pick the fruit at the right time in order to taste it. Like most cereus, this species has edible fruit.

                                                                                                                           
Cereus hildmannianus_03
 110327_Cereus-hildmannianus-subsp.-hildmannianus_07
One of the four segments I brought home and potted up
                                                                                                                                
110815_Cereus-hildmannianus-811pm
 110907_cereus_hildmannianus_fruit
The largest segment bloomed in August. Three flowers opened at the same time and I hand-pollinated them using a small paintbrush. My efforts were successful.
                                                                                                                                            
 111022_cereus_hildmannianus_fruit 111203_cereus_hildmannianus_fruit
The two “good” fruits in late October (left) and in early December (right)

Yesterday I finally picked one of the fruits, which was the size of a kiwi. I realized right away that I had waited a bit too long because the underside was split. My friend Candy of Sweetstuff’s Sassy Succulents had warned me about that. I now wish I had picked it before Thanksgiving. Oh well, another learning moment.

111203_cereus_hildmannianus_fruit2
Split underside. I had waited a little too long.

Most of the inside looked perfectly fine, but there were some brown spots at the end. They look worse in the next photo than they were in real life. I scooped out the flesh with a spoon, cut off the brown parts, and served it up to the family sitting at the breakfast table. While not exactly clamoring to try it, everybody humored me.

111203_cereus_hildmannianus_fruit3
 

So what it did taste like? The consistency was much like watermelon, the seeds adding a nice, pleasant crunch, much like kiwi seeds do. I expected the flavor to be sour, but it wasn’t. “Perfumy” was all I could come up with, but my 13-year old daughter hit the nail on the head: honeysuckle! Not like people eat honeysuckle on a regular basis, but if you’ve ever sucked on a honeysuckle flower, you know exactly what I’m talking about. Overall, a refreshing taste but not exactly a wow experience. Still, if I had a large crop I’d make cereus margarita!

Related posts

3/10/11: Cactus rescued from the gutter
3/28/11: Potting rescued cactus sections
8/15/11: Queen of the Night getting ready to flower
8/17/11:
Queen of the Night goes out with a bang

4 comments:

  1. It does look yummy from the photo!

    ReplyDelete
  2. Mark, I would definitely have it again. Here's hoping for a larger crop next year!

    Alan, I haven't seen any rats in a while. They're probably settling into their winter homes as we speak--hopefully far away from our house!

    ReplyDelete
  3. What a score, I would have been floored to find a free cactus like that. Love it! They look prettty tasty to me, like a mini dragon fruit.

    ReplyDelete