The Pitaya is more commonly referred to as the Dragon Fruit. It is an extremely beautiful fruit that has dazzling flowers and an intense shape and color. The dragon fruit is usually a dark red color, although some types of this fruit are pink or yellow. The skin of the dragon fruit is a thin rind. The skin is usually covered in scales, and the center of the fruit is made up of a red or white, sweet tasting pulp. This beautiful fruit grown in Southeast Asia, Mexico, Central and South America, and Israel. The plant is actually a type of cactus. Dragon fruit is low in calories and offers numerous nutrients, including Vitamin C, phosphorus, calcium, plus fiber and antioxidants.
Taste and Texture
The mild taste of pitaya flesh is often remarked upon, as it stands in stark contrast to the vibrant exterior. The taste has been described as being sweet and crunchy, with a flavor that's like a cross between kiwi and pear, with a mild sweetness.
Look for bright, even-colored skin. If the fruit has a lot of blotches, it may be over-ripe (a few is normal). Another sign of over-ripe dragon fruit is a very dry, brittle brown stem, or brown on the tips of the "leaves". Hold the dragon fruit in your palm and try pressing the skin with your thumb or fingers - it should give a little (like a ripe kiwi), but shouldn't be too soft or mushy. If it's very firm, it will need to ripen for a few days.
Health Benefits of Dragon Fruit
Healthy Cholesterol, Vitamin C, Antioxidants, Fats and Fiber
- Pitaya blanca or White-fleshed Pitaya has red-skinned fruit with white flesh. This is the most commonly seen "dragon fruit".
- Pitaya roja or Red-fleshed Pitaya, also known as Hylocereus polyrhizus) has red-skinned fruit with red flesh.
- Pitaya amarilla or Yellow Pitaya, also known as Selenicereus megalanthus) has yellow-skinned fruit with white flesh
Handling a Dragon Fruit:
Pickled Cherries, Jicama, and Daikon Radish
1 cup of fresh or thawed sour cherries – pitted
1/2 medium sized jicama – sliceda few slices of Daikon radish
1/2 cup raw apple cider vinegar
tablespoons raw agave nectar or another sweetener of choice
In a small bowl, combine the apple cider vinegar with agave. Pour over the rest of the ingredients and let it sit for thirty minutes. Drain and keep refrigerated in a covered glass container until ready to serve.
2 or more dragon fruits – sliced
1-2 avocados – sliced
1-2 persimmons – sliced (optional)
Few slices of fresh jicama and Daikon radish, pickled cherries, jicama and Daikon radish
Fresh mint leaves
1/4 cup sesame oil
1/4 cup chopped ginger
1/4 cup lemon juice
1/3 cup mirin (find it at an Asian market)
1/4 cup agave syrup
Blend all ingredients until smooth.
Arrange your layers in any order you like, alternating the ingredients and colors. Carefully pour some dressing over the salad. Optionally, serve with additional greens, like watercress, or arugula, and sunflower sprouts.