While “dragonfruit” may be a more dramatic-sounding version of this fruit’s name, it’s also known as a pitaya. This beautifully vibrant-hued and spiky-looking plant is actually the fruit of a cactus plant, and leathery and leafy skin hides a delicate white flesh speckled with small, black, edible seeds. While the most common colour for the outside of a dragonfruit is a bright pink, it can also come in yellow or red – and the inside can also sometimes be red rather than white, depending on the variety. This fruit is full of health benefits: It’s low in cholesterol and calories but high in antioxidants, vitamins, and minerals, while also being packed with fibre. It’s said to help everything from heart health to acne and sunburnt skin, to even helping improve hair condition and suppressing arthritis – it’s no wonder that it’s been described as a super-fruit and superfood.
How do you use it?
While this fruit is delicious when eaten on its own, it’s also great when incorporated into smoothies and parfaits, salads, and mocktails. Dragonfruit can also lend a unique flavour to cookies, cakes, and other baked goods, while making a delicious accompaniment to certain savoury dishes such as seared scallops, shrimp salad, or tacos, for instance. Why not get creative and use it in a crepe, or turn it into ice cream or jam? One of the most fast-growing uses for dragon fruit, however, is in pitaya bowls, wherein much like an acai bowl, this smoothie bowl offers a variety of tastes, textures, and colours, with multiple health benefits in one convenient option that can be eaten for breakfast, a snack, or even dessert.
Apparently, the flower or plant that dragon fruit grows from lives a short-lived existence – it only survives for a night, before wilting the very next day. It also only tends to bloom at night, but thankfully, this tiny window is still enough for it to pollinate in and bear this delicious fruit, which is now sold all over the world - including at Spinneys stores. In some parts of Asia, it's also called “fire dragon fruit” thanks to its intense natural hue.