How to Prepare and Eat Dragon Fruit
We have to start by saying that Dragon fruit is clearly one of the most dramatic fruits around. If you have teenagers, especially if you have teenage girls, then you may be familiar with the term “extra”. Extra basically means what is sounds like – above and beyond, a bit more than what the norm is. This is a phrase used to describe someone who is a little much, dramatic, emotional, sometimes needy, or a little bit of a pain in the butt. Anyway, I don’t want to attribute human qualities to produce, but if a fruit was going to be labeled extra, dragon fruit might be that fruit. Or at least show-offy.
But what in the world does one do with this attention-grabbing fruit?
What is Dragon Fruit?
Dragon fruit is a tropical fruit, actually a member of the cactus family. It can also be called a pitaya or a strawberry fruit.
What Does Dragon Fruit Look Like?
The appearance of dragon fruit is part of its appeal. It comes in three varieties: yellow with white flesh, pink with red flesh, and pink with white flesh. There will be a lot of thick petal-like protrusions all over the fruit. The inside color is vibrant, especially the red-fleshed version. All of the insides have tiny edible black seeds, sort of like kiwi seeds, sprinkled throughout.
What Does Dragon Fruit Taste Like?
It’s always so hard to describe the flavor of a fruit, and the default is to compare it to the taste of other more familiar fruits. Kiwi is the most common comparison, sometimes combined with the flavor of pear. The taste of dragon fruit is sweet, but usually not intensely so.
It has a crunchy texture enhanced by the crunchiness of all of the tiny seeds scattered inside.
How Do You Eat Dragon Fruit?
Don’t cut dragon fruit until just before you plan to use it or eat it, as it will start to dry out and discolor. To prepare dragon fruit, you can simply slice it in half, and then scoop out the slightly firm flesh with a spoon and eat it right out of the shell, or carefully use a sharp spoon to cut and remove the flesh from the skin, the slice or cut it any way you like. Dragon fruit can also be pureed and used in sauces, and puddings, and frozen desserts, and drinks.
Don’t eat the skin, but if you want, you can save it and use it for serving your dragon fruit creation (continue the dramatic presentation!)
Where Do I Buy It?
Dragon fruit can be found in well stocked supermarkets, and definitely in specialty stores that carry produce. You can also find it in Latino and Asian markets.
How Do I Know Which Dragon Fruit to Buy?
Look for dragon fruit in the produce aisle, usually near the other tropical fruits. The skin should be smooth and leathery, with those firm petal-like protrusions all over the fruit, sometimes with green tips. Look for bright evenly colored skin, that gives slightly when you press into it, but not too much—you don’t want it to be too soft.
How Do I Ripen Dragon Fruit?
Dragon fruit can be ripened on the counter for a few days if it’s hard when you purchase it.
And How Do I Store It?
Dragon fruit can be stored on the counter as long as it’s not getting too soft. If it starts to yield too much when you press into it, transfer it to the fridge in a sealed plastic bag for a few days. When it gets mushy, toss it.
When is Dragon Fruit in Season?
Dragon fruit is grown in Central and South America, Southeast Asia, Mexico and Israel, Australia, the Caribbean, as well as warmer US states like Texas, California and Florida (pretty international, no?) It is in season during the summers of those climates, but available all throughout the year.
Is Dragon Fruit Nutritious?
Dragon fruit is high in vitamin C and a good source of fiber and antioxidants. It also offers calcium.
Want to know more about unusual produce?