Dragon fruit is 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,” which basically means what it sounds like — above and beyond the norm. This is a phrase used (along with copious eye rolling) to describe someone who is a little dramatic, emotional, sometimes needy, or just a little bit of a pain in the butt. Anyway, I don’t love to attribute human qualities to produce, but if any fruit was going to be labeled extra, dragon fruit might be that fruit.
Maybe that’s not fair; after all, dragon fruit didn’t choose to come off so strong. This tropical fruit is a member of the cactus family, so its strangely-shaped shell and vibrant color come from needing to withstand harsh elements. Let’s just call this tropical fruit attention-grabbing. But what in the world does one do with this extra fruit?
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Dragon fruit, also known as pitaya or strawberry fruit, is a tropical fruit high in antioxidants. Here’s how to prepare and eat dragon fruit.Tweet This
What Does Dragon Fruit Look Like?
Dragon fruit can also be called pitaya, or strawberry fruit, partly because of how it looks: It comes in three varieties: yellow with white flesh, pink with red flesh, and pink with white flesh. There are a lot of thick, petal-like protrusions all over the fruit. On the inside of the fruit, the color is vibrant, almost neon, especially for the red-fleshed version of the fruit. All of the varieties 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 my default is to compare it to the taste of other, more familiar fruits. Kiwi is the most common comparison for dragon fruit, diluted by a flavor similar to a pear. Dragon fruit is sweet but usually not intensely so. It also has a crunchy texture, enhanced by the crunchiness of all the tiny seeds scattered inside.
How to Buy Dragon Fruit
Dragon fruit can be found in well-stocked supermarkets and some specialty stores that carry produce. You can also find it in Latino and Asian markets and online.
When you’re picking which dragon fruit to buy, look for it in the produce aisle, usually near the other tropical fruits. The skin should be smooth and leathery, with 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 to Store Dragon Fruit
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. Eat it before it gets mushy.
When Is Dragon Fruit in Season?
Dragon fruit is grown in Central and South America, Southeast Asia, Mexico, Israel, Australia, and the Caribbean, as well as in warmer U.S. states like Texas, California, and Florida (pretty international, no?). It is in season during the summers of those climates but should be available all throughout the year.
How to Prepare and Eat Dragon Fruit
- Slice when the time is right: 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.
- Prep: To prepare dragon fruit, you can simply slice it in half.
- Get to the flesh: Next, scoop out the slightly firm flesh with a spoon and eat it right out of the shell. Or, carefully use a sharp spoon to scoop and remove the flesh from the skin, then slice or cut it any way you like.
- Serve: 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!).
According to the Cleveland Clinic, dragon fruit is high in vitamin C and a good source of fiber and antioxidants. It also offers calcium.
Yes! Traditionally, dragon fruit is eaten raw, straight out of its freshly-sliced shell.
When your dragon fruit is perfectly ripe, it will give slightly if pressed. Dragon fruit can be ripened on the counter for a few days if it’s hard when you purchase it. Don’t bother buying dragon fruit that’s already mushy in the store!
What to Serve With Dragon Fruit
More Exotic Fruits!
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How to Prepare and Eat Dragon Fruit
- Dragon fruit
- To prepare dragon fruit, you can simply slice it in half and then scoop out the slightly firm flesh with a spoon.
- Eat it right out of the shell, or carefully use a sharp spoon to cut and remove the flesh from the skin, then slice or cut it any way you like.
Nutrition information is automatically calculated, so should only be used as an approximation.