“Dragon fruit”. Even the name sounds exotic, doesn’t it?
Maybe it is the official food of dragons? (we’re not sure)
Or is it just supposed to look like a dragon? (well, maybe just a bit?)
Or maybe it is fiery spicy, like a Dragon’s flaming breath? (not at all!)
The truth is – dragon fruit has been cultivated for thousands of years. This fruit got its name from China, where it was “the plant with a flower like a flame”. In China, dragons are also considered a symbol of good luck. Dragon fruit is used to mark times of celebration, both as a cool decoration for the center of the table and as a delicious dessert.
The other name for dragon fruit is “pitahaya”. It is indigenous to the Americas, and it is cultivated today in many Central and South American countries. Since it is a tropical fruit, very little dragon fruit comes from the USA --- other than Hawaii and small amounts from Florida, California and Texas. Our USA mainland climate is not ideal for dragon fruit – the season is just too short to grow very large fruit!
Most dragon fruit has red skin, but there is also a neat variety with a yellow skin. Either way, don’t eat the skin --- it would be like eating a banana peel or the outside of a kiwi - ugh! Instead, carefully cut open your dragon fruit and you will find the delicious white flesh inside. Just scoop it out with a spoon, carefully cut it out with a knife into slices or cubes --- or use a melon baller! Any way you choose, we think you will really enjoy this exotic treat.
Dragon fruit flesh is mildly sweet, juicy and contains tiny black, crunchy seeds. Its taste is often described as being a blend of kiwifruit and pear. The seeds are edible, with a light nutty taste --- and they also provide interesting decoration when presenting cut dragon fruit on the table.
Dragon fruit are naturally low in calories and rich in antioxidants. Dragon fruit seeds are rich in lipids, and the fruit is also a source of Vitamin C and calcium.
We think you will want to enjoy your dragon fruit right away --- but if desired, you may store your dragon fruit on the counter for a few days. To store it longer, place the fruit in a sealed bag in your refrigerator. Do not cut your fruit until you are ready to enjoy it. You can store the cut fruit the same way you would with any cut fruit – in a sealed container in the refrigerator for a day or two.
Fun fact: Dragon fruit is actually a member of the cactus family! But don’t worry – we remove the thorns before we bring the fruit to you. ☺