Dragon Fruit – If you never eat dragon fruit before, you need to know that this fruit has some other names, including strawberry pear and pitaya. This is a tropical fruit that looks so beautiful and has a crunchy and sweet taste. Initially from Latin America and Southeast Asia, this fruit now grows around the world.
The red skin and the scales in light green color make some people think about an intimidating dragon. But it is not hard to prepare this fruit and enjoy it every day. You can use strawberry pear in salads, create tasty desserts and drinks, and even take them as your healthy snack.
Assorted Varieties of Dragon Fruit
One of the pitaya genera, Hylocereus, comes in 3 different species. Another genus, called Selenicereus, only has one species. Every species of pitaya features some hybrids. However, categorizing pitaya by the flesh and skin color is the easiest way to do it.
Hylocereus Undatus or the pink-skinned strawberry pear with white flesh
This one is the most common species you can find out there. Among the other pitaya species, this one is the least sweet one. Dragon fruit has many cute names. Try to shop for this fruit. You will find beautiful words on this species, such as David Bowie, Cosmic Charlie, Alice, Thomson, Vietnamese Jaina, Seoul Kitchen, and many more.
Hylocereus Polyrhizus or the pink-skinned pitaya with pink or red flesh for the health of your blood
This pitaya has a sweeter taste than the first one. This one also has a bigger size than the first one above. Like the previous species, this variety of pitaya also comes with beautiful names, including Voodoo Child, Zamorano, Red Jaina, and even Look for Bloody Mary.
Hylocereus Guatemalensis or the bright pink-skinned dragon fruit with purple flesh
This variety of pitaya came from South and Central America. However, you can find this type of dragon fruit growing in Florida. In the market, this pitaya is known as American Beauty. Have you ever tried this one?
The last variety here is the sweetest and smallest variety. It comes with yellow skin outside but white flesh inside. This variety grows mainly in South America. This variety is not produced in huge numbers, so you can’t find this variety easily.
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The Nutrition Values of the Famous Strawberry Pear for Great Health
All fruits basically contain great nutrients that are useful for our body. But it is better to know what this fruit can give for you and your beloved body. Pitaya comes with some nutrients in small amounts. You can get fiber, magnesium, and iron from this fruit.
Besides, a hundred grams or 3.5 ounces of pitaya will give you these nutrients:
- 1.2 grams of protein
- 60 calories
- 0 grams of fat
- 13 grams of carbs
- 3 grams of fiber
- 3% of vitamin C
- 4% of iron
- 10% of magnesium
With the high amount of magnesium and fiber, along with the calorie content that is low enough, this dragon fruit will be the best ingredient for your diet. Add this fruit to your menu and enjoy the nutrients along with the lovely taste.
Pitaya also brings some different types of antioxidants. Antioxidants are unique compounds that will protect the cells in your body from any unstable molecules called free radicals. Free radicals are always linked to aging and chronic diseases. Here are the antioxidants in pitaya:
- Flavonoids increase the health of your heart
This extensive and diverse antioxidant group is always linked to a healthier brain. This antioxidant will also help reduce the risk of heart disease.
This compound group has been tested in animal studies and test tubes. The result shows that there is an anticancer activity in this compound group.
Only found in the dragon fruit with red flesh. This antioxidant has pigments in deep red color that will protect from LDL cholesterol to not be damaged or oxidized.
Those nutrients in pitaya will help you get a healthier body as long as you take the fruit with some other healthy veggies and fruits.
The Best Ways to Enjoy Pitaya
There are many ways to eat a strawberry pear. First of all, simply spoon the flesh out of the skin and eat this fruit as your healthy snack. Or you can use this fruit as the main ingredient of many recipes. This fruit will pair perfectly with tuna, mahi-mahi, and codfish.
You can also create fruit salad with this dragon fruit, pineapple, mango, or papaya. The sweet taste of this fruit will be perfect for making frozen desserts and delicious drinks. Try the recipe below and enjoy the nutrients in a more fun way.
Prepare these ingredients first to help you make the best pitaya frozen sorbet:
- 4 ripe dragon fruits, the ones with purple flesh.
- If you use pitayas that are not ripe yet, you need to prepare ¾ cup of cold water.
- 2 tablespoons of lemon juice.
- 4 tablespoons of sugar, but you can always skip this last ingredient.
Now here are the steps that will lead you to the best-frozen sorbet for summer:
- Peel your strawberry pear and place the fleshes inside a blender or food processor. Pour in the cold water if the fruits are not ripe yet. Bring in the lemon juice and, of course, the sugar if you choose to use it. Puree everything in the blender until smooth.
- Pour your puree into your ice cream maker. Churn it until frozen. Or you can pour the puree into your shallow pan. It only needs at least 2 hours to freeze. Take out the pitaya sorbet and wait for 10 minutes for your sorbet to soften; then, you can serve this tasty and healthy sorbet.
If you decide to purchase the ripe dragon fruit, it will only sit on your kitchen counter for a couple of days. Place your fruit inside a sealed bag made of plastic, then place the plastic in your fridge; it will help you store the fruit longer.
Keep in mind that pitaya will pick up the odors and flavors of the other food. Ensure you wrap the fruit well so that the taste and aroma won’t change during the storing days. Consume them as soon as possible.