Dragon Fruit, (Hylocereus ssp.), is also known as Pitaya, Pithaya, or Strawberry Pear. It is the fruit from a cactus grown in Vietnam. Sometimes is also called by it’s spanish name, Pitahaya, or strawberry pear.
The dragon fruit originated in the areas of Southern Mexico, and Southern Belize. Now, it also grows in Guatemala, El Salvador, and Costa Rica. It is very common in Thai food and southeastern Asian cuisines.
The dragon fruit is round or oval in shape, and is covered with large, prominent scales over a thin rind. The fruit is only 10-20 oz in weight. When cut open, the beautiful red or fusia flesh is revealed. It is speckled with small, black seeds. Some varieties boast orange or yellow or white flesh.
The flesh of the dragon fruit has sweet-sour taste, similar to a combination of coconut and kiwi. It’s texture is similar to a soft apple with the texture of kiwi. The pink flesh sometimes is sweeter than the white flesh varieties.
The pitaya cactus produces, long extensions with 3 ribs. Sometimes, the stems can grow up to 20 feet in length. It is related to the aloe plant.
The dragon fruit is eaten out of hand. Commonly it is scooped from the skin and eaten as a snack or purreed into a milk shake/ smoothie. When ripe, it yields to a gentle squeeze. The unopened buds of the pitaya cactus are used as a vegetable.
Dragon Fruit is good for you. It helps improve glucose control, and helps lower your cholesterol. It is rich in vitamin C and potassium.
© 2010 Chef Jennifer M. Denlinger All rights reserved
Cite me: Denlinger, J. (2011, January 27). Dragon Fruit. Retrieved from: FloridaChef.net