This member of the cactus family is native to Central and South America. The dragon fruit is shaped like a hand grenade and has a skin that ranges in color from yellow to shocking pink, depending on the variety. The tips of the pliable, downward-curving spines that cover the fruit are lime green. Pink dragon fruit have pink flesh, whereas that of the yellow variety is off-white in color. The flesh of both is juicy, if somewhat grainy, with myriad tiny edible seeds and a flavor reminiscent of kiwis and grapes. Dragon fruit (also called pitaya) are available from August to December in specialty produce markets, some gourmet stores and Latin markets (the latter also carry the fruit in cans and jars). Choose a fruit without blemishes that gives slightly to palm pressure. Refrigerate ripe dragon fruit in a plastic bag for up to 5 days. Halve, then cut away skin with a paring knife and use the fruit in desserts or salads. Dragon fruit may also simply be cut in half and the flesh scooped out with a spoon.
From The Food Lover's Companion, Fourth edition by Sharon Tyler Herbst and Ron Herbst. Copyright © 2007, 2001, 1995, 1990 by Barron's Educational Series, Inc.
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