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.
|One of the four segments I brought home and potted up|
|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.|
|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.
|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.
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!