Dragon Fruit (pitaya)

Dragon Fruit
Have you ever seen a dragon fruit?  This exotic, beautiful fruit, also known as the pitaya, actually comes from a cactus plant.  I saw this on the streets of Chinatown in New York this past weekend.  Even though I had no idea what it was, I was drawn to its exotic and beautiful color.

I had to buy one.
Dragon Fruit
After doing some research, I realized that this stuff is truly a superfood.  Not only is it low in calories and high in fiber, it’s packed with vitamins and antioxidants.  Studies have confirmed the idea that has been floating around for awhile, that dragon fruit actually helps lower blood glucose levels in those with hyperglycemia (elevated glucose levels).  Furthermore, Anand-Swarup et al demonstrated in rats that dragon fruit “increased the oxidative defense and protected aorta from hyperglycemic damage in rats in whom diabetes was induced.”
Dragon Fruit
Because it’s a tropical fruit (native to Central America but widely grown in Southeast Asia), dragon fruit is relatively rare in the East Coast.  Even in Chinatown, I paid $7 for the one fruit!

How to Eat a Dragon Fruit
A dragon fruit is ready to eat when the skin yields slightly when pressed, similar to a mango.  It tastes better when chilled, so I put mine in the refrigerator overnight.
Dragon Fruit
First, cut the dragon fruit in half.  So pretty!  Looks like cookies & cream ice cream inside!
Dragon Fruit
Slice it up, and you can eat it plain if you want. The flavor is rather light and a bit bland.  It’s mostly water inside (after all, it is a cactus fruit!).  You can eat the seeds.  It’s similar to a kiwi in some ways, but much less tart, much less sweet, and much less flavorful over all.  The flesh is pretty soft, soft enough to scoop with a spoon.
Dragon Fruit
I found that it tasted much better if I just tossed the cubes with a bit of lemon juice. I squeezed half a lemon over the entire bunch.  I also added just a tiny bit of sea salt to bring out the flavor (don’t add too much or else it begins to taste kinda salty!).  I actually bet it would taste fantastic if mixed with other fruits in a fruit salad.  It would present beautifully as well.
Dragon Fruit
It’s refreshing, light, and for some reason, I feel really good after eating it.  Maybe it’s part-psychological, but I feel really healthy – well hydrated, full, and satisfied.

It’s not the most flavorful of fruits, but it’s super healthy, fights a myriad of diseases, and is just so pretty to look at!
Dragon Fruit

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Comments

  1. says

    Oh…I really miss this fruit here. I love the red type. I just eat it plain too. My friend made a very lovely red drink out of it…beautiful and delicious.

  2. Anonymous says

    The red variety tastes better as they tend to be sweeter than the white variety. Here in Singapore, they are sold almost all year round.

    There’s another exotic one called snake skin fruit that is wonderful as well, crunchy and sweet with a tang of sour.

  3. says

    I love dragon fruit! I used to think it looked really weird, but ever since I tried it, it’s a permanent item on my fruit salad each time we have a potluck :)

  4. says

    Oh my goodness, what a fun post! I’ve never had dragon fruit, but want to now! I am the health blogger for Glamour magazine. I’d love to post this, with a photo and link on my blog for Glamour tomorrow. I’ll give you attribution for the photo, and send some traffic your way. hope that’s OK! :) Thank you. (Such a pretty blog you have, by the way!)

  5. says

    Thanks for all your comments! Maybe I’ll have to seek out a red one next time!

    Sarah Jio – you’re welcome to post a picture and a link back to my blog. Please do not copy the entire text of this post though. Thanks!

  6. says

    Lovely photos!

    Dragon fruit is so strange, but so pretty! The first time I bought one was, I admit, just because it was so gorgeous. Great idea to put them in a fruit salad – they would look lovely, wouldn’t they?

  7. says

    I have not tried dragon fruit yet that’s why I got very curios about this one. I didn’t know how healthy this is until i read this blog (thank’s to you!) I want to have some of this and will probably try it with lemon and salt.

  8. says

    Beautiful pics! But OK, I must ask: Do you think dragon fruit really has much flavor? I’ve only tried it once. And while I love the exotic look of the fruit, I have to admit I was disappointed by the taste.

  9. says

    The fact that I can find dragonfruit any time of year, and in practically every market, is one reason I’m happy to have moved from Indiana to Thailand! If you want a really pretty (and delicious) fruit salad, try putting diced dragon fruit & mango with some quartered strawberries. Beautiful!

  10. says

    I totally agree with your assessment. Dragon Fruit doesn’t have much of a taste but being Asia my family loves eating. My Father in law even has a plant in his back yard. The cactus doesn’t have any thorns and grows unwieldy if left unattended.

  11. says

    That is a cool looking fruit. I used to play restaurant city in facebook and wonder if that was actually real. Thanks for the info.

  12. says

    I just saw for the first time my first Dragon Fruit here in Denver at an Asian market. $15 for one. I kind of wish I had bought one, but I had no idea what to do with it. I appreciate your post.

  13. says

    Thanks for posting this! I read this days ago and meant to comment and am just getting around to it now. Dragon fruit is gorgeous–I’ve only seen photos of it but am sure I could find it in Chinatown here in SF. It’s really one of the prettiest fruits I have ever seen.

  14. says

    Gorgeous photos! They really range. It’s hard to find flavorful ones in the US, but in Asia, they can be quite sweet. Sometimes, you can get a good one here if you’re really lucky, but they are so expensive.

  15. Rachel says

    Wow. I live in Costa Rica, and I’ve eaten more fruits here that I had no idea that existed! Wow! Living in America, you have to go out and about very far to find these types of fruits. :)

  16. says

    Hello I started a company that exports pitaya from Nicaragua. The earliest origins of pitaya can be traced back to Central America. That is where the best pitaya in the world comes from. I work directly with the farmers and help them with their organic certifications. We helped 50 producers get USDA certified organic this year. 

    We sell dried pitaya snack packs, and juice and most Whole Foods markets from San Diego to Boston. 

    Check us out @d97ee450f84214d981f11ee4d8955186 

     www.PitayaPlus.com 

    Get Healthy with Pitaya!

  17. says

    Hello I started a company that exports pitaya from Nicaragua. The earliest origins of pitaya can be traced back to Central America. That is where the best pitaya in the world comes from. I work directly with the farmers and help them with their organic certifications. We helped 50 producers get USDA certified organic this year. 

    We sell dried pitaya snack packs, and juice and most Whole Foods markets from San Diego to Boston. 

    Check us out  

     www.PitayaPlus.com 

    Get Healthy with Pitaya!

  18. says

    Hello I started a company that exports pitaya from Nicaragua. The earliest origins of pitaya can be traced back to Central America. That is where the best pitaya in the world comes from. I work directly with the farmers and help them with their organic certifications. We helped 50 producers get USDA certified organic this year. 

    We sell dried pitaya snack packs, and juice and most Whole Foods markets from San Diego to Boston. 

    Check us out  

     www.PitayaPlus.com 

    Get Healthy with Pitaya!

    Check out our Social Mission @ http://www.vimeo.com/pitayaplus

  19. says

    Hello I started a company that exports pitaya from Nicaragua. The earliest origins of pitaya can be traced back to Central America. That is where the best pitaya in the world comes from. I work directly with the farmers and help them with their organic certifications. We helped 50 producers get USDA certified organic this year. 

    We sell dried pitaya snack packs, and juice and most Whole Foods markets from San Diego to Boston. 

    Check us out  

     www.PitayaPlus.com 

    Get Healthy with Pitaya!

    Check out our Social Mission @ http://www.vimeo.com/pitayaplus

  20. Holly says

    if it was not flavorful, then you did not get a ripe one.  They should have an even color all over with few blotches.  A ripe Dragon Fruit is sweet and lovely… unless it is under ripe.  Also, certain regions are better then others.  I have been read that the ones from the Phillipines tend to be smaller and less flavorful.  Try a Mexican or Cambodian version. 

  21. Agnes says

    Hi, I only paid $1.88 this week at No Frills in Scarborough, ON (that’s a subburb of Toronto, Canada). Although I have paid $2.50 for it in the past. I like to peel off the rough skin on the outside with a knife so I can eat the bright fuscia coloured flesh as well with the soft speckled centre. I like the way you cubed it. It looks just like dice in a cup! What a beautiful presentation. I’ll have to try that.

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