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The pink fruit contains lots of water and is low in calories
Dragon fruit is a visual feast, making it a popular choice for buffet decoration. Its taste is more on the subtle side, but it is a refreshing addition to any fruit salad nevertheless.
Due to the interesting texture of its surface the pitahaya is also known as dragon fruit. Its pink or yellow peel is smooth with a few scale-like growths and hides the gel-like fruit pulp, which is dotted with small seeds. The 10 to 15 cm large oval fruit is the berry of a type of cactus. The pink skinned and white fleshed pitahaya is the most widely available variety, but there are also other types with pink skin and red flesh or yellow skin and white flesh - the latter type, however, is very rare.
36 kcal per 100g
7g carbohydrate, 0.5g fibre, 0.4g fat, 1g protein per 100g
|available year-round from different countries|
|Store at room temperature or in the fridge|
|Shelf life||4-5 days, 14 days in the fridge|
The dragon fruit is originally from Central America – predominantly Colombia and Nicaragua. Nowadays they are also cultivated in Southeast Asia and Israel. Small numbers are exported to Europe all year round. From July to December pitahaya is mainly imported from Central America, while the Chinese and Vietnamese dragon fruit makes it to the European market from January to July. Dragon fruit from Thailand is imported year round.
The easiest way to enjoy the flesh of the dragon fruit is to halve and spoon out the flesh. Depending on what you want to use the dragon fruit for, you may need to peel it by cutting off both ends, making a small slit in the peel and then pulling it off. This should be easy to do if the fruit is ripe. The fruit pulp can then be cut up as desired.
The flavour of dragon fruit is similar to kiwi, pineapple, mango and banana, depending on the type and degree of ripeness. If the fruit is not yet ripe the taste is slightly watery, but its taste is never very strong. No wonder, as the dragon fruit mainly consists of water. In a smoothie or fruit salad it provides variety and is a nice refreshment during the summer months.
The sensitive nature of the dragon fruit means it must be treated with care during transport and storage, as it dents easily. Ideally it should be stored standing upright. At room temperature, dragon fruit ripens more quickly, which may or may not be desired. If you want to store dragon fruit for longer periods of time, the fridge is the better option. Dry air can damage the fruit’s beautiful appearance, so if you intend to use it as decoration you should dampen it occasionally to prevent the skin from shriveling.
The dragon fruit is very low in calories, as it is made up of 90% water. Aside from also being low in carbohydrates, fat and protein, pitahaya supplies vitamins B, C and E, along with minerals like iron, calcium and phosphorous. The black seeds in the flesh can and should be eaten as they regulate digestion, but can have a laxative effect if too much is consumed.
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