How to Select Dragon Fruit
- Select dragon fruit (also called pitaya) that is a bright pink or deep golden in color. Check that the skin is shiny, evenly colored throughout, and free of bruises, cuts, or splotches. Splotchy dragon fruit may be overripe.
- Check the stem of the dragon fruit. Select fruit with a fresh, pliant stem. A brittle stem indicates overripe fruit.
- Select dragon fruit with brightly colored petals. Avoid those with browning on the ends.
- Test the firmness of the dragon fruit by pressing your finger into the skin. A ripe dragon fruit will be firm with a slight give, similar to an avocado.
When Is Dragon Fruit in Season?
Dragon fruit is a sweet fruit from the cactus plant that is in season during the summer – June through September. The best season for most varieties of dragon fruit is August and September, although one variety produces its fruit in the winter months of November through February.
Varieties of Dragon Fruits
There are several varieties of dragon fruit. Although we’ve said this is a sweet fruit, one type is called Sour Dragon Fruit. It grows in dry areas of North America, has a nutty flavor, and edible seeds. The flesh of this fruit is refreshing, with a nice blend of spicy and sour tastes.
Red Dragon Fruit has red flesh and skin that is sweet. Its texture is similar to kiwi and can be eaten raw or used in smoothies. It combines well with other fruits like pineapple. The juice of this fruit can stain your hands and clothes when you consume it.
White Dragon Fruit has white flesh and pink skin and is the most popular variety. The pulp is semi-sweet and tastes like grapes, while the juice is sweet, delicious, and is best served chilled.
Pink Dragon Fruit is like the red variety, but the flesh is different. The flesh of the pink dragon fruit is hot pink and soft. Pink dragon fruit can grow in different kinds of soil and varying climates.
Yellow Dragon Fruit has yellow skin and firm white flesh. It is native to South America and is one of the best-tasting varieties of dragon fruit.
Dragon Fruit Nutrition Facts & Benefits
Six ounces of cubed dragon fruit provides,
- approx 102 calories
- 0 grams of fat
- 2 grams of protein
- 22 grams of carbohydrates
- 13 grams of natural sugar
- 5 grams of fiber
Here are just a few of the many ways that dragon fruit can benefit your health:
1) Dragon fruit contains vitamin C, essential for strong bones, cartilage, muscle, and blood vessels. Vitamin C also helps with wound healing and the regeneration of cells.
2) Dragon fruit contains many antioxidants that repair damaged cells in your body (due to oxidative stress), reduce inflammation, and protect against some chronic diseases.
3) Eating dragon fruit can boost your digestive health. It contains probiotics which are food for the healthy bacteria in your gut. In particular, the probiotics that dragon fruit provides, feed the bacteria that kill disease-causing viruses.
4) In addition to many other vitamins and minerals, dragon fruit contains iron, which is vital for moving oxygen around your body. Vitamin C, also contained in this fruit, helps your body to absorb and use iron.
How to Store Dragon Fruit
How To Store Fresh Dragon Fruit: Store fresh, unwashed, uncut dragon fruit in a room temperature area for up to 3 days or in a sealed plastic bag or container in the refrigerator for up to 2 weeks. A sealed container helps prevent dragon fruit from picking up the flavors of other foods in your refrigerator. Washing dragon fruit accelerates spoilage, so don’t wash until you’re ready to eat it. Cut dragon fruit pieces can be stored in a sealed container in the refrigerator for up to 2 days. Sprinkle them with lemon juice first to slow the spoiling process.
How To Freeze Dragon Fruit: Peel dragon fruit and cut into small cubes. Place cubes in a single layer on a cooking sheet and freeze overnight. Store the frozen cubes in a sealed plastic bag, removing excess air, for up to 3 months.
How to Prepare Dragon Fruit
Dragon fruit can look intimidating when it comes to preparation, but it’s just as easy to deal with as any other fruit. Please note that you should only eat the flesh of dragon fruit – not the skin.
Dragon fruit makes an excellent contribution to your fruit smoothies. It goes well with bananas or pineapples to make a nutritious and refreshing beverage. Use a paring knife to peel the fruit, then cut it into chunks and blend.
The dragon fruit’s skin can be left on and used as a bowl to hold the fruit. Cut your dragon fruit in half and use a spoon to scoop out and eat the fruit directly out of its skin.
Like most sweet fruits, dragon fruit contributes greatly to a juicy fruit salad or as a topping for a Greek yogurt and granola bowl. You can even add them to a green salad for a yummy variety of tastes and textures.
You’ve probably most often seen dragon fruit as a garnish for a gorgeous cocktail or pretty summer drink.