Dragon fruit, pitaya or pitahaya, is a tropical fruit from Central America. This fruit is known for its wild-looking exterior and vibrant colors. Learn how to cut dragon fruit and use it in your smoothies, yogurt, ice cream, and beverages.
What is Dragon Fruit?
Dragon fruit, pitaya or pitahaya, is a cactus native to Central America. There are 140 different species, but only three varieties are commonly found in stores.
It is generally considered close to a kiwi because of its seeded interior. However, it is closer to a prickly pear in family and flavor.
The flavor is very mild. However, different types can have hints of berry or sweeter.
Dragon fruit is available in three varieties.
- Pink exterior with white interior - Mild flavor
- Pink exterior with a magenta interior - sweeter flavor with a hint of berry
- Yellow exterior with white interior - Sweetest and most flavorful variety
To find the magenta interior, start with a pink exterior. Next, look at the size of the "wings." The magenta interior has small, less dramatic wings. Additional exterior characteristics include:
- WHITE INTERIOR
- Larger in size
- Enlonged cone shape
- Long leaves
- RED INTERIOR
- Smaller in size
- Small leaves
How Can I Tell if It's Ripe?
Start by feeling the dragon fruit using the same criteria as an avocado. If it is hard, it needs more time. If it is mushy, it is past its prime. It is slightly soft. It is just right! Here are additional attributes to look for.
- Ripe - The first step is to look for a bright, shiny, and even colored fruit. The fruit may have a few brown spots, but not too many. Finally, dragon fruit has distinctive "wings" on the outside. If the wings start to dry out and wither, it is ripe.
- Under Ripe - If the fruit is green, the wings are green, challenging the dragon fruit under ripened. Under-ripened fruit has no flavor. Wait a day or two for the color to change to red or yellow. Once it has changed colors and is bright and shiny, it is ripe.
- Over Ripe - If it is mushy and has a lot of brown spots, it is over-ripened and past its prime.
Dicing - The Most Popular Style
Using a cutting board and a sharp knife, lay the fruit on its side and slice down the middle.
Run a small spoon around the interior, between the skin and the fruit. Once the circle is complete, push the spoon further down to release the interior.
* if shaping into a sphere, skip steps one and two.
Some of the skin might still be attached; if so, use a small paring knife to remove it.
Lay the fruit flat side down. Make 2 -3 slices. Rotate the sliced fruit a quarter, turn and slice again to create cubes.
Dicing Picture Steps
Other Cutting Styles
Wedge - Cut off the ends and slice lengthwise. Make a second lengthwise cut to create four wedges. If desired, make another slice until you achieve the desired wedge size. Leave the skin on or peel as preferred.
Slicing - Lay the flat side down. Slice strips to the desired thickness.
Ball or Sphere - Using a melon scooper, hold flat against the fruit. Press down until the scoop is full the turn at a 180-degree angle until the scoop is facing you. This should give you a perfect sphere.
How do I Cut the Yellow Variety?
The yellow dragon fruit is much smaller than the red variety. However, you cut into it the same way.
How to Enjoy Dragon Fruit
- Starbucks Copycat Drinks
- Smoothie Bowls
- Ice Cream
- Overnight Oats
- Adult Beverages - Margaritas, Mimomsa, Mojitos or Sangria
Frequently Asked Questions
Generally, the taste is mild, somewhere between a pear and a kiwi. Different varieties can have various hints of flavor.
* The pink/white interior is mild, similar to a pear.
* The pink/pink interior has hints of berries.
* The yellow/white interior is the sweetest but overall mild.
Yes, it is whole food and good for you.
Yes, you can eat it as much as you want it.
Uncut - Keep at room temperature on your counter until it ripens. The length of time can vary depending on where it is in the ripening process.
Cut - Once cut, I recommend eating it immediately. This fruit will taste best when it is fresh. To store, place it in an airtight container in the refrigerator for one day or until it turns brown.
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