Dragon fruit (also known as pitaya) is a delicious fruit that originates in Mexico, Central, and South America. It comes in a variety of colors, including hot pink on the outside and bright white on the inside, pink on the outside and inside, and white on the outside and inside. All varieties have small black seeds that dot the inside flesh, similar to kiwis. Dragon fruit tastes like a cross between a kiwi and a pear. In fact, its texture is very similar to a kiwi. It grows on a cactus that only blooms once in the dark.
Dragon fruit contains high levels of antioxidants, including flavonoids, phenolic acid, and betacyanin. These antioxidants help protect your cells from damage by free radicals which can lead to disease, cancer, and premature aging. Additionally, pitaya may lower blood sugar because it repairs damaged cells in your pancreas that produce insulin. You can eat dragon fruit all on its own, toss it in a smoothie, or place it on top of a yogurt bowl. Read on to learn how to cut a dragon fruit.
How to Tell if a Dragon Fruit is Ripe
First, you want to make sure your dragon fruit is ripe enough to enjoy. Underripe dragon fruit is virtually tasteless, so you want to ensure it has had enough time to ripen before you cut into it. To do this, give the fruit a little squeeze. Dragon fruit should not be rock hard. Instead, it should give a little bit, similar to a ripe avocado. If it feels mushy, it is overripe. You also want to look for fruit that is heavy for its size because that will be the juiciest fruit.
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How to Cut a Dragon Fruit
Dragon fruit is covered in prickly leaves, but it’s easier to cut through than you might imagine. The skin is thin and smooth, similar to a mango. Beneath the skin, you’ll find a soft pliable peel that easily separates from the fruit. Here’s how to cut it:
- First, rinse off the dragon fruit to ensure it’s cleaned off thoroughly.
- Place the dragon fruit on a cutting board. Use a sharp knife to cut the fruit in half lengthwise. You can stop right here if you choose and eat the pulp straight out of the skin with a spoon.
- Alternatively, you can remove the fruit from the skin. To do this, you have two options. You can use a large spoon to scoop out the flesh, similar to an avocado.
- Or, cut the fruit in half again lengthwise and use your fingers to peel the skin away from the fruit on each of the quarters.
- Once you’ve removed the skin using either method, you can cut the fruit into smaller pieces. To cut into slices, take one half of the fruit and make slices every quarter inch.
- Or, cut it into cubes. Begin with slices and then turn the fruit 90 degrees and cut in the opposite direction.
How to Store Dragon Fruit After It is Cut
Dragon fruit lasts a week to two weeks in your refrigerator or on your counter. Storing it in the refrigerator slows down the ripening process, while placing it on your countertop will allow it to continue to ripen. Once you cut into it, dragon fruit does not have a long shelf life. If you don’t plan to eat all of your dragon fruit in one sitting, store it in an airtight container and place it in the refrigerator. It will only stay fresh for a few days, so be sure to use it up quickly.
Alternatively, you can freeze cubes of dragon fruit to blend up in smoothies later. To do this, freeze dragon fruit cubes in a single layer on a baking sheet and freeze until just frozen. Place the cubes into a zip-top bag and store them in the freezer for up to six months.
Dragon fruit looks intimidating to bring home from the store, but it’s easier to cut than you may imagine. In fact, it’s similar to an avocado without the pit to contend with. It’s also well worth the work. Dragon fruit is not only delicious, but it’s also packed with healthy vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants. This unique fruit can be enjoyed on fruit trays, smoothies, or just on its own!