Dragon fruit is certainly one of the most interesting-looking fruits. And its spiky skin is one of the reasons why. Is the skin on dragon fruit edible?
Can you eat dragon fruit skin? Yes, you can eat dragon fruit skin so long as you wash it properly. You can use dragon fruity skin to make an Indonesian-style stir-fry or dry it and brew some tea. You can also use it to make dragon fruit jams and jellies, as well as leave it on the fruit when juicing it.
Continue reading to learn everything about dragon fruit skin, how to use it in cooking, what it tastes like, and if it’s healthy!
What Is Dragon Fruit?
Dragon fruit, also known as pitaya and strawberry pear, is a tropical fruit of different cactus species.
This fruit has become popular more for its unique appearance. The leather-like skin that has scaly spikes is the reason why people call it dragon fruit.
Dragon fruit has 3 main varieties. The most popular dragon fruit variety is the one with pink skin and white flesh. You may also come across red-skinned dragon fruit that is also red inside.
A less common dragon fruit variety is the yellow-skinned one. The flesh of yellow dragon fruit is white too.
The flavor of dragon fruit is not overpowering. People describe it as a flavor in-between kiwifruit and pear. Some people also find it to taste a bit like watermelon too!
As for the texture, the flesh of dragon fruit has a creamy mouthfeel. It has small black crunchy seeds spread throughout the fruit.
Dragon fruit seeds, just like the seeds in kiwifruit, are perfectly edible. Moreover, they are healthy. The oil in dragon fruit seeds contains multiple healthy acids, including fatty acids and linoleic acid.
Aside from looking astonishing, this peculiar fruit also has a number of health benefits. This low-calorie fruit is very nutritious.
A 100-gram serving of dragon fruit contains 3 grams of fiber and no fat. Dragon fruit is especially high in magnesium. It also contains iron and vitamin C.
Dragon fruit is also a source of a few groups of antioxidants that help protect cells from damage.
How Do You Eat It?
For us, one of the first questions that came to our mind when we first learned about this fruit is how you even eat it!
Perhaps the easiest way to eat dragon fruit is to cut it in half and dive right in with a spoon. The flesh of dragon fruit is quite soft so spooning it out shouldn’t be an issue.
Another thing you can do is to cut the fruit in half and scoop it out entirely using a large spoon.
This is the peeling technique used for avocados too. Once you have the flesh out, cut it into cubes and serve on a plate or in the empty shell of the fruit.
You can also cut the dragon fruit into wedges and remove the skin using your fingers. While the skin on dragon fruit is quite thick, it peels off easily especially if you cut the fruit into fourths.
A great way to eat dragon fruit as is or add it to your morning acai bowl, yogurt, or oatmeal! You can also use dragon fruit to make smoothies and fruit salads. This fruit is a refreshing addition to savory salads too.
Dragon fruit pairs well with grilled or seared fish, including tuna and cod. Make some dragon fruit salsa to go with fish or add it to mango or pineapple salsa for extra flavor.
If you like grilled fruits, then you should certainly give grilled dragon fruit a try too!
Can You Eat Dragon Fruit Skin?
The peels of most fruits are not only edible but also healthier than the flesh in many cases. Fruit and vegetable peels are rich in fiber and nutrients.
Is dragon fruit skin edible too? Most people would think that dragon fruit peel is not edible due to its intimidating appearance! However, dragon fruit skin is safe to eat.
To use the skin in cooking, cut out the end parts of the fruit. Make a cut across the fruit and peel the skin off. If it doesn’t peel off easily, cut the fruit in half or divide it into four parts.
If you find the very outer layer of the skin to be too tough, peel it using a vegetable peeler. Doing this will remove the spikes and the leathery outer layer of the dragon fruit skin.
Do this when the fruit is still whole. Once you remove the skin, using a vegetable peeler on it will be rather inconvenient.
Cut the dragon fruit skin into strips of your desired thickness and length.
Is Dragon Fruit Skin Poisonous?
Dragon fruit skin is not poisonous. So long as you properly wash it to get rid of any traces of pesticide, eating dragon fruit skin is not only safe but even healthy.
If your dragon fruits are too dirty, wash them using a vegetable scrub.
What Does Dragon Fruit Skin Taste Like?
Dragon fruit skin is not particularly delicious. It has a savory flavor that can be improved with the help of some spices and sugar.
As for the texture, dragon fruit peel does feel leathery when raw. When cooked, it is said to have a slightly slimy and slippery texture.
Uses Of Dragon Fruit Skin In Cooking
Dragon fruit skin is certainly more versatile than you could imagine. And while it is not the most delicious ingredient to cook with, you can certainly use it every once in a while for the sake of the many health benefits it has.
Although you never know, you may just like the flavor of this peculiar ingredient once you give it a try.
Dragon Fruit Skin Vegetable Stir Fry
Using dragon fruit skin in vegetable stir-fries is a common practice in Indonesia.
Oseng-oseng, a Javanese-Indonesian stir-fry, uses sliced dragon fruit skin alongside shallots, garlic, ginger, chili peppers, mushrooms, as well as chicken or beef (optional).
Raw sugar, palm sugar, and Indonesian bay leaves are also added to the stir-fry to make it more palatable. If done properly, you will end up with beautifully caramelized dragon fruit skin.
Dragon Fruit Skin Tea
To make dragon fruit skin tea, you will first need to cut it into small pieces and dry it in the sun. Depending on the size of the pieces, it will take the peel 1-2 days to completely dry.
Brew dragon fruit skin tea just like you would brew any other tea. Pour boiling water over the dried peel and steep it for 3-4 minutes.
You can sweeten the tea with sugar or your favorite syrup.
Dragon Fruit Skin Juice
If you have a juicer, you can try juicing a whole dragon fruit with the skin on. Doing this will boost the nutritional value of the juice and make the consistency a little thicker.
Dragon Fruit Jams and Jellies
Another great use for dragon fruit skin is to turn it into a jelly or jam. There is a high amount of pectin in dragon fruit. When you heat it with sugar, pectin thickens up and makes jellies and jams of the perfect consistency.
You can use dragon fruit skin to make guilt-free jellies too. To do this, boil it in water with some maple syrup and agar-agar.
Let the mixture simmer on low heat until the agar-agar is fully dissolved. While this happens, the fruit skin will give the liquid a lovely pink color.
Then, remove the skin pieces from the liquid, and let it cool. Then pour into an ice cube tray and place chunks of dragon fruit flesh in each cube. Let the jelly sit in the fridge for a few hours or until it solidifies.
What Are The Health Benefits Of Dragon Fruit Skin?
If dragon fruit skin is still something you think you would never eat, its health benefits may convince you to.
Dragon fruit skin is rich in antioxidants. There are anthocyanins in dragon fruit peel. These pigments are strong antioxidants that have anti-diabetic and anti-cancer properties. These antioxidants are also good for overall heart health.
Dragon fruit peel is also a good source of dietary fiber. This means it is good for improving digestion, regulating blood sugar levels, and improving cholesterol.
How To Choose Dragon Fruit
Whether you will be eating the dragon fruit skin or not, it would be helpful to learn how to choose dragon fruit.
First off, you should know that peak months for most dragon fruit varieties are June through September.
And while you can find dragon fruit in supermarkets year-round, buy it in summer or early autumn to experience the best flavor of this tropical fruit.
Secondly, always buy ripe dragon fruit. Ripe dragon fruit has a pleasing mildly sweet flavor. To check the ripeness of dragon fruit, just press it with your finger. It should be neither too soft nor too hard.
And lastly, especially for the cases when you will be using the skin too, choose dragon fruit that has an overall even color and no soft and damaged spots on the peel.
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