Spotlight on Dragon Fruit
Exotic, colourful and mouthwateringly fresh – these are just a few ways to describe the delicious dragon fruit. In this post, we shine a spotlight on dragon fruit and how to enjoy it most this Spring and Summer.
Discovering Dragon Fruit
- Dragon fruit, named for its vibrant, spiky skin, is sometimes known as pitaya.
- Originally found in Central America, there are also several varieties grown in Southeast Asia and Australia.
- Some dragon fruits have red or yellow skin and white or red flesh, with an abundance of small, black, edible seeds. The flavour is mildly sweet, sort of a cross between kiwi and pear.
- Do you know why dragon fruit is so precious? It only lives one night! First, it’s base plant climbing cactus produces a beautiful pink or yellow flower, sometimes known as “moonflower” or “queen of the night”, the plant blooms from evening to midnight, only to wither in strong sunlight. During the night, the flowers are pollinated by moths and bats, and even though the flower dies, the cactus bears fruit about six times every year.
The Healthy Dragon
- Contents – Rich in antioxidants, they contain vitamin C, polyunsaturated (good) fatty acids, and several B vitamins for carbohydrate metabolism, as well as carotene and protein. Calcium is present for strong bones and teeth, iron and phosphorous for healthy blood and tissues.
- Satisfy your sweet tooth – Dragon fruit is extremely low in cholesterol, which ultimately helps the body break down this fruit quickly, keeping you happy and healthy. It’s the perfect fruit to maintain your weight and satisfy your sweet tooth.
- Resilient Heart – eating dragon fruit helps decrease bad cholesterol levels and replenish good levels. It’s also an excellent source of monounsaturated fats, helping the heart stay in great condition.
- Fibre Filling – Experts suggest to clean up your digestive system, eat a dragon fruit. They have a high fibre content, which can assist with poor digestion and constipation.
- Soothe Sunburns – by combining dragon fruit with cucumber juice and honey, you can create a compound much like aloe that can soothe burned skin. Being abundant in vitamin B3 dragon fruit can moisturise the skin and release heat from the affected areas.
- Cancer Prevention – carotene is found in abundance in dragon fruit and has been linked to a number of anti-carcinogenic qualities, as well as reducing the size of tumours.
Selection and storage tips
- Examine the outer skin of the dragon fruit. To select a prime dragon fruit, avoid the pretty pink and green ones, instead go for the scraggly one with a dry, leathery-looking peel. A dragon fruit is supposed to have a sweet flavour, but only the ugly ones will be truly ripe.
- Touch the stem of the dragon fruit. A brittle stem means an overripe fruit, so look for a stem with slight pliancy.
- Press your finger into the skin of the dragon fruit. A perfectly ripe fruit will give slightly to the pressure, much like a ripe avocado or mango. If your fingers press into the fruit too easily or the fruit is too hard, choose another dragon fruit.
- Avoid overly hard fruits as well as dragon fruit with soft dark spots, leakage or odour.
- Place your purchased dragon fruit on your counter at room temperature to ripen it for use. The fruit is ripe when the pink or yellow colour of the exterior darkens, after which you can transfer the fruit into your refrigerator for up to five days.