Dragon fruit, also known as pitaya or pitahaya, are native to Costa Rica and the surrounding region. Dragon fruit grows on long, vining cactus plants that cling to trees, fences or walls. Dragon fruit is available in 3 different varieties: yellow, white and red. The yellow dragon fruit is smaller in size and less common than the red and white varieties but its flavor is more intense and sweeter. Yellow dragon fruit has an oblong shape. On the outside, yellow dragon fruit has inedible thick yellow skin covered in small knobby protrusions with small spikes that are removed prior to being sold. On the inside, similar to its white counterpart, the flesh is white and studded with tiny black seeds that are edible and add a bit of crunch and texture to the fruit, similar to a kiwi. The texture is crisp and juicy, and the taste is very sweet and tropical with floral hints. Yellow dragon fruit is nutrient-dense, with magnesium, phosphorus, potassium, dietary fiber and more calcium than the red skinned varieties.
Please note, this fruit is heavy and typically each piece is 1 to 1.5 lbs.
Ripening and Storage:
Yellow dragon fruit is ripe when you press the flesh and it has a little give. Leave unripened dragon fruit on the counter for a few days and touch-test it. Once ripe, the fruit can be stored in a plastic bag in the refrigerator for up to two weeks.
Dragon fruit is typically eaten raw, either scooped straight out of the skin or cubed, balled or sliced. Slice the fruit lengthwise or in half and use a spoon to scoop out and eat the pulp and seeds. It is especially delicious when eaten cold so you may want to refrigerate your dragon fruit. You can use a spoon to separate the pulp from the skin by running a spoon along the inside edges of the skin and then scoop underneath to loosen the flesh. When the fruit is ripe is will separate easily from the skin. Once the fruit is separated from the skin you can cut it into slices or cubes.
Fresh yellow dragon fruit can be added to tropical fruit salads or eaten as-is, or even cubed and grilled on skewers. The pulp can be pureed and added to smoothies, sorbet, desserts, sauce, syrup, and baked goods. The fruit can also be dried and preserved.