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Dying to try dragon fruit? Here’s more info on this exotic fruit

This month we’re profiling exotic fruits you can find all over Miami and how to eat them.

We’ve told you about the soursop and the papaya, and now we’re profiling the pitaya—more commonly known as the dragon fruit.

Despite a spiky exterior that matches its intimidating name, this fruit is actually pretty delicious and can be enjoyed a number of ways (just don’t eat the skin, it’s not very tasty).

Like the other fruits we’ve mentioned, it contains a healthy hit of vitamin C and can be found in tropical climates. Here are some more fun facts about the pitaya.

What’s up with the name? The fruit originates from Mexico and parts of Latin America, where it was called “pitaya.” Then it eventually made its way to Asian countries where we think (even the USDA is unsure) it was renamed “dragon fruit” because of its fireball-like appearance.

Where does it grow? The fruit grows from a long, vine-covered cactus plant that also looks kinda like a dragon. (Sadly no dragons are involved.) And these plants are actually pretty easy to grow in South Florida. Here are some tips from a local Miami writer, from Fairchild Botanical Garden, on how to grow one in your own backyard.

Where can I buy some? Like many other exotic fruits, you can find the pitaya at fruit stands across the 305 and also at South Dade favorite Robert is Here.

So how should I eat this thing? When you cut it open, you’ll see that it looks and tastes a lot like a kiwi, with small black seeds and a white fleshy core. You can scoop it out and eat it, cut it into slices or into cubes and add it to a fruit salad.

If you’re really feeling adventurous, you can even sprinkle on some red chilli flakes and grill it or add it to a fruit kebab with some pineapple slices. You could also mix up a dragon fruit smoothie or try making some dragon fruit sangria.

Got other suggestions for how to enjoy dragon fruit? Tell us your ideas in the comments here.

By Lance Dixon
Lance is the Storytelling Producer for The New Tropic