Dragon fruit, or pitaya, is likely one of the most alluring tropical fruits round, no less than on a floor stage. It has a bad-ass title, clearly, and a placing look—akin to a vibrant pink egg with inexperienced scale-like appendages, or possibly an alien artichoke. Lower it open and it might have vivid magenta flesh, or creamy white, however both method, it’s speckled with little black seeds (like those in a kiwi) for much more visible curiosity and textural enchantment. However whereas dragon fruit is certainly a drama queen within the seems to be division, it’s one thing of a shrinking violet in the case of taste.
Its daring look would possibly spark expectations of an equally punchy taste, however actually, it’s fairly refined, and even a bit of bland by comparability to different warm-climate fruit like mangoes and pineapples. Whether or not you choose a pink- or white-fleshed selection, the fruit might be solely evenly candy, just like a pear or unripe melon, with a cucumber-esque freshness, and little to no tartness. The feel is crunchy but considerably juicy. There may be additionally a smaller, yellow-skinned, white-fleshed model of dragon fruit that you just would possibly discover, though the pink ones appear to be extra widespread; all of them style just about the identical, with particular person fruits’ sweetness various relying on the place and after they had been grown, and the way ripe they’re. The pink-fleshed fruits are typically a bit extra fascinating, with a sweeter and barely extra intense style, however from the skin, it’s unimaginable to know if that’s what you’re getting (except the seller tells you).
The pure rising season for dragon fruit begins in midsummer and goes via early fall, however trendy agricultural practices imply you could find it just about 12 months spherical. It’s the fruit of a climbing cactus (making it associated to prickly pears), native to Mexico and South America, however it’s now grown in lots of different tropical locales, together with varied Southeast Asian nations and Australia. The feathery white firework-burst flowers of the plant bloom during the dark of night, and wither within the solar the very subsequent day. Throughout that temporary window of principally nocturnal existence, they’re pollinated by bats and moths (in addition to bees). The ensuing fruit that develops on the base of the wilted flower grows to full measurement in a few month.
When selecting dragon fruit, which is on the market at many giant grocery shops in addition to Asian markets (and native farmer’s markets in the event you’re fortunate), search for a vibrant, even colour and a minimal of blemishes, “scales” which are nonetheless comparatively recent (not completely dry and brown), and steer clear of overly dry and shriveled stems. Whenever you press the fruit gently along with your fingers, it ought to have a bit of give, with out being mushy. If the fruit continues to be exhausting, you’ll be able to go away it on the counter for a couple of days till it softens up a bit. (You may also search for packets of frozen dragon fruit, which is an effective method to make sure you get the brightly coloured fuchsia flesh if that’s what you’re after, and you should buy freeze-dried pitaya powder too.)
Whereas dragon fruit may not have a lot inherent taste, it is said to be extremely healthy, excessive in vitamin C and antioxidants amongst different helpful substances, and the red-fleshed selection definitely makes for gorgeous drinks and smoothie bowls. No surprise Starbucks even added a dragon fruit drink to their lineup.
If you wish to use dragon fruit at house, it’s straightforward to organize. For a lightweight, refreshing snack, you’ll be able to merely minimize it in half lengthwise and use a spoon to eat the flesh straight from the peel, or if you wish to use it in a dish, take away the flesh from the outer shell by operating the sting of a spoon between the meat and the pores and skin (such as you would with an avocado). Flip the items of fruit over to verify the rounded sides for any remaining pores and skin and trim that off, then slice, cube, or puree the flesh as you see match. For a fancier presentation, you should use a melon baller to scoop out excellent spheres of dragon fruit—and be at liberty to order the brightly coloured shells to make use of as serving vessels. Alternatively, minimize the fruit into smaller slices or chunks first, after which minimize off the peel.
As a result of the flavour of dragon fruit is so delicate and delicate, it pairs nicely with white fish (particularly meatier varieties like mahi mahi, which distinction properly with the feel of the fruit), and because it’s juicy and crunchy, it makes an excellent addition to fruit salads and salsas. You should utilize it in smoothies, drinks, and sorbets as nicely; in the event you discover pink-fleshed fruit, the outcomes are particularly placing, however the style might be a lot the identical both method. Though there are exceptions to the overall rule (like this cod with dragon fruit gastrique), dragon fruit isn’t often cooked, however ready and eaten uncooked, to retain its relatively fragile taste and texture.
Listed below are some concepts on easy methods to use dragon fruit in your individual kitchen.
Pink and purple pitaya smoothie bowls are throughout Instagram, and are a vibrant method to begin your day. High them off with no matter recent berries and granola mix you want. Get the recipe.
For a extra substantial breakfast that’s nonetheless fairly wholesome, these coconut pancakes with a pineapple-pitaya topping match the invoice (and you can also make the fruity syrup substitute to drizzle over any pancake or waffle recipe you could want). Get the recipe.
The much less showy white-fleshed dragon fruit continues to be value your whereas, and makes a refreshingly crisp salsa to pair with seafood, like fajita-spiced shrimp in gentle tacos. Get the recipe.
For a extra vibrant colour, use pureed dragon fruit in the frosting, however a bit of little bit of powdered pitaya lends a fetching blush. Attempt including some to any vanilla icing recipe for a pink tint to high all of your baked items, not simply these vegan and gluten-free doughnuts. Get the recipe.
Contemporary, crisp greens rolled up in translucent rice paper are a unbelievable summer time snack or appetizer, and dragon fruit (purple or white) is a superb addition. Right here, the fruit is definitely pureed to naturally dye the rice noodles within the filling, however crisp slivers of pitaya would additionally work splendidly within the combine. Get the recipe.
Add cubes or spheres of dragon fruit to your favourite fruit salad for delicate crunch and mild sweetness. A bit lime juice fantastically offsets the pure sugars in any combo of ripe fruit you select. Get the recipe.
For a creamier frozen deal with, attempt this pitaya ice pop with coconut milk, however for an extra-light dessert, pure fruit puree combined with easy syrup can’t be beat. (For a extra vibrant colour, search out magenta-fleshed dragon fruit for the pops.) Get the recipe.
Rotate this dragon fruit drink into your repertoire of fruity cocktails and also you’ll be sipping fairly all summer time lengthy. Right here, the pitaya mingles with vanilla and mint for an up to date tackle the mojito, with agave syrup because the sweetener. Get the recipe.