It’s hard to get any scrolling done these days without coming across a beautifully arranged smoothie bowl featuring a pink fruit with black and white insides. It’s called a dragon fruit, and although it looks like something out of a cartoon it’s actually edible, delicious and good for you. #Winning
Dragon fruit, also known as Pitaya, gets its name from its pink scale-like outer peel and is the product of a climbing cactus. Originally these pretty pink guys came from Mexico and Central America, but South Africa actually has an ideal climate for growing them too. The most commonly found dragon fruit has a pink peel with white flesh, but you can also get variations with pink flesh (potentially less popular as they don’t look as chic in your #foodporn post, but we’re just speculating).
If you’re wondering how the hell these mysterious fruits taste they are subtly sweet, have a texture similar to a kiwi, and the pips (those are what those black spots are) are slightly crunchy and nutty.
The dragon fruit is versatile and can be thrown into a number of meals, as well as enjoyed just straight out of the peel (cut it in half and scoop out the flesh with a spoon). The subtle flavour and texture of it makes it ideal for throwing into a smoothie, but you can also use it in desserts (think sorbet), pair it with seafood (try combining it with prawn) or used in a fresh summer salad instead of watermelon.
Okay, so they look cute, but do they have any actual health benefits?
Well, firstly, they contain only about 250kJ per fruit which is great for a sweet snack (most chocolates will have around 830). It’s also low in cholesterol, which makes your heart happy, will supply you with some always-needed fibre, and contains antioxidants that will keep your skin looking youthful and firm. Their high fibre content is also great for diabetics, as it helps to normalise blood-sugar levels and doesn’t result in sugar-spikes. If you’re not a fan of pips we recommend you change your tune because these contain omega-3 and omega-6 fatty acids which your heart will thank you for later.