With bright pink on the outside and "scales" covering it, the dragon fruit really does resembles a dragon. This tropical cactus, also known as pitaya, has a pale interior studded with tiny, edible seeds and a sweet-tart flavour. In order to choose the best tasting dragon fruit at the store, you need to know what attributes to look for, how to store it and how to serve it. Once you have tasted the exotic dragon fruit, you might want to try it some of new recipes (see Resources).
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Look in the exotic produce section for dragon fruit or fresh pitaya. Dragon fruit is typically in season during autumn and spring. Like many tropical fruits grown in the United States, it can be difficult to find it during winter and summer.
Examine the surface of the dragon fruit. Discard any with bruises, discolouration or visible mould on them. The pink colour should be even throughout the exterior of the fruit. Smell the fruit for a light, tropical odour, if any. If the fruit has a mouldy odour to it, avoid it, since there could be unseen mould on the fruit.
Pick up a dragon fruit and give the side a gentle press with your thumb. It should yield slightly, without being mushy. Avoid choosing rock solid dragon fruit, but if that is all that is available, you can ripen it at home.
Leave your dragon fruit on the counter at room temperature until the exterior turns completely yellow and gives when gently pressed. This means that the fruit is fully ripened and ready to eat. If your dragon fruit is already completely ripe from the store, skip this step and proceed to the next step for long term storage.
Transfer the ripened dragon fruit (pitaya) to the refrigerator. Keep chilled for up to 5 days.
Wash the exterior of the fruit before cutting or serving. Peel the fruit, cut into chunks to add to smoothies, fruit salads, or cut the whole fruit in half and scoop out the flesh. Both the white flesh and the tiny black seeds are edible, but the rind/skin is not.
Tips and warnings
- Do not wash dragon fruit before storing in the refrigerator. The fruit could become mouldy.
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