Dragon fruit is likely one of the most aesthetically pleasing fruits, with its brightly colored skin and white or pink insides. Dragon fruit has become more popular recently, as people adopt healthier eating habits. If you have dragon fruit in your garden, you may be wondering when they are in season.
Dragon fruit is typically harvested in summer and early fall. However, if you live in a suitable climate, your dragon fruit plant may bear fruit throughout the year. Dragon fruit is a cactus and therefore needs a dry, warm environment to grow well and produce fruit.
When Are Dragon Fruit In Season?
Dragon fruit, initially found in Mexico, Central America, and South America, is a summer fruit and can be harvested between the months of June and September. In America, dragon fruit is mainly cultivated in California. This area provides the right circumstances for dragon fruit to grow.
There are three main varieties of dragon fruit: Pitaya Blanca, Pitaya Roja, and Pitaya Amarilla.
- Pitaya Blanca is the most commonly seen dragon fruit. It has pink skin and is white inside, with black seeds running through the fruit.
- Pitaya Roja has pink skin and a red or pink inside with black seeds. Some say that the Pitaya Roja has the most intense flavor.
- Pitaya Amarilla has yellow skin, with white inside and black seeds. Some argue that this is the sweetest of the dragon fruit varieties.
All three of these varieties are grown in similar environments, and all of them are harvested in summer. Dragon fruit is a cactus type that needs to be produced in warm climates. They also don’t need a lot of water.
How Do You Determine If Dragon Fruit Is Ready For Harvest?
Dragon fruit does not ripen off the vine well. You must therefore wait until the fruit is ripe before you harvest it. Dragon fruit grows to be about one pound heavy and oval-shaped. You should not harvest unripe dragon fruit because they will taste sour and bitter and might cause stomach aches.
The dragon fruit should be fully colored before it can be harvested. The skin should be either pink or yellow. If the skin is green, the dragon fruit is not ready yet.
The leaves on the dragon fruit should also turn slightly brown and shrivel up before the fruit is ready to pick. If the leaves are still bright green and stiff, the fruit is not ready yet. The dragon fruit should also feel soft but not mushy if you squeeze it lightly.
Suppose you have selected the dragon fruit ready to be harvested. In that case, you can remove them from the cactus by twisting the fruit slightly and pulling. If the fruit detaches from the cactus easily, you know that the dragon fruit is ripe. However, if it is difficult to remove the fruit from the plant, it is best to wait another day or two as the fruit is not quite ready yet.
Once you have removed your dragon fruit from the plant, you can place it in a bag in the fridge to use when you are ready. Dragon fruit can last in the refrigerator for approximately two weeks. However, it is best eaten as soon as possible.
How Do You Prepare A Dragon Fruit?
Preparing a dragon fruit might seem challenging due to the “scales” on its skin and leathery texture. However, preparing a dragon fruit is actually very easy.
Before preparing your dragon fruit, you must check that it is not overripe. Overripe dragon fruit will have brown spots on the outside, much like an apple. It might also look wrinkled and feel mushy. When you cut it open, and the inside is brown, the dragon fruit is also overripe and should not be eaten.
If your dragon fruit is still ripe, you can proceed to prepare it.
- First, cut the end off your dragon fruit. Then make an incision in the skin. The skin of dragon fruit is soft and easy to cut through.
- Then Peel away the skin, exposing the soft, white inside. The inside will be in a ball, somewhat like a coconut.
- You can now cut the inside of the dragon fruit however you want. The tiny, black seeds inside the fruit are edible, tasteless, and healthy.
You can also cut the dragon fruit in half and scoop out the inside. The skin of dragon fruit is inedible. However, you could use it to serve the dragon fruit as it is beautiful. Once the dragon fruit has been cut, it is best to eat it immediately, as dragon fruit does not keep long in the fridge when cut.
You can also store the dragon fruit in the freezer. To do so, cut it up, place it on a baking tray and freeze it. Once the dragon fruit is frozen, you can transfer it to a bag and store it in the freezer. Dragon fruit can be frozen for up to three months.
The best way to eat dragon fruit is by simply cutting it up and enjoying it chilled. You can also use dragon fruit in fruit salad, smoothies, and ice cream.
What Are The Main Health Benefits Of Dragon Fruit?
Aside from having a crunchy, sweet taste, dragon fruit has many health benefits. Dragon fruit not only has few calories, but it is also fat-free, making it an excellent snack for trying to lose weight.
Dragon fruit is also high in fiber. Fiber aids in digestion. Especially the seeds of dragon fruit are excellent for your gut health and help to ease constipation.
Dragon fruit is a great source of Iron, Vitamin C, Magnesium, Carotenoids, and Lycopene. Carotenoids and Lycopene help prevent cancer. Magnesium helps prevent muscle cramps and provides better quality sleep.
What Happens If You Overeat Dragon Fruit?
Although dragon fruit is low in calories and high in health benefits, as with all things, it needs to be consumed in moderation.
Some people are allergic to dragon fruit. Dragon fruit allergies will present as a swollen tongue, hives, and vomiting. If you witness any of these symptoms after eating dragon fruit, you are most like allergic to eat and should not eat it anymore.
Most people will not show any allergies to dragon fruit. Still, overeating dragon fruit can cause your urine to change color. For example, it can become pink or red. This effect of dragon fruit is not dangerous or a cause for concern, but it does indicate that you have overeaten dragon fruit.
When eaten in moderation, dragon fruit is a powerhouse of health benefits, with the added benefits of a beautiful exterior and delicious flesh.