What Is Dragon Fruit?
Dragon fruit, also commonly known as pitaya, or pitahaya, is a tropical fruit from a certain group of cactus plants (botanical name: Hylocereus). Dragon fruit is native to South America, Central America and Mexico, and it’s also grown in Asian regions such as Thailand, Cambodia, Philippines, Vietnam and Taiwan.
The fruit produced by this cactus plant has a rather short shelf life, but has a delicious and mildly sweet taste. It tastes a bit like a mixture of watermelon, kiwi fruit and a pear. The texture is very similar to that of kiwi fruit, because of the tiny little black seeds inside. These seeds are perfectly edible so no need to try and get them out.
Dragon fruit is about the size of a large potato and is usually red (magenta) in color, although they can also be pink and yellow. The flesh inside can be either red or white in color.
With its very unique shape and color, it’s pretty obvious how dragon fruit got its name.
How To Cut And Eat Dragon Fruit?
Dragon fruit is definitely a fruit that you should try, as it tastes great and it’s also very nutritious. When you go buy a dragon fruit, make sure you choose a ripe one. A ripe dragon fruit usually has an even colored skin and feels not too firm and not too soft either. If they still feel a bit firm, you can buy them because you can leave them at home to ripe for a few days longer.
There’s probably many ways to cut your dragon fruit, but I cut it straight through the middle, leaving you with 2 halves. Similar to kiwi fruit, you can then use a spoon to scoop out the flesh. You could also cut it in 4 pieces and then peel or cut off the skin. Please be mindful that the skin is inedible so make sure you don’t leave bits of skin attached to the flesh.
Once you have removed all the flesh, simply cut them in little pieces or wedges and serve them on a plate. It’s also a good idea to add chunks of dragon fruit to a fruit salad for a bit more variety in nutrients. A perfect snack on a warm summer day!
Check out this very entertaining YouTube video for a fun explanation on how to select, cut and eat dragon fruit!
If you’re into blending or juicing (like me!), you can of course use dragon fruit for that too, mixed up with other fruits and vegetables. And did you know that you can also get dried dragon fruit tea in some specialty stores? I haven’t tried that yet but it’s certainly on my to-do list.
Where To Find Dragon Fruit?
Dragon fruit is quite an exotic fruit that you won’t easily find in your average grocery store, unless maybe if you live in South-East Asia or Central America.
Your best bet would be in Asian grocery stores, where you can also find other tropical fruits, such as durian. You could also try and find it at a large fruit and vegetables market where you can often find a lot more variety. Dragon fruit certainly is healthy and delicious enough to make a trip to your nearest Asian grocery store worthwhile.
Health Benefits Of Dragon Fruit
As with most fruits, you can’t go too far wrong with eating dragon fruit. It’s loaded with healthy nutrients, vitamins and minerals, and it’s surprisingly low in calories. Dragon fruit is particularly high in fiber, calcium, iron, Vitamin C and Vitamins B1, B2 and B3. You may be surprised though that it’s not just the vitamin C that makes this exotic fruit stand out.
Antioxidants protect our bodies against free radicals and are essential for keeping our body healthy and in balance. Antioxidants stop the oxidation process, helps prevent diseases, slows down the aging process and promotes healthy skin. Dragon fruit is an excellent source of antioxidants, not just because of the vitamin C, but also because of lycopene.
Lycopene is an antioxidant that makes the dragon fruit turn red. Not surprisingly, lycopene can also be found in tomatoes. Although there is no conclusive evidence for this, it is thought that lycopene helps to prevent cancer.
Dragon fruit is high in fiber content that promotes healthy digestion and helps prevent issues such as constipation. Fiber can also help stabilize blood sugar levels and therefore help regulate diabetes.
It has to be mentioned that Dragon fruit is also very rich in Vitamin C. We all know vitamin C helps boost our immune system, and although you don’t need dragon fruit specifically to get your vitamin C levels up, it will certainly help.
Dragon fruit contains no cholesterol and hardly any cholesterol producing fats. The seeds of dragon fruit actually contain the healthy type of fat which can increase your levels of “good” (HDL) cholesterol.
Dragon Fruit Face Pack to Treat Acne
As dragon fruit is rich in vitamin C, it is really useful for treating acne. Take a quarter of dragon fruit. Make a smooth paste out of it. Apply it on affected area. Rinse off with lukewarm water once it gets dry. Apply this regularly, if possible twice a day for best result.
Do you love exotic fruits as much as I do? Check out this list of 20 exotic fruits that you should try at least once in your life!