The dragon fruit, with its eye-catching appearance, has intrigued many fruit lovers from all parts of the globe. Looking at the green-tipped spiny exterior of the fruit, its bright reddish-pink hue, and its polka-dotted interior make for a fruit that is both enticing and intimidating to eat.
If you’ve never had one, we encourage you to do so. With this article, we’ll let you know the right way to eat dragon fruit and some ways that you can appreciate its unique flavor.
Dragon fruit is part of the cactus family from the genus Hylocereus and Selenicereus. The fruit is native to South America, but it is grown widely today in many tropical countries.
Pitaya, pitahaya, and strawberry pear are some other names for dragon fruit. It comes in several varieties, with the bright red skin and white flesh being the most common. Dragon fruit also comes in a variety that has red skin and bright pink flesh, and yet another that has yellow skin and white flesh.
The skin of the fruit is quite thin and has spikes all over it. Its flesh is quite pulpy and comes with lots of tiny, edible seeds. It is often eaten raw. Ripe dragon fruit features a mildly sweet taste that resembles a mix of pear and kiwi. Overripe ones typically lack flavor.
If you want to try dragon fruit, you’ll want to pick the best ones. Here’s how to identify a high-quality dragon fruit:
The best dragon fruits feature even coloring all over and do not have bruises or cuts on their skin. While mild variation in the color of the skin is common, a ripe one must have an even hue. Larger, irregular spotting on the fruit can mean it’s already overripe.
The best dragon fruit has a supple stem. A brittle stem indicates that it’s already overripe.
To avoid buying overripe dragon fruits, check the scales or leaves of the fruit. Nice ones have a bright color without any brownish hue on the tips.
The skin of ripe dragon fruit has a slight give, meaning the skin will yield a bit if pressure is applied to it. If the fruit is too firm or yields too easily, try to find a better one.
Ripe dragon fruit emits a soft smell reminiscent of the tropics. This usually means that it’s ripe and has a sweet taste.
Now that you’ve chosen a good dragon fruit, it’s time to try it. While the appearance makes it seem complicated, it’s a no-brainer; the fruit’s thin skin makes peeling very simple. Here are 3 ways to enjoy this produce.
- Chop off the crown of the fruit.
- Pull on a scale using your hand.
- Pull the peel off in circles to access the pulp.
- Using a sharp kitchen knife, cut the fruit lengthwise into neat halves.
- Use a spoon to scoop out the pulp.
- Eat as is or scoop the pulp into a bowl.
- Optionally, you can use a melon baller here to make dragon fruit balls.
- Using a sharp kitchen knife, cut the fruit in half lengthwise.
- Use a large spoon to scoop out the flesh.
- Place the flesh on a chopping board and trim away the pink parts, which have a bitter taste.
- With the flesh flat-side down, cut it into cubes.
- Optionally, you can reserve the dragon fruit skin and use it as a bowl to serve the cubed flesh.
There are many inventive ways to serve dragon fruit. The pulp is suitable for salads, fruit bowls, and cereals. You can also grill it with other fruits; grilling dragon fruit makes its sweetness more pronounced.
Dragon fruits are also popular in smoothies or used in smoothie bowls. You can blend the pulp to turn it into a juice, and you can even use the juice to create cocktails.
Dragon fruit pulp also freezes nicely, and it is great served as popsicles, ice cream, or sherbet.
Ripe dragon fruits can be stored in the fridge for up to 5 days. Separated pulp can be stored in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 1 day. If you want to keep it fresh for a longer period of time, you can sprinkle lemon juice on it.
You can also freeze dragon fruit pulp in the freezer for up to 3 months. However, this is for smoothie, ice cream, and popsicle use only, as the texture will be altered once thawed.
The yellow dragon fruit, or yellow pitaya, is the sweetest of its kind.
Dragon fruit contains prebiotics, betacyanin, flavonoids, and phenolic acid. It is free from fat and rich in fiber. Eating it regularly helps to regulate blood pressure and cholesterol levels.
Dragon fruit also contains vitamins A, C, and B. It contains iron, protein, potassium, calcium, phosphorus, magnesium, and carotene.
Now, you can eat dragon fruit and enjoy this colorful, flavorful bounty from the tropics. It’s good to know that this attention-grabbing fruit has inched its way to many foodies’ hearts and kitchen tables. Give this tasty fruit a try today!