What To Look For When Purchasing Dragon Fruit

Stunning as it is, a neon pink dragon fruit can be intimidating to buy if you're unfamiliar with the produce. Rather than succumb to the fear of the unknown, give boring bananas and standard citrus a pass and reach for dragon fruit instead. Pay attention to a few simple clues when shopping for the tropical fruit, and you'll be picking fresh dragon fruit like a pro in no time.

Also known as pitahaya, dragon fruit tends to be round with flared, magenta skin that hides a pearly white flesh that's speckled with black seeds. However, Livestrong notes that some varieties might have red or yellow skin, while others boast crimson or purple-tinted flesh. Regardless of its appearance, dragon fruit often has a subtly sweet, yet tart flavor that's reminiscent of both pears and kiwis. As for how to reach the fresh and juicy interior of dragon fruit, Better Homes & Gardens suggests slicing the fruit in half and then scooping out the flesh with a spoon or melon baller. 

A delicious snack on its own, dragon fruit can also be a fabulous addition to fruit salads and even tropical cocktails. For the tastiest results, starting with quality produce is a must, which is why you should always look for a few things when purchasing dragon fruit.

Keep an eye out for bright and blemish-free fruit

Contrary to what you might think, tropical fruit is indeed seasonal. While dragon fruit might be available in the supermarket year-round thanks to being grown in relatively warm and stable climates elsewhere in the world, AgMRC shares that peak season for the produce is during the late summer all the way through to fall — although some varieties like the yellow-skinned dragon fruit are actually best during winter months. But, even if it's off-season, there are some tips to pick the sweetest fruit.

Aesthetics play the biggest role by far when shopping for the pink-hued produce. Aside from displaying a vibrant magenta hue and crisp green tips, Unpeeled states that the exterior of the dragon fruit should also be totally void of wrinkles and blemishes. Instead, dragon fruits should be shiny and smooth. Additionally, McCormick shares that ripe dragon fruit should also feel firm with some slight give when squeezed, much like an avocado. If the fruit is too squishy, then pass.

Armed with the freshest fruit, the next challenge is properly storing the tasty treat. According to Edible Arrangements, a whole dragon fruit can last up to two weeks when kept in the fridge, whereas pre-cut pieces will last mere days. Likewise, freezing is another option that can vastly elongate the fruit's shelf life. Plus, chunks of frozen dragon fruit are perfect for crafting an aesthetically pleasing (and nutritious) smoothie bowl, making this mode of storage a win-win.