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Dragon Fruit - Facts and Health Benefits
When I came across this fruit, I just knew that I had to know more about it. It sounds fascinating and exciting even before I know much about it. It is also known as the Pitaya or Pitahaya fruit. Evidently I am not alone in my curiosity to know more about the fruit. Its an exotic fruit, (as you may have imagined) and is growing in popularity.
Legend has it, that the fruit came into being thousands of years ago some dragon's that were breathing fire. During battles and after much heavy breathing of fire, last to come out were dragon fruits.
It is nutritious and wonderful and has a very light but sweet taste. The color and shape are very interesting, described as "intense in shape and color", and that the flowers are "outstanding". If you are like me, you want to know more. It is nutritious as well and has many vital minerals. When you see the color of the red inside a dragon fruit that is ripe, you may be as amazed as I am.
Health benefits of dragon fruit
It is said to be good for one's liver, and has a lot of fiber, and can help with weight loss even, if you eat it regularly. It has been of help to obese people, with their weight. People that have suffered from diabetes or borderline diabetes, benefit from this fruit as well. The antioxidant properties of the dragon fruit are impressive. Here is a list of some of the other things dragon fruit contains: Carotene, fiber, protein, calcium, vitamin B1, B2, and B3, vitamin C and phosphorus.
From the Hycocereus family, and is widespread, and its flesh or pulp is red. There is also a white flesh variety that comes with either Yellow skin, or Red skin. It comes from a cactus, that appears more like vines. The dragon fruit flower blooms at night. The pollination of its fruit is done nocturnally by moths and bats, which is interesting. It's a really neat looking plant/tree.
As an ingredient
Dragon fruit makes its own great dessert in the raw form, or you can juice it and have it as a juice. The possibilities only broaden from there. People then use it in cocktails, and other beverages, and its good with and in ice cream. Its juices are used for making wines and flavorings as well. You can store Dragon fruit in your refrigerator up to five days. The taste is somewhat like a cross between a kiwi and a pear. Some say, it has more of a strawberry or melon taste. When I first saw it, I was thinking it looked kind of like kiwi. Dragon fruit would be a nice addition to any fruit salad or fruit and cheese tray, etc.
I found some interesting recipes that have dragon fruit in them. Search these out if you have further interest in cooking them yourself. They sound wonderful! Try dragon fruit pizza, exotic fruit chutney , dragon fruit salsa, dragon fruit dips, and pastries, dragon shrimp salad, sorbet and cake. Some have used flower buds, before they open, and cook at eat as a vegetable.
When choosing your dragon fruit, avoid dragon fruit with a lot of blotching on it, or spots. It is likely overripe, but a few blotches are alright. When in your hand, you want the fruit to give a little, and not be too mushy or hard. If it is very hard, let it ripen some more before using.
Brief history of dragon fruit
We know that dragon fruit is a native of Central America, and can be dated back to the 13th century thanks to literature left from the Aztecs. It is widely grown in Vietnam and known there as thang loy. Some say that the French introduced it to that region. It is also found in Malaysia in the Sitiawan, Kuala Pilah and Johor areas. Commercially, Dragon fruit is grown in Nicaragua and Colombia. Basically, the pitaya cactus does well in warm, tropical climates.