Dragon Fruit 6 Things to Know

Dragon fruit, also known as pitaya or the strawberry pear, is a beautiful tropical fruit that is sweet and crunchy. The plant the fruit comes from is actually a type of cactus of the genus Hylocereus, which includes only about 20 different species. Originally mainly popular in Southeast Asia and Latin America, dragon fruit is now grown and enjoyed all over the world. Though it may look intimidating with its pinkish-red skin and light green scales, preparing this exotic fruit is easy. You can enjoy eating it in fruit salads, it can be used to create tasty drinks and desserts, and it is a wonderful, healthy snack on its own.

Amarilla. This is the name of a dragon fruit variety with a yellow peel, also called “yellow pitaya” (its botanical name is Selenicereus megalanthus). The flesh is white with lots of edible black seeds, this being a characteristic common to all types of dragon fruit.

Blanca. Another term used to indicate the white-fleshed variety (botanical name: Hylocereus undatus) which, in this case, has a pinkish-red peel: this is the most common variety of all to be found on world markets.

Ching He Huang. The famous author and presenter of the BBC programme Chinese Food Made Easy has presented dragon fruit (together with lychees) in this exotic reinterpretation of the Pavlova dessert.

Dragon Blood Punch and co. The juice of this fruit is also used to aromatize and colour many non-alcoholic beverages, as well as cocktails such Dragon’s Blood Punc and Pitahaya Margaritas.

Etymology. The scientific name of the Hylocereus genus derives from the Greek word “hyle” (indicating woody material) and from the Latin “cereus” (meaning wax-like, referring to the look of the peel). On the other hand, the Latin adjective “undatus” (identifying the more common white-fleshed variety) refers to the undulated appearance of the ripe fruit.