Exotic and decidedly strange to look at, the dragon fruit has become ubiquitous in Asia for all the right reasons
The dragon fruit, whether the kind that has white flesh or red, is well-known in South East Asia for its sweet and slightly nutty taste (due to its seeds). Some say it tastes a little like the kiwi fruit. Whether chilled, cubed or fresh off the vine, this refreshing fruit is bound to add colour to any salad or dessert.
#1: Fruits of the genus Hylocereus are known as ‘sweet pitayas’. There are three types and each type has with a leathery skin:
Hylocereus undatus – Red skinned with white flesh. This is the most common type of dragon fruit.
Hylocereus costaricensis – Red skinned fruit with red flesh.
Hylocereus megalanthus – Yellow skinned with white flesh.
#2: Cacti of the genus Hylocereus that produce dragon fruit are originally from Mexico.
#3: The dragon fruit is also known as buah naga in Malaysia, sror kaa neak (Khmer for dragon scale), kaeo mangkon (Thai for dragon crystal), thanh long (Thai for green dragon) and huǒ lóng guǒ (Chinese for fire dragon fruit).
#4: The dragon fruit plant has large, white fragrant flowers that bloom at night and rely on night pollinators like bats and moths. The flowers usually wilt by morning.
#5: Seeds of the dragon fruit that are eaten together with the flesh are rich in fatty acids such as linoleic acid and oleic acid.
#6: The dragon fruit is relatively easy to plant especially in the tropics. Breaking it off at the stem and planting it in soil will allow it to take root. Since it’s a cactus, remember not to overwater it. When it grows larger, the plant will start to climb and when it reaches its mature weight (about 4.5 kilogrammes), it will start to flower.
#7: For a delicious, easy-to-make smoothie, try this…
Easy Breezy Tropical Smoothie
1 Frozen dragon fruit
1 cup Frozen mango
1 cup Frozen pineapple
½ cup Milk or milk replacement of choice
Combine ingredients in a blender and blend until smooth. Enjoy!