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Written by Ripe London on May 24, 2024

How to Peel Dragon Fruit

The strangest and most infamous tropical fruit out there, dragon fruit (also called pitahaya) is iconic for its colourful and spiky skin. Though it's nice to look at, this skin might be leaving you with a couple of questions. You might be wondering how to peel dragon fruit. Do you cut dragon fruit in half? Well, there's a lot to cover, which means Ripe London is about to slice into the world of the dragon fruit and tell you everything we can about this exotic wonder!

How to Peel Dragon Fruit

While you could theoretically peel dragon fruit skin, it won't be smooth or easy like a banana. You'll need to use a sharp knife in order to cut the dragon fruit skin and get to the white dragon fruit flesh inside. This can be done in a number of ways, all of which will allow you to enjoy the tasty fruit within.

Here's a step-by-step guide on how to cut dragon fruit:

How to Cut Dragon Fruit

There are several ways in which to get through the bright pink skin into the fresh tropical fruit inside. You can either cut dragon fruit in half lengthwise or crosswise:

  • After cutting your dragon fruit lengthwise, you can use a spoon or melon baller to remove the flesh.
  • If you cut dragon fruit in half across, you can use a large spoon or something else thin-edged to scoop and gently pull between where the flesh meets the skin. This cut-in-half-and-peel method is probably the easiest if you want large pieces of cut pitahaya.
  • You can also cut the ends of the pitahaya off and peel away the skin left until the entire ball of flesh has been revealed! You can then cut the dragon fruit into half-moons or smaller pieces.

Remember to use a sharp knife and a cutting board when you're preparing a pitaya. You might also want to wear gloves because the rounded shape of the large fruit means it might roll or jump away - so be careful when cutting into it!

Dragon fruit

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Other Questions About Ripe Dragon Fruit

How Do You Know if Dragon Fruit Is Ripe?

Because of the thick skin around them, it can be hard to know when your pitaya is ripe. Plus, because they don't ripen once they've been plucked, there can sometimes be a narrow window when you're looking for the best-tasting dragon fruit.

As a rule of thumb, a dragon fruit is ripe when it gives slightly as you squeeze it. If it gives, it's ready to eat. If it's harder, it might not be ripe. It's still completely edible, but the taste will probably be lessened compared to ripe dragon fruit!

How Does a Dragon Fruit Taste?

It can sometimes be hard to describe a new taste. When you eat dragon fruit flesh, you might recognise flavours of kiwi and pear - but some people also describe a citrusy taste, too! The juicy flesh is described as crunchy, also similar to a kiwi or a pear.

The actual flavour of dragon fruit probably varies, depending on how ripe it is, how it was grown, and how your taste buds work!

What Does Dragon Fruit Look Like?

You don't normally see them in supermarkets or grocery stores, but they'd be hard to miss if you did. Dragon fruits actually grow on cacti, and they definitely look the part. Dragon fruit is around the size of a coconut and has a similar hard outside with a soft, white flesh interior. Other than that, dragon fruits look pretty unique!

The outside skin is usually bright pink, with large green and pink 'scales' sticking out. The insides, underneath the single layer of skin, are either bright pink or white flesh. Spotted with tiny black seeds, this edible flesh is great in fruit salads or as a snack in its own right!

Red dragon fruit is another common variety, with red/purple flesh instead, and the yellow dragon fruit has bright skin like a banana!

Why Is It Called Dragon Fruit?

Weird name, right?

Dragon fruit is native to Mexico and Central America, including Guatemala, Costa Rica, and El Salvador, but is also grown in South America, Southeast Asia, and Oceania. It's actually called pitahaya, the fruit of the pitaya cactus plant. However, it's been called dragon fruit in the English-speaking world since the early 1960s because of the bright and leathery skin and 'scales', which are actually protective leaves.

You might also hear people call pitahaya the 'strawberry pear' (because it looks like a mix between a strawberry and a pear), or the 'Vietnamese dragon fruit' (because Vietnam is one of the world's biggest exporters).

Can You Eat Dragon Fruit Skin?

Dragon fruit skin is non-toxic - you can eat it, in the same way you can eat a banana peel. There might be some health benefits to eating any dragon fruit skin left over (it actually contains a fair whack of fibre and anthocyanin), but it's not really what you're thinking of when you cut into a ripe, juicy dragon fruit.

Dragon fruit skin is fried with rice in Indonesia and has been used in traditional Chinese medicine for a long time. You can even eat the flowers of the pitaya plant, which are usually used to make tea.

What Happens to Your Body When You Eat Dragon Fruit?

There's a lot of nutritional benefits to eating dragon fruit. Dragon fruit flesh is high in vitamin C and fibre. and 100g of dragon fruit only has around 60 calories. Dragon fruits also have a couple of useful antioxidants (betalains, hydroxycinnamates, flavonoids), which might help fight free radicals and lower the risk of certain cancers and heart disease.

Basically - a lot of good things can happen to your body when you eat dragon fruit!

Can Dragon Fruit be Eaten Daily?

Definitely! One cup of dragon fruit a day is great for you, giving your diet a boost of vitamin C and plenty of fibre! Bear in mind that large amounts of fibre can cause cramping, bloating, and gas - anyone who's ever had a glass too many of prune juice knows what that's like...

Is Dragon Fruit a Laxative?

You might have heard that pitahaya, especially the yellow and red dragon fruit varieties, are natural laxatives.

The high fibre content (around half the amount of fibre that prunes have) can make things run smoother, especially if you have something like irritable bowel syndrome or chronic constipation. Red flesh dragon fruit is also said to be a diuretic (makes you go wee wee) because it contains betalain - which gives beetroot its intense colour. There's not much evidence to say that betalain makes you need to pee more often, though.

That's about it: dragon fruit has no special ingredient which acts as a genuine laxative.

How Long Until Dragon Fruit Goes Bad?

Ripe dragon fruit will probably last up to two weeks in the fridge, as long as you keep it in a sealable bag or airtight container. Even a plastic bag will do to slow down the ripening process a little bit, and keep it fresh for a while longer.

As with a few fruits that you've peeled or cut in half, the white flesh will go off quicker once exposed to the air. If you want to store dragon fruit as a whole half or in cubes, you'll definitely want to seal it up in an airtight container to keep it fresh for up to two weeks.

How Many Calories in a Dragon Fruit

100g of dragon fruit has around 57 calories, making it a really healthy snacking choice!

Here's a full breakdown of 100g of dragon fruit:

  • Protein: 1.18g
  • Carbs: 12.94g
  • Fibre: 2.9g
  • Sugars: 7.65g
  • Fats: 0g
  • Cholesterol: 0g
Assorted Exotic Fruits

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The Best Dragon Fruit Smoothie/Smoothie Bowl Recipe

We get a lot of questions about smoothie recipes, so we've whipped up a delicious basic recipe for a dragon fruit and tropical fruit smoothie! You can turn this into a smoothie bowl or yoghurt bowl recipe, depending on what you're into.

Ingredients:

  • Dragon fruit (cubed)
  • Mango (cubed)
  • Pineapple (cubed)
  • Water (use milk or dairy for yoghurt bowls)
  • Optional: berries, strawberry, pear, banana, any spices or flavourings

Begin by cutting a dragonfruit in half using a sharp knife and scooping out one half with a large spoon or melon baller. Blend the dragonfruit with a variety of tropical fruits like mango, pineapple, and banana until smooth. Pour the smoothie into a glass and top with more fresh fruit slices for added texture and sweetness.

Enjoy this vibrant and nutritious treat as a satisfying smoothie bowl or yoghurt bowl to kickstart your day with a taste of the tropics!

Fresh Dragon Fruit and More: Ripe London

You came here looking to learn how to peel dragon fruit, and now you're basically an expert on these strange-looking fruits!

Whether you want something fun in your lunchtime fruit salad or you're looking to impress someone with a unique gift, Ripe London can deliver everything from juicy mangoes to succulent dragon fruits, our premium tropical fruit selection promises to invigorate your workplace.

Order one of our office fruit boxes now, for a taste of the tropics delivered straight to your door!

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