All About Dragon Fruit
We’re always happy to rescue local and seasonal produce, but we also get excited when our partners and suppliers have an abundance of sweet and flavorful tropical fruits. We hate to see any produce at risk of going to waste, which is why you’ll often discover pineapples, bananas, kiwi, and mango in your PIP boxes year round. And every so often we rescue something a little more exotic, like the golden dragon fruit we boxed up and shipped out across Ohio this week!
What is dragon fruit?
Dragon fruit, also known as pitaya, grows in tropical regions of the world, primarily South America and Southeast Asia. This bulb-shaped fruit is harvested from a cactus plant and has a vibrant red, pink or yellow skin with green spiky leaves. Cut it open to reveal a white or deep magenta soft flesh with black edible seeds. Dragon fruit is ripe when it gives slightly with pressure, similar to a ripe avocado. If the fruit is rock hard, let it ripen on your counter for a day or two. Once ripe, enjoy dragon fruit right away, or refrigerate it for 1 to 2 days.
What does dragon fruit taste like?
The flavor and texture of dragon fruit is best described as a cross between a kiwi and a ripe pear. It has a very mild, sweet flavor. White-fleshed dragon fruit are typically sweeter than their pink counterparts.
Dragon fruit nutrition
In addition to vitamin C and the minerals magnesium and iron, dragon fruit contains various antioxidants and phytochemicals, like the carotenoid lycopene in pink dragon fruit, which may help to reduce the risk of cardiovascular disease and certain cancers. In addition, it’s an excellent source of fiber, thanks to the black edible seeds. Dragon fruit also contains prebiotic fiber, a type of fiber that supports a healthy gut microbiome.
How to cut dragon fruit
Rinse the dragon fruit, then use a large paring knife to cut it in half lengthwise. Use your hands to peel away the skin, or use a spoon to scoop out the flesh (similar to scooping out an avocado). Cut the dragon fruit into slices, cubes, or use a teaspoon or melon baller to scoop out balls.
How to eat dragon fruit
Dragon fruit is best enjoyed raw immediately after peeling. Here are a few simple ways to enjoy this sweet fruit.
Dragon Fruit Salsa
Gently toss together diced dragon fruit, pineapple or mango, jalapeno, cilantro, and lime juice. Season to taste with salt. This salsa is delicious atop fish or shrimp tacos!
Dragon Fruit Parfait
Gently toss together diced dragon fruit, pineapple, mango, banana, and kiwi. Layer between yogurt with shredded coconut.
Enjoy it in smoothies
Dragon fruit won’t contribute a distinctive flavor to smoothies, but it will add sweetness and nutrients. Enjoy it in your favorite smoothie, noting you may need to reduce overall liquid as dragon fruit contains a lot of water.
Keep it simple
Dragon fruit is a fun fruit that can be enjoyed all on its own. For a refreshing snack, pair it with other tropical fruits, like pineapple and mango, and top it with a splash of fresh lime juice and a sprinkle of Tajin, a chili-lime spice blend, for a little kick.
By Carolyn Hodges, MS, RDN