Dragon Fruits, Oh My!

dragon fruit photo: Dragon Fruit P1010562.jpg
*Photo Credit to Junehilda @ Photobucket

Imagine going to your grocery store and seeing a pile of this.  Unless you know what it is, wouldn’t you be intrigued?  Soso and I certainly were and since we are fruties (Peanut, too), we had to buy one.  Priced at a premium price of $3 per pound, I was willing to risk buying only one, but… Having tasted it, now I wish I had bought more!

dragon fruit photo: thai dragon fruit dragon_fruit.jpg
*Photo Credit to leszaoh @ Photobucket

Inside looks creamy white with black speckles that are tiny seeds. Doesn’t it remind you of cookies and cream ice cream or frozen creamy poppy-seed dressing? It actually reminds me of the exotic fruits from Peru such as chirimoya. And no wonder!

Dragon fruits, also known as pitahaya, are the fruits produced by cacti species Hylocereus. The cacti are native to Central America and South America, but interestingly enough the fruits are now more closely associate with South East Asia. They are now commercially grown in many countries such as Thailand, Vietnam and Cambodia. While I tend to associate cacti with desert, these thrive in tropical climate and require more moisture than typical cacti.

Unlike the custard-like chirimoya, dragon fruit actually has the texture and taste similar to kiwi.  It’s very mild and refreshing.  I actually liked it better than kiwi.  We bought a pink skinned fruit with white flesh, but it comes in pink flesh as well. There is also a variety with yellow skin and yellowish white flesh. I don’t know if they all taste similar or if one is sweeter than the others.

Some people complain it tastes too mild, but I think that’s part of the charm.  I’ve also read some comments on the internet  complaining of too much sourness, but I’m pretty sure it isn’t supposed to be very sour.  You may have picked a bad one.  Make sure to look for one that has brightly even-colored skin and where the stem and the tip of the “leaves” aren’t too brown.  It should give a little when gently squeezed. It needs more ripening if it’s hard.  Wash well, cut in half and scoop up the flesh using a spoon like an avocado.  It can then be diced and eaten fresh, mixed with other fruits as a salad or made into a smoothie.  I can totally see dragon fruit in a shaved ice.  Oh, yum!

If you are new to dragon fruit and like kiwi, give it try.  Come back and tell me what you think!  As for us, dragon fruit got thumbs up from me and the kiddos! (We’re so greedy, D didn’t even get a taste.)

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