Slaying the fearsome dragon fruit

Great bowls of fire!

There’s a strange new animal stalking the aisles of the produce section of our grocery store these days. It’s beautiful and a little dangerous looking… with long, scales tipped in green overlying a glossy, red, leathery skin. It’s almost as if it’s breathing flames at you… or getting ready to stab you with poison darts!

Oh No! It’s Dragon Fruit… Hide!

Of course it’s not an animal at all.  It’s a delicious but sinisterly attractive food called the Dragon Fruit. I say ‘sinister’ because you do have to be a little careful. First of all, look them over closely in the store. Choose one with green tips (not brown and withered). And eat it only once the flesh gives slightly when pressed. You don’t want one that is too mushy or too firm. Like most fruits (and porridge), it tastes best when it is ‘just right.’

Let it soak for a few minutes in fresh water, like you would any fruit. After all, it came to you from a long distance. You never know how a food is treated on its journey. This is not one of those foods that has been grown just down the road, after all…   that is, unless (unlike me sitting here in chilly old Ottawa, Canada) you live in Mexico and places further south,  Indonesia, Vietnam, Thailand, the Philippines, Sri Lanka, Malaysia, Bangladesh, Hawaii, Israel, Palestine,  Australia (north), or China (south)… . What all these exotic places have in common is heat. And heat is just what  the dragon-fruit-bearing Hylocereus cactuses love.

It seems there are several species of this cactus,  with variations on the color of the skin and the fruit they bear. But the one we’ve seen popping up in Canada has red skin and a creamy fruit studded with tiny black seeds, rather like a kiwi.

Eating this fruit is a piece of cake. Just take a sharp knife and slice it lengthwise.  It cuts like butter. Then take a large spoon with a sharp edge (if you have one like that) and try to scoop out the soft flesh in one large piece.

Trim off any hint of the red skin from the flesh and throw it away. I’ve seen some references that say the skin is a good source of fiber. But I’ve seen others that say it can contain toxins! If anyone has an authoritative source on this matter, I’d love to know about it.

I like to cube the edible flesh and pile it back into the bowl made from taking the flesh out of the dragon fruit in the first place. The flesh tastes delicious.. sweet, mild, soft like a kiwi but not as tart, and gently perfumed. There is nothing unusual about it that you would have to get used to. In fact, you might want to serve it with a yogurt dip to zap it up a notch.

Of course, I wouldn’t be mentioning the dragon fruit if it wasn’t good for you. Dragon fruit is low in calories and is a good source of  vitamin C, phosphorus, calcium, plus fiber and antioxidants. It’s said to be good for lowering cholesterol and in the management of diabetes. So there. The next time you spot dragon fruit in the fresh foods section of the supermarket, don’t pass it by.  See if you can slay a couple of them! Then serve them to Firefox and any other of your friends (or your friends’ pets). They’re also good in a fruit salad. Stay tuned for a recipe another day. And so, here ends another adventure in good food, brought to you by your pal, Vinny Grette.

19 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. mkasiri
    Aug 24, 2012 @ 20:52:28

    Such a pretty little thing, but I’ve never quite known enough about it to bring one home….thanks for sharing, can’t wait to serve some up now 🙂


  2. MJ, Nonstepmom
    Apr 12, 2012 @ 14:34:33

    How have I not tried this yet? Love the blog you have going here….


  3. Curtis
    Apr 05, 2012 @ 09:59:00

    I LOVE FRUIT ! those fruit espessially look very good.I have a question for you where can you get dragon fruits? thanks


    • Vinny Grette
      Apr 05, 2012 @ 14:14:39

      Hi Curtis and LeAnn – I shop for fruit and veggies at the Fresh Fruit Company. Just have a look at any good produce store in your area. Do you have an Asian district? They often have great little grocery stores.


  4. LeAnn
    Apr 05, 2012 @ 09:57:45

    This looks really good. It reminds me of kiwi. It looks different then other fruits because its pink and green. I would so try this. Where could find this?


  5. Erica
    Apr 05, 2012 @ 09:43:44

    the dragon fruit look cool so I’ll give it a try!


  6. Marisa's Low Carb Kitchen Talk
    Mar 30, 2012 @ 18:37:57

    Hey Vinny…Thanks for commenting on my blog 🙂

    You have an awesome blog!! I’ve been meaning to try dragon fruit but never got around to it.

    Ready Set…..Go!!!!


  7. jack
    Mar 29, 2012 @ 11:34:20

    i like the lego picture because there lego!:)

    p.s i like bacon tooooo!!!!!!


  8. Hannah (BitterSweet)
    Mar 28, 2012 @ 14:56:05

    I’ve wanted to try dragon fruit for the longest time, but haven’t been able to hunt it down. I’m really regretting not sampling it when I saw it in China years ago… I was too young and unadventurous at the time to just take a taste. Sigh.


  9. elketeaches
    Mar 28, 2012 @ 04:30:49

    Yum! I must look out for those here in Australia. I love trying new foods. Have you tried the Achacha yet? They’ve just started selling Achachas here, which are grown in Bolivia. They taste a bit like limes & pears.


    • Vinny Grette
      Mar 28, 2012 @ 09:42:35

      I’ve read that they’re now growing achachas in Australia, too, which might explain why you’re seeing them there. If they turn up here in Canada, I’ll certainly give them a try and let you know.


      • Anonymous
        Apr 04, 2012 @ 16:17:55

        Hi again! We found a dragon in the local grocery store yesterday. The kids were thrilled. The ‘meat’ inside was bright, blood-red with the little black seeds; wild! I found the first taste to be a bit weird and then i got used to the flavour, it’s ok, very different. My 4 year old liked it and my 8 year old ran to spit it out. So happy we tried it. 🙂


  10. thewholebeet
    Mar 27, 2012 @ 17:19:49

    I think my boys would LOVE to eat Dragons….even if it is just a fruit!


  11. 365pinterest
    Mar 27, 2012 @ 15:25:33

    Love the title! I haven’t tried Dragon Fruit yet – will have to now 🙂


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