22 July 2012

Fresh Dragonfruit Time!

As a tropical crop, Dragonfruit are in-season pretty much all the time. At your local Asian market (like United Noodles or Uwajimaya) you'll find them with other fresh fruits & veggies - and also in the form of canned beverages. I've also come across dried dragonfruit slices, notably at Trader Joe's.

My daughter's recovering from surgery on the back of her throat & on a liquid diet for another week, so we've been making a lot of smoothies. She loves mango (your Asian grocer probably has the freshest selection, by the way) but I wanted to make her something different. United Noodles just got a delivery of dragonfruit, so I picked up a couple yesterday.

The fruit are almost the size of a softball, with an intimidating-looking scaly rind. Ripe ones have just a bit of give to them. Getting at the flesh is surprisingly easy (certainly compared to peeling a mango).

You don't want to keep the fruit too long; much like an avocado, when it's ripe you want to use it. (However, you can freeze sliced dragonfruit for later use.) Place the dragonfruit on a clean cutting board, and with a cleaver or other large knife, slice it right down the middle.
 Notice there's no pit or core in the middle - it's more like a kiwi, but the seeds are evenly distributed.
(There are "pink" and "white" varieties. The pink one here gives a brilliant color juice, so wipe up any spills quickly...)
From this point, you can scoop out the flesh with a spoon, or work off the rind (I cut around the inside to 'pop' the flesh out) and slice the fruit into chunks.

One dragonfruit will give you about a pint of sliced flesh, a surprisingly hearty amount. Store the sliced fruit in the refrigerator & use it within a couple days; you can also freeze it, which works well for making smoothies.

The taste is very subtle - the little seeds have a tiny crunch like a kiwi (and don't tend to get stuck in your teeth), and the flavor is somewhere between white grape and pear. I'd say the pink ones have a bit more flavor than the white ones, having tried both.

Of course, the smoothies made with this fruit have a kid-pleasing electric purple color!

(I have many Asian fruits described at http://weninchina.com/Food/Tropical_Fruits.html - as well as entries for a number of other Chinese favorites!)