Learn how to cut dragon fruit in this simple guide. Cut this soft sweet tropical fruit into cubes, slices, and melon balls perfect for smoothies, fruit bowls and garnishes.
Dragon fruit, also called pitaya, is a vibrant tropical fruit that looks like a prehistoric movie prop with pink skin and green spikes. The sweet meat inside the skin is easy to get to and cut into cubes, slices, and melon balls. And it's quite easy to turn it into a frosty dragon fruit smoothie, or an energizing smoothie bowl.
What is Dragon Fruit?
The fruit, which is actually a cactus, grows on vines and to about the size of a baseball. It typically has a bright pink skin with green spikes and, if you are lucky, you can find it fresh in the exotic fruit area of your grocery produce. Or, more often, find it at specialty Asian markets.
The fruit originates from Central and South America. It comes in skin colors of bright pink and yellow, and the flesh can come in white or pink with black seeds. If you can't find the fresh fruit, you can usually find the pink flesh as frozen smoothie product in grocery stores.
Dragon fruit, no matter the skin or flesh color, tastes like a mild kiwi or a bland pear. To access the inner flesh, here is how to cut it up.
How to Cut
1. Wash the outside flesh.
2. Cut lengthwise in half. To access the inside flesh, either scoop it out with a large spoon or cut the halves into quarters and peel off the skin.
How to Slice, Chop or Scoop
1. Slices. Cut the peeled quarters into crescent slices.
2. Dice. Chop the white flesh into uniform dice or chunks of fruit.
3. Spheres. Scoop the flesh with a melon ball scooper, so you have white melon balls.
Ways to Use & Eat
Fruit slices can be added to yogurt or oatmeal, or used with a yogurt dip.
Melon balls can be added to a salad or served in the half shells.
Dice or chunks can also be served as is, in a salad, or frozen and blended up into a smoothie.
Dragon fruit boosts your immune system as it is high in vitamin C and full of antioxidants. It is also unusually high in iron for a fruit, and thus facilitates a boost in energy.
Like many melon-like fruits, a high percentage of it is water and thus is good at hydrating and providing the body with electrolytes. Finally, the fruit is rich in fiber and magnesium, the latter making it supportive of sleep.
Uncut, dragon fruit will remain unchanged for several days at room temperature.
Once cut, however, the fruit must be refrigerated or consumed within a day, otherwise the white flesh will turn tan and soft, and become rancid.
The cut fruit can be frozen easily however, and kept for about three months before the high-water content turns it icy.
How do you know if a dragon fruit is ripe?
A dragon fruit is ripe once it has been shipped to the grocer. However, the more ripe, the sweeter the flavor, so you could wait to cut it until the cactus spikes begin to turn brown and wither. If the skin has begun to wrinkle, it is overripe.
Can you eat dragon fruit skin?
The skin is not poisonous, but it is bitter and fibrous so not pleasant to eat. It's pretty though, so you can scoop out the flesh, chop or scoop it, and use the shell as a serving bowl.
Can I eat 1 whole dragon fruit a day?
Yes, it's low in calories and sugar, and is considered low glycemic - it doesn't spike blood sugar, so eating one a day should be fine.
Other Dragon Fruit Recipes
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How to Cut Dragon Fruit
- 1 pink dragon fruit with pink or white flesh
- yellow dragon fruit with white flesh
- Wash. Wash the outside flesh so when you insert a knife, germs from the skin are not drawn into the edible flesh.1 pink dragon fruit, yellow dragon fruit
- Cut in half. To begin cutting a dragon fruit, cut it length wise in half.
- Cut in quarters. Lay each half flat-side down on a clean surface or dish, and cut each half lengthwise into quarters.
Two Ways to Skin
- 1. Cut each dragon fruit half again so you have four quarters. Then starting at the tip of each quarter, pull down the skin and peel off and discard. The inside white speckled flesh is your fruit. You can then slice, chop or scoop the flesh.
- 2. Or, work with the flesh while it is in the dragon fruit halves. You can scoop out the flesh with a large spoon, or use a melon baller to scoop spheres, or even serve a whole halve chilled with a spoon.
How to Slice, Chop & Scoop Balls
- Option 1. Slice. To slice, cut the dragon fruit into quarters and peel off the skin. Then slice each quarter into crescents. Serve slices as is, with a dip, or use as a garnish.
- Option 2. Chop. To chop, cut the dragon fruit into quarters and peel off the skin. Then chop the quarter into chunks or dice or cubes of flesh. Serve chunks as is, use as a garnish, or freeze away for smoothies.
- Option 3. Scoop balls. To scoop, cut the dragon fruit into halves, and scoop out balls or spheres using a melon baller. You can also scoop out balls or spheres off of quarter cuts but you'll have more odd shaped flesh left over. Use the balls to make a salad, garnish yogurt, freeze for smoothies or a snack.
How to Serve
- Option 1. Make a smoothie. Freeze the meat and blend with other fruits. Here is my dragon fruit smoothie recipe and my pitaya bowl recipe.
- Option 2. Make a fruit salad. Toss dragon fruit balls, spheres or dice in with other fruits such as cantaloupe, honeydew, citrus slices and more. Serve with yogurt.
- Option 3. Freeze dragon fruit snacks. Blend up the fruit into protein snacks. Here is my dragon fruit snack recipe. And keep them in the freezer for protein boosts.
- Option 4. Make dragon fruit ice cream. It makes the best ice cream. Here is my recipe for dragon fruit ice cream.