Seasonal Chef: Dragonfruit

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We’re still in that in-between stage of Spring. With the crazy weather we’re having in April it leaves us waiting on the special ingredients like fiddleheads and ramps. So in the meantime I decided to take another look at fruit, and in particular the quite beautiful dragonfruit. Dragonfruit, also known as pitahaya, is a member of the cactus family. I will say upfront they are not inexpensive, but a large fruit goes a long way. It’s not only filling, but quite delicious. They are low in calories, with no cholesterol, saturated fat and trans fat; and have numerous nutrients, including Vitamin C, phosphorus, calcium. The seeds, of which there are many, contain omega-3 and omega-6 fatty acids. Dragonfruits are also high in fiber.

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Dragonfruits are common in Asia and in Central and South America. They come in 3 colors: 2 have pink skin, but with different colored flesh (one white, the other red), while another type is yellow with white flesh.

Choose a ripe dragon fruit with bright, even-colored skin. If the fruit has a lot of blotches, it may be over-ripe (a few is normal). Another sign of over-ripe dragon fruit is a very dry, brittle brown stem, or brown on the tips of the “leaves”. Hold the dragon fruit in your palm and try pressing the skin with your thumb or fingers – it should give a little (like a ripe kiwi), but shouldn’t be too soft or mushy. If it’s very firm, it will need to ripen for a few days.

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They are easily peeled: simply slice in half and run a spoon around the inside edge and separate the flesh from the skin. It should be noted that the skin is not edible.

Dragon fruit is a wonderful addition to fruit salads and platters. It has a flavor that’s a cross between kiwi and pear.

One of the easiest ways to enjoy this fruit is with oatmeal in the morning. There are plenty of recipes on line for preparing an overnight oatmeal breakfast, but here is my basic recipe: Overnight Oatmeal with Fruit and Granola.

Whether at breakfast, a snack or a pick-me-up after the gym, give this gorgeous fruit a try the next time you spot it at the market.

Buon Appetito.

One year ago: Chicken Salad with Tarragon, Chives and Blackberry
Two years ago: Soft Shell Crab Sandwich with an Easy Radish Slaw

 

Overnight Oatmeal with Fruit and Granola

Prep Time: 10 minutes

Cook Time: 5 minutes

Total Time: 15 minutes

Yield: Serves 2

Ingredients

  • 1/2 cup almond milk
  • 1/2 cup vanilla Greek yogurt
  • 1 teaspoon chia seeds
  • 1/4 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1/2 cup regular oatmeal, not instant
  • 1/2 cup desired fresh or frozen fruit
  • Honey, to taste
  • 2 tablespoons (or more) granola

Instructions

  1. In a small bowl combine the milk, yogurt, chia seeds and cinnamon. Whisk until smooth. Add the oats and combine well. Cover and place in the 'fridge overnight.
  2. Prep your fruit: pre-cut dragonfruit, mango or kiwi. Rinse and pat dry your favorite berries. Place in a small bowl in the fridge.
  3. The next morning taste the oatmeal mix and add honey to taste. In two glass or plastic containers layer the oatmeal mix with your prepared fruit(s) and top with granola.

Notes

Cook time does not include overnight in the 'fridge.

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About Author

Seasonal Chef blogger Maria Reina comes to the world of food as a third career, spending a great portion of her adult life in the field of Human Resources. With her private company Bella Cucina Maria she is a personal chef, caterer and recreational cooking class teacher in Westchester. She's an avid food television watcher and cookbook collector, always looking for a new take on a traditional dish. In her free time she loves hanging out at local farmer's markets, chatting it up with the farmers and doing cooking demos with their seasonal ingredients. In addition to her blog, which is loaded with easy recipes, you can follow her on Facebook (Bella Cucina Maria), Twitter (Bellacucinam), Instagram (Bellacucinam) and Pinterest (Bellacucinam).

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