Dragon fruit hit the market the same as when kiwi came first. Although it looks exotic, in reality, it is a tropical fruit. However, the origin of dragon fruit is yet unknown but it is supposed to be found in Mexico and parts of America. But now it is common worldwide. Thanks to its vibrant appearance that is easy to spot from meters away. While they look delicious many people still don’t know how to cut and eat dragon fruit. And let us tell you, it is not something to be embarrassed about. All you need to keep some things in mind and you can beautifully cut and enjoy your delicious dragon fruit.
What is Dragon Fruit?
As we already said, it is not exotic but a tropical fruit that is now found in many countries around the world. This fruit grows on Hylocereus cactus, commonly known as Honolulu queen. So it is a part of the cactus family. And the interesting thing about these cactus is, their flowers only bloom at night.
Pink skin with white pulp and black seeds is the first thing that comes to mind whenever someone says Dragon fruit. But there are other varieties of dragon fruit than just white flesh. Below is a brief description of the types of pitayas.
Hylocereus Undatus – Also known as white-fleshed pitayas is the commonly seen type in the market. While the flesh is white, the skin is of pink or red color. Overall, the fruit looks appealing and delicious.
Hylocereus Megalanthus – This type has a yellow shell with white or slightly grey flesh. Besides, the black seeds are common with Megalanths also. Their shell is not as soft as Undatus and has a bit of a throne. This makes it a bit difficult to cut open the dragon fruit. But on the bright side, the flesh of the pulp is sweet.
Hylocereus Costaricensis – Native to Costa Rica, this type has a dark pink shell and purple flesh. Some people find the pulp color blood-like. These types of pitayas are rare with black seeds. Also, the seeds of Costaricensis taste like poppy seeds.
How to Eat Dragon Fruit?
Here comes the main thing, how to eat dragon fruit. The cutting and chopping of the fruit are not as complicated as it seems. In some simple steps, you can easily open and eat a dragon fruit. Go through the below points and you can enjoy yummy and healthy pitaya.
Choosing a Dragon Fruit: It is hard to find a pitaya in regular markets. But if you’re craving for one then do check the Asain market in your city. They are more likely to have them. And if you’re lucky enough, you can get to see the rare varieties of the fruit.
Once you spot the dragon fruit, it’s time to check whether the fruit is ripe or not. Ripe dragon fruit tastes best and sweet while the unripe ones taste sour. Gently press the skin of the pitaya. If you feel the pulp having more give, then the fruit is overripe. A gentle give means the pitaya is perfectly ripe and ready to eat.
Avoid putting the pitayas in your basket that have dark black or brown spots or dry spines.
Cutting a Dragon Fruit: So now you brought home these beautiful looking fruits it’s now time to cut and eat pitaya. But before you begin to cut it is important to wash them. Wash all the pitayas properly and wipe dry gently with a kitchen cloth(1).
Dragon fruit tastes best when a little cold. So if time permits you then keep pitayas in the refrigerator for an hour. When finally it’s time to cut them grab your sharp kitchen knife made from Damascus steel or use a Wusthof Knife and slice the fruit right from the middle. You’ll see white flesh with small black seeds inside.
Getting Out the Flesh: If the fruit is ripe then the flesh will come off easily with a spoon. Take a spoon and start taking the flesh off along the edges of the skin. Keep scooping till you reach the other end of the fruit. It will hardly take you 30 seconds to separate dragon fruit flesh from the skin.
Health Benefits of Eating Dragon Fruit
Just like many other fruits, dragon fruit is healthy in many ways(2). First of all, the sweet-sour taste of the pitaya is because of high vitamin C. Good amounts of vitamin C make the fruit perfect for people with a weak immune.
Another great nutrient fact about pitaya is it contains no cholesterol. This means people suffering from heart diseases can worry-free eat dragon fruit. Besides, loaded with fiber, pitayas are great for digestive issues. It contains prebiotic fiber that promotes the growth of healthy bacteria in your gut.
Increased free radicals damage the cell and often leads to inflammation. Rich in antioxidants, dragon fruit help to control free radicals.
Iron deficiency is common and people do not realize it until severe symptoms show. If you show any signs of fatigue, frequent headaches, or hair loss then it’s time to have some iron-rich food. And along with other vital vitamins, dragon fruit contains an impressive amount of iron. A medium-sized fruit contains nearly 8% iron which is great for people suffering from anemia.
Dragon fruit is full of antioxidants and vitamin C that helps to increase metabolism. And increased metabolism means low-fat storage. So which makes pitaya a great fit for weight loss. The flesh tastes and looks somewhat like kiwi but the health benefits of dragon fruit are quite different from kiwi. These exotic looking fruits have a melon-like texture. And such a texture is ideal for making smoothies, sorbets, etc. While making the smoothie you’ll see the black seeds floating around. Do not take them out as they are edible and taste great. So now that you how health benefits and ways to cut and eat dragon fruit, go ahead and give it a try as this fruit is not known to cause fatal allergic reactions till now.