I bet you have seen a dragon fruit at the supermarket or a restaurant menu—even if you haven’t eaten one yet. They are quite attractive with their bright colors and spiky appearance.
It got its name from the red/pinkish with green scales, which resembles a dragon.
You know, dragon fruit is the kind of fruit that’s difficult to miss. Over the years, it has grown in popularity among food/travel bloggers and Instagram enthusiasts.
In a sense, it’s gradually becoming mainstream! Of course, the health benefits are some of the prominent features on most blogs.
But this exotic fruit has people divided on its taste as much as they are on its appearance. While some share positive sentiments, this particular writer went out on a rampage on the criticism.
The most common dragon fruit is red, or if you like pinkish, depending on how you view color. We won’t dwell much on the dragon fruit color.
Let’s learn more about its taste and other exciting facts.
How Does A Dragon Fruit Taste Like?
There’s no doubt that the Dragon fruit has some lovely exteriors. But do not get too excited about its taste from its exotic appearance—looks can be deceiving.
I’d say the dragon fruit tastes like a mixture of watermelon and pears with a kiwi vibe in it! Though, it’s understandable since the fruit is bourne from the cactus family.
Dragon fruits are native to Mexico and Central American arid regions, but the local market in Southeast Asia. Vietnam is one of the largest exporters of dragon fruit. So the ones you see on the supermarket shelves are probably from here.
The Malaysian Chinese use the dragon fruit to worship their gods during the Chinese new year.
While it is native to Central America, it is now grown worldwide, including Texas and Florida.
This tropical fruit grows on a cactus known as the Hylocereus or the Honolulu queen. And because of the harsh arid conditions, its flowers only open in the night. Dragon fruit is also known by other names such as strawberry pear, Pitahaya, and Pitaya.
Most people are not aware that there are several varieties of dragon fruit.
How Many Varieties of Dragon Fruit Exist?
While they are three common dragon fruit varieties, two of these are more prevalent in our local market. You’ll notice that the two common dragon fruits have red skin with red or white flesh.
While the third option has yellow skin and white pulp, and it’s rarely stocked in our local markets.
Still, the red-fleshed variety is less available than the white-fleshed one. Here is a look at the three types.
Red Skin White-Fleshed
This dragon fruit variety overruns the market. Even though the skin is somewhat red, in some descriptions, it will pass as such. As far as tastes are concerned, this version tends to have a bland feel to it. Too bad it’s the most common in our markets. Its characterized by the conspicuously whiter pulp, which makes the black seeds pop out when sliced open.
Red Skin Red-Fleshed
it’s not easy to differentiate between the red and white fruits from the outside. You only notice the difference when you cut through. The interior of this one is crimson red or magenta with black seeds. It is more flavorful than the white-fleshed variety.
Yellow-Skinned Dragon Fruit
This is the rarest of them all on North American Shores. But it’s pretty tasteful compared with the others. If you come across this variety, buy it at once! The exterior comprises yellow skin and spiky thorns, while the interior is white-fleshed.
Before we get down to examine the different tastes of the dragon fruit, do you even know the edible parts?
Read on to find out!
Which Parts of the Dragon Fruit are Edible?
Have you noticed the dragon fruit looks like some artifacts because of its unusual appearance? Well, when you think of it as such, it’s easier to take in what I’ll say next.
The skin of the dragon fruit is inedible!
But don’t worry, the edible part forms 60% of the fruit. All you have to do is slice your fruit into half or more pieces and scoop the interior, including the seeds.
On the other hand, you can peel the fruit and enjoy the content or get creative with the additives.
We’ll look into that in a short while.
But first, let’s see how to differentiate between a ripe and unripe dragon fruit.
How to Tell Apart Ripe and Unripe Dragon Fruits?
Remember, the difference could define your dragon fruit taste forever. I mean, if you pick an unripe one, it could result in unpleasant shock because the taste is quite different.
Anyway, the skin may not necessarily tell what the interior holds. It is the same case with unripe and ripe dragon fruit, and they are more similar! But there are some subtle coloring changes to look out for in the dragon fruit.
I know with most fruits feeling with your hand helps differentiate a ripe from an unripe one.
In addition to that, the interior doesn’t change color. The skin color becomes even redder while the green scales turn yellow. More marks include browning of the edges. When the fruit is overripe, it starts developing dark spots.
Usually, harvesters will pluck unripe dragon fruits to avoid spoiling during transit. If you pick an unripe one (refer to the checklist above), you may give it a few days to ripen.
Simply leave it on the counter and let nature do its wonders. That said, if you slice open a dragon fruit, you can store it for a maximum of four days in an airtight container in the fridge. If uncut, it can even stay for up to 3 weeks. They should be in a sealed bag.
How to Prepare and Eat Dragon Fruit
Dragon fruits are usually on the produce aisle of the supermarket alongside other tropical fruits. Out here in the states, dragon fruits tend to be available all year round. However, its in season during summer climates in countries where it is grown, such as Vietnam and southern Mexico.
The rule of thumb is to cut dragon fruit when you want to eat it. Even so, we looked at ways to store it if that’s not the case.
There are a dozen methods or more to consume dragon fruit. Slicing it does not require some specialized tools. A regular kitchen knife will do the trick. Halve the dragon fruit and simply scoop the flesh with a spoon.
If you wish to eat it like most people, you can eat it raw with some pepper or chili powder to add flavors.
But if you want to get creative, here are some ideas to start you off:
- Fruit salad; slice your flesh into smaller pieces and add it to other fruits such as watermelon, mangoes, pineapples, etc. I bet this will be some delightful eating.
- Make some smoothies or fruit Juice; this is one way of enjoying fruits. You shouldn’t limit yourself on the Juices or smoothies ideas. All in all, you get to enjoy a tremendous nutritional beverage.
- Add to your cakes or muffins; grate the dragon fruit flesh into your cake ingredients during preparations. The flavorful fruit will add distinct flavors to your cakes or muffins.
- You can make some jelly, jam, or preserve using the dragon fruit flesh.
- Make some fruity ice cream and treat yourself to the goodness.
What is the Nutritional Content of Dragon Fruit?
Notably, the main nutritional content found in dragon fruit includes fiber, Iron, and magnesium. Also, there is a little bit of Vitamin C, regular carbs, fats, and proteins.
Since it contains high amounts of Magnesium and fiber plus low-calorie measures, it is classified as a nutrient-dense fruit.
In addition, dragon fruit is praised for its antioxidant properties. Generally, antioxidants protect your body against chronic diseases and aging.
What are the Potential Health Benefits of Dragon Fruit?
As it is, there are not many human studies done on the benefits of the dragon fruit. Much of the evidence available is based on mice studies.
Of course, most of these benefits are associated with antioxidants and high rich fiber content.
Both Dragonfly varieties showed a positive response in obese mice. For instance, one study found that there was reduced insulin resistance. Even though the mice were on a high-fat diet, they gained less weight, had reduced inflammation because of a change in gut bacteria.
When you eat high-fiber fruits such as dragon fruit, there’s the production of digestion-friendly bacteria that increases your metabolism.
Suitable for the Skin
It’s no secret that we all love that glowing, radiant and youthful skin. The good news is that eating dragon fruit can help you achieve that.
Southeast Asia women have maintained a tradition of making Dragon fruit paste. They were applying it on their skin to help them look youthful for longer. This is possible from the antioxidants elements contained in the fruit. Not just for young skin, it can also be used for acne and sunburns.
Help Fight Chronic Diseases
The dragon fruit crushes free radicals that cause chronic diseases. Eventually, protecting the cells in your body against damage and inflammation.
Among the disorders, dragon fruit is believed to preserve diabetes, cancer, arthritis, and heart disease. Betalains and Vitamin C are the antioxidants responsible for these positive effects.
Dragon Fruits have a Higher Concentration Of Magnesium
It has an above-average concentration of magnesium. This nutritional metal is a crucial element that our bodies need regularly.
Promotes a Healthy Functional Gut
Even though this is more or less an expansion of what I shared in the previous section. Simply put, your body has good and, let’s say, harmful bacteria. For our bodies to operate, usually, there must be a balance between the two.
That’s where dragon fruit comes in because it assists in maintaining a healthy balance. Each dragon fruit contains probiotics that help in reducing diarrhea and infections in the digestive tract.
Dragon fruit contains vitamin C and a compound known as carotenoids. These two help strengthen your immunity while protecting white blood cells from damages.
Increase Iron Levels
Dragon fruit got high iron levels, just like most similar fruits. Iron helps in the transportation of oxygen in your body. It assists in the digestion process by breaking down food into smaller pieces for energy production.
Therefore, if you have a low Iron amount, eating dragon fruit will increase the levels. When you eat one dragon fruit daily, 4% of it is beneficial iron added to your body!
Dragon fruit is regarded as a safe fruit. However, in rare cases, two women developed some allergic reactions even though they didn’t have a history of food allergies.
When they were tested, it was discovered that their bodies had antibodies in their blood that rejected dragon fruit.
Just the thought of discussing such a usual fruit is exciting because of the things you have learned along the way.
In most cases, you want a sweet-tasting fruit, and most of them are. We may not classify dragon fruit in the same category, but we can’t dismiss it either. For one, it has so many health benefits that taste kind of takes second place.
That said, it has a unique appearance and taste, too, but there’s some tinge of Kiwi fruit left on your taste buds.
If you think of the many ways of enjoying the fruit makes it even more enjoyable! For instance, you can make Ice cream, add it to your cakes or muffins, or even make some fruity juice or smoothies.
The bottom line is that dragon fruit may not win a tasteful award, but its health benefits are incredible. I’d advise you to try out dragon fruit if you haven’t already. Heck, try out the different recipes while you are it!