What is Dragon Fruit?
Dragon fruit, also known as pitaya is a tropical fruit that grows in warm climates. Despite their name, the dragon fruit actually has no relation to the mythical creature. Wondering what does the dragon fruit taste like?
In the article below we’ll try out best to explain how the pitaya tastes, the types available on the market, how to pick a ripe dragon fruit and more.
What does dragon fruit look like?
There are 3 main varieties of the Pitaya fruit. Each variety has unique features. Here is how you can identify each dragon fruit variety.
Red dragon fruit: This is the most common variety. The red dragon fruit features a bright red skin with beautiful green scales. Its flesh is white with some black seeds that gives it a dotted appearance. Its scientific name is Hylocereus undatus. The red pitaya can weigh up to 2.2 lbs.
Yellow dragon fruit: Also known as Hylocereus megalanthus, the yellow pitaya features a stunning yellow skin and a white inside (flesh). It’s smaller compared to the red dragon fruit and can be grown along a fence.
Pink dragon fruit: The pitaya roja is an exotic fruit that you can eat raw or toss in a bowl with kiwi and pineapple for the perfect summer salad. It has a pink or red skin and red/purplish flesh. This red fleshed fruit is great for making a fruit salad.
What does dragon fruit taste like?
Looking eat dragon fruit for the first time? The pitaya has many different colors on the inside, ranging from white to reds and purples. Depending on where it is grown, the taste can be best described as mild or bland, with some flavors that are reminiscent of kiwis or pineapples.
In tropical regions, the dragon fruit’s flavor is described as a mildly sweet taste with a firm texture. Additionally, dragon fruit is one of the highest naturally-occurring sources of magnesium and calcium. Also note, its skin is inedible but can be blended to a paste and used for skin care.
Where to buy dragon fruit
Whether you are looking for white flesh or red fleshed dragon fruit, there are plenty on the market. Dragon fruit can be found in many places such as local groceries, farmer’s market, or even online stores. Avoid fruits with a lot of blemishes, that is brown or black spots on the skin.
How to know when dragon fruit is ripe
Wondering how to pick a good dragon fruit? Ripeness is indicated by the color of the skin and the overall texture. When ripe, dragon fruits are bright red, yellow or pink in color, have a crispy consistency, are not too soft or too hard, and are sweet in taste.
How to peel dragon fruit
There are various ways to peel the pitaya fruit. Here is how to properly cut a dragon fruit.
Method 1: Clean the pitaya and place it on your cutting board. Cut its crown. Gently pull the rest of the skin with your hands. Ensure to shave off any remaining skin. Cut the pulp into small pieces and enjoy.
Method 2: Using a sharp knife, cut the pitaya into two equal halves, if the fruit is big cut it into 4 pieces. Using a clean spoon, scoop the pulp into a bowl, mix it with strawberries to make a salad.
Related Read: Check the different types of vine fruits
How to eat it
After peeling off its skin, cut the pulp into sizeable cubes and enjoy it raw. Most people have noted that it has an almost bland taste when eaten raw. If you don’t like it this way, here is another way to add some spice to it.
Make a smoothie.
- You’ll need a cup of cubed frozen dragon fruit.
- 2 Bananas
- 1 cup coconut milk or almond milk
- A few ice cubes (optional)
Put the ingredients into a blender and blend. Add milk until you get your desired texture. For this smoothie you can add other fruits like mangoes, bananas, and strawberry.
Have a food dehydrator and more dragon fruits that you can consume? By making a powder, you can easily store for later consumption. Here is how to make dragon fruit powder at home.
- Slice the fruit. Ensure you get thin stripes
- Place the strips in the dehydrator, lowest setting, overnight
- You want the strips to be completely dry so you have an easy time when blending
- When done, blend and store the powder in zip-lock bags.
How long does a dragon fruit last?
When cut, a pitaya can last up to 5 days when refrigerated. Ensure to put it in a plastic bag in order to preserve its taste. For the whole fruit, you can freeze it for up to three months.
When is dragon fruit in season
Dragon fruit is a tropical fruit that grows in different countries, which means its in season during different times of the year. For example, dragon fruits that are grown in Vietnam will be in season during Spring and Summer months. However, dragon fruits that are grown in the Philippines will be in season during the Fall and Winter months.
In the US, dragon fruits can do well in zones 9 – 11. They don’t do well in colder temperatures, so if you live in zone 9 you’d still have to protect them against frost.
When is dragon fruit ripe? In the US, pitayas are in season during summer months (June to September) and early fall.
How much does pitaya cost?
A whole dragon fruit costs about $6. Dried pitaya powder costs about $36, a smoothie pack about $6 while a pack of chips will set you back $6. You can eat this super food in different ways without breaking bank.
Before we dive into the benefits, here are the nutritional facts in one 5 ounce serving.
Fiber: 4.3 grams
Fat: 0 grams
Health benefits of dragon fruits
Low in calories: One of the main benefits of the dragon fruits is its low calories. According CDC, over 40% of the population is struggling with obesity. And most people turn to fruits when trying to lose weight. Unfortunately, according to this study, some fruits are high in calories and instead of helping you lose weight will do the opposite.
Dragon fruits are known to have less calories compared to other fruits such as bananas or avocados. With the example above, that serving of dragon fruit has about 86 calories while an avocado will have about 150 calories. So for lower calories, stick to pitayas.
Best for your skin: Dragon fruits are high in antioxidants. It contains flavanoids, betalains, and hydroxycinnamates. In Southeast Asia, most people make a paste from the pulp and use it as a face mask. The paste helps in reducing acne and sunburns.
Great source of iron: Need to add more iron to your body? These exotic fruits are a great source of iron. A 5 ounce serving contains up to 14.2% of the RDI.
High in fiber: Foods rich in fiber help reduce levels of cholesterol and maintain bowel health.
It strengthens immunity: High in Vitamin C, dragon fruits help neutralize free radicals and help protect your body.
What does dragon fruit taste like? If you need a creamy, mildly sweet tasting fruit, the dragon fruit is the right pick. There are three main varieties, with fruits grown in Southeast Asia being the sweetest. Dragon fruits are low in calories but high in antioxidants, iron, and fiber. You can eat it raw, blend into a smoothie with other fruits, or dry it and use it as a powder. Whatever your need is, dragon fruit is a super food that is awesome for your body.
My name is Jenny. I’m the Chief Editor at Try Green Recipes and besides making yummy and healthy foods for my kids, grandkids, and friends. I’m new to the blogging world but I believe what I have to share is unique and will bring joy to your home. If you are adventurous and want try something tasty, let’s get started.