Have you encountered a bright pink fruit with strange and wonderful “dragon scales” on the outside skin when visiting any of the Sunshine Markets on the island? The Dragon or Pitaya fruit is among the most nutritious and beautiful exotic fruits. Dragon fruit tastes wonderful! It’s sweet and crunchy, with a flavor similar to a kiwi and pear combination. It features a mouth watering light sweet taste, an intense shape and color and the flower is striking and very fragrant. In addition to being tasty and refreshing, this beautiful fruit boasts a lot of water and other vital minerals with varied nutritional ingredients.
The fruit originates from the dragon fruit cactus plant, which usually appears like vines. Unlike day pollination done by bees, this nutritious and tasty fruit blooms at night where pollination is performed by nocturnal living things such as bats and moths. Surprisingly, it blooms only a few times annually and lasts usually one night, blossoming with huge and aromatic buds. The large white fragrant flowers of the typical cactus flower shape are among those called “moonflower” or “Queen of the Night”. The flowers give out a very beautiful scent, and the smell can fill the night air wherever the plant grows. Pollination happens at this time to allow the fruit to emerge.
The dragon fruit is best eaten by cutting the fruit in half and scooping the flesh out. Dragon fruits are delicious chilled and can be served in fruit juices, fruit salads or made into jam. You can slice the dragon fruit, blend dragon fruit in a smoothie, eat dragon fruit with lemon or lime, and add dragon fruit to a fresh fruit salad. They can also be juiced and added to alcohol to make a very delicious tropical drink!
Dried or fresh dragon fruit can be a very healthy food. A dry dragon fruit has about 10 times the punch of a fresh one, with an amazing chewy feel. In Taiwan for instance, the dragon fruit is used by diabetics as a substitute food for rice and to enhance the fiber content of their diet. People who have high blood pressure, diabetes and obesity have attested to the fruit’s goodness.
It’s strange, it’s beautiful, it’s colorful and it’s healthy! Next time you are shopping at the Sunshine Market or Sueoka’s in Old Koloa Town, pick one up, take to your Parrish Kauai Vacation Rental and give it a try! It’s an experience to savor!