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Tropical Asian fruit: the dragon fruit

September 7, 2010

Before I left Hawaii for Italy, my mom wanted to buy me a lot of Hawaii foods since I wouldn’t be eating it for 4 months. Apart from my favorite foods of pumpkin and yam leaf, she brought home dragon fruit.

The dragon fruit was possibly named after the fact that it looks like a dragon’s egg. In Chinese, it is called “fire dragon fruit.” When you first see a dragon fruit, the first impression that you have is that it’s spiky and you’d probably want to handle it with care. However, the flesh is actually very soft, and when ripe, feels like any typical heavy ripe fruit that yields to the touch when squeezed gently. Apparently there are different varieties, including a yellow-skinned, a red-skinned with red innards, and red-skinned with white innards. I’ve never personally seen a dragon fruit that wasn’t white inside and red outside, but apparently the other types are common around South America.

The easiest way to cut open and eat this yummy fruit is to just cut into it like tomato wedges. First cut it in half, and then into smaller wedges that you can eat in-skin, although it is advised not to eat the skin.

The dragon fruit has many great nutritional benefits as well. In 100g of the fruit weighed with the outside flesh, you will find:

– 50 calories
– 10g carbohydrates
– 1g fiber
– .5g fat
– .25g protein
– 8.8mg calcium
– .65mg iron
– 36mg phosphorus

Dragon fruit is also very high in phytoalbumin antioxidants, which is great for prevention of the formation of cancer cells.

The flesh of the fruit is mildly sweet, and has the consistency of kiwi due to the small black seeds. Like most fruits, the taste is strong the more ripe it is, and at the peak of its ripeness, I have experienced the taste to be like a toned down radish, with less bitterness and a little more sweetness.

Do try to pick this up if you see it in the market for a good price. In America, these can get pretty expensive at as much as $5.99 a pound in Hawaii, and in Chinatown, too! Though it’s definitely not my favorite fruit, it is definitely something worth trying.

Dai Dai

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