This is no longer an obscure tropical fruit. I just bought several from my local super market up here in Maine! Saw some starfruit, too, which I'll talk about in an upcoming post.
The dragon fruit, also known as the pitaya or pitahaya, is the fruit of a tropical cactus and a relative of the kiwi. It is also referred to as the nanetikka fruit and the strawberry pear – which refers to its appearance – a yellow, pink or red pear-shaped fruit with a creamy white or shocking pink fleshy interior with black seeds. It is strikingly beautiful with night blooming flowers as large as a foot - the largest among the cactus family. Its flavor is described as a combination of kiwi and pear.
It is believed to have originated in Mexico where it spread to Central America and then to Europe by Spanish Explorers and to the Far East by the Dutch.
Today, dragon fruit can be found throughout Southeast Asia, as well as Israel, Australia, Hawaii, California and Florida. Look for it in your local health food store, farmer’s market or Asian market. You can also order it online and shipped fresh from Florida fruit growers.
One study has investigated the polyphenolic and flavonoid content of the dragon fruit and found properties that may inhibit the development of certain cancers.
Dragon fruit, low in fat and high in fiber, is a rich resource of vitamin C, as well as the B-complex compounds niacin, thiamin and B-12. Dragon fruit is also rich in the minerals calcium, phosphorus and iron. It is an outstanding source of fiber. It helps to control blood glucose levels in those suffering from type II diabetes, and further helps maintain insulin levels in those afflicted with type I diabetes. Dragon fruit also contains protein.
Dragon fruit contains as much carotene as a carrot, which assists in improving vision and fighting age-related degenerative diseases of the eyes.
Dragon fruit is also low in calories (about 60 per fruit) and very filling and is thus beneficial to those who are dieting. Healthy carbohydrates and nutrients that boost energy also assist in weight loss.
Further, dragon fruit is especially low in sugar and high in antioxidants that help rid the body of harmful free radicals. The high content of phytoalbumins in dragon fruit also act as antioxidants which assist in eradicating the body of heavy metals. The high calcium content of dragon fruit helps improve nerve function and strengthens bones and teeth.
Dragon Fruit Juice Recipe
- 2 Dragon Fruits
- 1 wedge fresh Lemon
- 1 Apple
- 1 Cucumber
- Prep Time: 5 minutes
- Cook Time: 0 minutes
- Total Time: 5 minutes
- Yield: 12 oz.
- Cut the dragon fruit in quarters. Peel away the outer skin as you would the rind of an orange and place the remaining wedges into your juicer. Or you can juice or smoothie the entire dragon fruit – peel and all!
- Juice the lemon peel as well as the apple and cucumber skin for extra nutrients.