Pitaya 101! How to Cut and Eat Dragon Fruit
Pitaya! Dragon Fruit! Whatever you call it, this tropical fruit can be mysterious. Let’s take a look at how to cut dragon fruit, and how to eat dragon fruit. We’ll also go over dragon taste, fruit varieties, and nutrition and benefits.
What is Pitaya Fruit?
Dragon fruit has a soft dragon-like spikes on the outside, and soft, juicy fruit with seeds on the inside. It grows on a climbing cactus called hylocereus, that grows in tropical climates.
Indigenous to Central America, pitaya has been enjoyed for hundreds of years. It’s now available all over the world, and easier than ever to find, as it is sold fresh, frozen, and even in powdered form. It’s referred to by several names including strawberry pear, dragon fruit, and pitaya.
What Does Dragon Fruit Taste Like?
Dragon fruit has a very mild flavor that has been described as a tropical pear. It has a soft, sweet, yet crunchy (because of the seeds) interior, which is reminiscent of kiwi. Different varieties of dragon fruit taste different. My favorite is yellow dragon fruit, which I find to be sweeter and more flavorful.
Types of Dragon Fruit
There are several varieties of dragon fruit, and you may not know what’s inside until you cut one open. Let’s look at the most common varieties.
Red Dragon Fruit
Dragon fruit (pitaya) with red skin can have either red, pink, or white flesh. However, it doesn’t have much flavor. It’s great for adding to tropical smoothies that have flavorful ingredients like pineapple and mango. The white flesh variety is the most common and the least sweet.
Pink Dragon Fruit
Dragon fruit with pink skin (pictured at the top of this article) and light purple flesh is sometimes labeled as “American Beauty” in stores. It also has a mildly sweet flavor similar to the red pitaya.
Yellow Dragon Fruit
Yellow dragon fruit has yellow skin with a white interior with slightly larger black seeds. It’s sweeter than the red varieties, but harder to find. I find the yellow fruit to be the tastiest.
How to Eat Dragon Fruit
You can eat dragon fruit plain, like any other fruit. However, it has a very mild flavor, and I personally prefer it with a little lime juice squeezed over.
- Learn how to make a Pitaya Bowl.
- Try a Dragon Fruit Smoothie.
- Add to fruit salads.
- Use on a Tropical Fruit Platter.
How to Cut Dragon Fruit
Step 1: Cut in Half
Wash and dry your dragon fruit and cut it in half lengthwise. It may have tough bits at the bottom that need to be removed first.
Step 2: Peel the Dragon Fruit
Turn the fruit cut-side-down and peel the skin off. Alternatively, use a spoon to scoop the flesh out.
Step 3: Cut
Cut the peeled dragon fruit into slices or cubes.
Dragon Fruit Benefits
Pitaya fruit is a good source of energy. It’s low calorie, fat free, and provides important nutrients, vitamins, and minerals. Some studies also suggest it may support gut health.
- Fiber. This high fiber fruit has 5 grams of fiber in a 5 oz. serving, which is 18% of the DV (daily value).
- Magnesium. 42 mg. in a 6 oz. serving, which is 10% of the DV.
- Vitamin C. 9 mg. in a 6 oz. serving, which is 10% of the DV.
- Potassium. 290 mg. in a 6 oz. serving, which is 6% of the DV.
- Iron. 1 mg. in a 6 oz. serving, which is 6% of the DV.
- 1 dragon fruit
- Wash your dragon fruit.
- Cut in half lengthwise.
- Place cut-side-down and peel off the skin. Alternatively, you can use a large spoon to scoop the flesh out of the skin.
- Cut into slices with a knife. Keep as slices, or cut into cubes.
- Store cut dragon fruit in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 2 days, or freeze cubes for up to 3 months.
To make dragon fruit balls, cut the dragon fruit in half lengthwise, but don't remove the skin. Use a melon baller to make balls of fruit and use in a tropical fruit salad, cocktails, or place back into the dragon fruit skin.
How to Eat Dragon Fruit
Enjoy dragon fruit flesh straight from the skin, or add to salads, fruit salads, smoothies, pitaya bowls, juices, and cocktails/mocktails.
Nutrition Information:Yield: 2 Serving Size: 1/2 fruit
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 31Total Fat: 0gSaturated Fat: 0gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 0gCholesterol: 0mgSodium: 3mgCarbohydrates: 7gFiber: 2gSugar: 5gProtein: 1g
Nutrition information is automatically calculated by Nutritionix. I am not a nutritionist and cannot guarantee accuracy. If your health depends on nutrition information, please calculate again with your favorite calculator.