Dragon Fruit looks unique. There is this alien look about them that sparks up curiosity in you. A few decades back, you probably didn’t know that dragon fruits even existed but in recent years, they have begun to gain popularity. Dragon fruit is called by different names, you might know it as Pitaya, Strawberry Pear, or Pitahaya.
Dragon fruit looks exotic, it is only normal that you would want to have a taste of it. The name comes from the skin of the fruit which is bright red with green scales that resemble that of a dragon. So, don’t let the name scare you off.
What does dragon fruit taste like? Dragon fruit looks otherworldly but has a pretty normal taste. If you get your hands on dragon fruit, the taste feels like something between a pear and kiwi. Dragon fruit is slightly sweet with a subtle flavor.
Yes, most people are attracted to dragon fruits because of how they look, the way the taste probably comes second. But outside all of that, why else should you have this exotic-looking fruit in your diet, why should you even eat them at all?
Nutritional Benefits of Dragon Fruit
Dragon fruit contains a decent amount of nutrients. It has a low-calorie content so you don’t have to worry about extra carbs. But it is rich in fiber and is a very good source of magnesium. Dragon fruit is also a source of iron, vitamin C, and protein.
Dragon fruit is full of other compounds aside from the nutrients you can name. They contain different antioxidants that can protect your cells from unstable molecules known as radicals. These free radicals can cause aging or some chronic diseases. These antioxidants are betalains, flavonoids, and hydroxycinnamates. The combination of these antioxidants can help you maintain better brain health as well as keep heart disease and cancer at bay.
Research and studies are being carried out on dragon fruit to help pinpoint how much benefit it offers to the human body. So far, the list is pretty long. In some people, dragon fruit has been known to improve the condition of people with type 2 diabetes.
Dragon fruit can also keep you from gaining extra weight. Dragon fruit can help boost metabolic health with the prebiotic fiber that it contains which promotes the growth of the healthy bacteria in your gut.
Culinary Uses of Dragon Fruit
Dragon fruit comes in different varieties, you could have one with yellow skin but white flesh, red skin with red flesh, or red skin with white flesh. All of these varieties are edible.
Dragon fruit is usually eaten raw, you don’t have to cook. You can cut the fruit into two halves and scoop out the flesh with a spoon. But, dragon fruit is famous for getting discolored and dried out if you cut them open and expose them to fresh air. So, if you are not ready to eat just yet, don’t cut it open.
Dragon fruit has many uses in the kitchen, like many other fruits. It is a go-to in a salad or on top of your yogurt. If you like sauces, baked desserts, and puddings, you can puree your dragon fruit peeled, and add it to these recipes. Just to grace the sauce of dessert with its subtle flavor.
You shouldn’t eat dragon fruit skin. You could eat the flesh out of it but no more than that. Dragon fruit would also be a great addition to an early morning smoothie or blended fruit juice.
Where is Dragon Fruit Grown? How Can You Procure It?
Dragon fruit is widely grown in Southeast Asia, Mexico, Israel, Central, and North America. Dragon fruit is predominantly grown in countries that have a warm climate. In some parts of the United States, dragon fruit is being grown commercially: California, Florida, and Hawaii.
If you want to buy dragon fruit, you can get them in convenience stores or well-stocked supermarkets. You can also get them in specialty stores that sell fruits.
Picking the right kind of dragon fruit at the point of purchase is very important. This would mean that you get to experience fresh dragon fruit. Dragon fruit would be placed with other tropical fruits. When you pick them, the skin should be smooth and leathery and the texture should be slightly soft but not too soft.
Why is Dragon Fruit So Expensive?
The reason why the cost of dragon fruit is so high is a case of simple economics. There is a higher demand than supply. The cost of any good or in this case fruit is determined by the law of supply and demand. Dragon fruit is not an exception.
The high demand for dragon fruit is the cause of the increase in the cost. Also, dragon fruit is an organic fruit and these tend to cost more than your normal fruits or vegetables. This could also be a factor in why it is so expensive.
Facts You Don’t Know About Dragon Fruit
- The scientific name for the three varieties of dragon fruit goes thus: White Fleshed Pitaya – Hylocereus undatus, Red Fleshed Pitaya – Hylocereus costaricensis, Yellow Pitaya – Hylocereus megalanthus.
- The juice from dragon fruit can stain your cloth just like beetroot does. So you have to be careful when handling it.
- Red Fleshed Pitaya is sweeter than white-fleshed pitaya and has a little bit more flavor.
- Dragon fruit comes from a family of cactus plants.