Pitaya, better known as dragon fruit, is probably the most unique-looking edible fruit on the planet. The fruit itself has a bright pink outer skin with a kiwi-like inside. The taste is vaguely similar to kiwi, though it is more like a crossover between a kiwi and a pear. Pitaya is actually a cactus fruit, and the cactus stem gives it plenty of moisture and a very specific succulent taste.
Apart from the exotic look and taste, dragon fruit is also packed with immune-boosting nutrients like manganese, minerals, and vitamins. However, you might be wondering—how do you eat it?
Well, you shouldn’t be intimidated by the unusual look of this plant because it is surprisingly simple to eat. But before you actually eat one, you should know how to pick up the best dragon fruit.
Selecting the Best Dragon Fruit
Chances are that a well-stocked supermarket in your neighborhood will offer dragon fruit all year round. To get the best pitayas, you should aim for the period when the fruit is in season. Peak dragon fruit season begins in the summer and lasts until early autumn.
Generally, you should go for a pitaya that has a uniform bright pink color. It is OK to get a fruit with some blemishes. However, if there are a bunch of blotches on the skin, it indicates that the fruit is too ripe. You should also squeeze the fruit a little to make sure that it is neither too soft nor too firm.
It is also worth mentioning that dragon fruit is native to both Asia and Central America and that there are some small differences between these two fruits. Namely, the Asian pitaya is not as sweet as the Central American. Also, the kiwi-like flesh is red in the Central American fruit.
How to Eat Dragon Fruit Raw
Similar to most other exotic fruits, pitaya is best when eaten raw, though it can also be a great addition to smoothies, fruit salads, and even fruit kebabs. First, you should know how to properly extract the succulent flesh in order to avoid the bitter dragon fruit skin.
You need to do the following:
- Put your dragon fruit on a clean flat surface or a cutting board and cut it into two halves. It is quite easy to cut the fruit, but you should make sure to get a sharp knife for an even cut. Hold the fruit with your other hand so it doesn’t budge.
- After you cut it, you need to remove the skin from the fruit. If you’ve ever skinned an avocado, removing the pitaya skin should be plain sailing. Use a tablespoon to carefully get the flesh out and go around each dragon fruit half until you completely remove the flesh.
- Once you get the flesh out, you should check if there is any skin left on it. Peel or cut the leftover skin because it is not suitable for eating. Now you can cut the dragon fruit flesh any way you want and enjoy the specific taste of this exotic plant.
Some Extra Tips
If you have a melon baller, you can scoop out the pitaya flesh to create bite-sized balls. There is no reason not to eat the dragon fruit straight from the skin in a similar way you would eat an avocado. Just avoid digging in too deep because the skin might add some unpleasant bitterness.
There is also a way to filet the flesh out of the dragon fruit. Cut it into halves and then quarters and run your knife from to bottom between the skin and flesh.
Other Ways to Eat Dragon Fruit
At this point, you should have a perfect understanding of how to eat dragon fruit raw. However, there are some other ways to consume this healthy exotic treat.
Blending the dragon fruit into a mouth-watering smoothie might be the most common, but did you know that you can also grill it?
Here is how to eat dragon fruit on a kebab or as part of a smoothie.
Chili Powder Dragon Fruit Kebab
This recipe provides you with a taste few other kebabs can match. The sweet dragon fruit complements the pineapple, and both fruits are well-rounded with a chili powder seasoning on top.
- 1 dragon fruit
- 1 pineapple
- Some extra virgin olive oil
- 1 tsp of chili powder
- A light pinch of salt
- Remove the skin from the pineapple and dragon fruit, then cut them into bite-sized cubes. Once you’ve finished cutting, put the cubes into a bowl and add the chili powder and salt. Toss the bowl a few times so you get an even seasoning all around.
- After you’ve seasoned the cubes, thread them onto a skewer. Each skewer should have an equal amount of pineapple and dragon fruit. Make sure to leave enough space at the bottom of the skewer so you can turn them on the grill.
- Put the fruit kebabs on a grill and turn until each side becomes light brown. You should brush the kebabs with the olive oil every so often so they do not stick to the grill. In about 10 minutes, your dragon fruit kebabs will be ready for serving.
Simple Dragon Fruit Smoothie
Dragon fruit mixes really well with most fruits and other vegan ingredients. This recipe gives you an idea of how to prepare a healthy and tasty smoothie quickly and easily.
- 1 dragon fruit
- 1 banana
- A cup of blueberries
- A cup of soy milk
- Sweeteners to taste
- Cut the dragon fruit and the banana into chunks, put them in a blender together with the blueberries, and add a spoonful of your favorite sweetener.
- Pour a cup of soy milk and blend the fruits until you get the desired smoothness. You can add some extra soy milk to thin the smoothie.
- Once you are happy with the thickness, pour the dragon fruit into glasses and enjoy.
These tips on how to eat dragon fruit are simple and very easy to follow. This special fruit works really well with a bunch of other fruits, nuts, and veggie ingredients, so you shouldn’t hesitate to experiment. And if you want the ultimate exotic vegan taste, you should give the chili powder dragon fruit kebabs a try.