Four easy-to-make recipes to perk up dragon fruit
By Morgan Hannah, Life & Style Editor
I’ve always wondered just what exactly was going through the mind of the first person to come across a dragon fruit and decide they were going to eat it. Did they just find this prickly, pink and green baseball of a fruit, rip it open to expose its zebra-coloured flesh, and say, “Yeah, I’m going to eat that,” or was it a more cautious approach?
These fantastical-looking exotic cactus fruits originate from Central and South America and nowadays are largely grown in Southeast Asia, according to Serious Eats. My introduction to dragon fruit, also known as pitaya or the strawberry pear, was a less-than-stellar experience, but not because it didn’t taste good—rather, it didn’t taste like anything. This bizarre, white and black, kiwi-textured fruit was flavourless.
Since then, I’ve now learned that I may have had a not-yet-ripe first contact, as ripe dragon fruit has a bright pink or yellow exterior, brown soft spikes, and a fresh scent much like tropical fruits. When giving the cactus fruit a squeeze, it should be soft but not squishy and have no mushy spots on the skin.
Even ripe however, the dragon fruit just has no distinct flavour on its own, disappointing my palate but not my eyes. I’m presenting four easy-to-make recipes to perk up dragon fruit, because this is something you never thought you needed until now:
1 cup dragon fruit, cubed (approximately 1 large or 2 small)
1 green onion, chopped
5 stems cilantro, chopped
1 teaspoon lemon or lime juice
Bet you’d never think up this savoury recipe for fruit. I sure didn’t, but after finding and trying this simple salsa recipe with some corn chips, I caught myself thinking about adding it to soft shell pork tacos. Talk about yum!
Dragon fruit and goji berry smoothie
unsweetened almond milk
If you like odd-looking, exotic fruits filled with antioxidants and vitamin C, then try this sweet, beautifully dark pink smoothie. I just eyeballed the ingredients and threw them all into a blender. Five minutes, five ingredients. Make sure to start off with less milk than you think you’d need—you can always add more later.
Dragon fruit jam
½ dragon fruit flesh, scooped
2 teaspoons sugar
1 teaspoon lemon juice
Jam is such an easy, versatile condiment. I love to cook with it, make almond butter and jam sandwiches, and add it to a simple plate of cheese, meat, and crackers. Why not try this vibrant, magenta dragon fruit jam! Using a thick-bottomed non-stick pan, combine the dragon fruit pulp and sugar. Cook on medium heat and simmer until the pulp has a thick, jam-like consistency. Stir occasionally for about 20 to 25 minutes. Once it has begun to thicken, add lemon juice and stir well for about a minute. Remove the jam from the heat and allow it to cool in a jar.
Dark chocolate dragon fruit coconut bars
2 cups unsweetened shredded coconut
1/2 cup dragon fruit cubes
2 tablespoons maple syrup
1/2 teaspoon sea salt
2 to 3 ounces dark chocolate (70 to 72 percent), chopped
Like a Bounty bar, but with dragon fruit and maple syrup, this sweet and easily assembled snack is so good! Using a food processor, blend together the coconut, dragon fruit, maple syrup, and salt, then roll the dough into small balls or bars and cover with plastic on a parchment-lined baking sheet. Put into the fridge for several hours. In a double boiler over low heat, melt the chopped chocolate. Using a fork, lower the refrigerated balls/bars into the melted chocolate, completely covering them in chocolate, then place them back onto the baking sheet to cool.
If none of these dragon fruit pick-me-ups is your thing, try grilling the fruit alongside some pineapple by throwing a dash of chili powder on ’em and sticking ’em on a skewer! Or you know, just don’t eat a fruit you obviously don’t like after having tried it four other ways.