Red Dragon fruits grow on long, thin, vining cactuses that grow up with trees, fences, or walls. Red Dragon fruits look almost identical to the white-fleshed variety on the outside. The brightly colored oblong fruits are about 10 centimeters long and can weigh up to a pound. They have pink to magenta-colored skin that appears succulent, fleshy scales overlapping, leaving small, green-tipped protrusions along its length. The skin is thin, with an average thickness of only 3 millimeters, so the high flesh to rind ratio. The bright magenta flesh of the Red Dragon fruit is the result of a compound called betacyanin, which is the same pigment present in beets and prickly pear fruit. The pulp has the texture of kiwi fruit, with tiny, black edible seeds throughout. Red Dragon fruit is sweet, though not as sweet as the white-fleshed variety, and has mild acidity.
Red Dragon fruit is often eaten raw scooped directly from the rind with a spoon. Many prefer to refrigerate the fruits before eating to chill the pulp within. Slice the fruit lengthwise or in half to expose the seeded flesh. The pulp can be added to smoothies or to make sorbet and other desserts. Remove the flesh with a melon-baller and add to green or fruit salads for a topical addition. Red Dragon fruit will stain the skin and clothing; use care when preparing.
Store Red Dragon fruit in a plastic bag in the refrigerator for three weeks. The fruit can be frozen for up to a year when sealed in a plastic bag. Red Dragon fruit can also be dried to preserve.
Dragon Fruit Banana Smoothie
1 1/2 cups almond milk
1 ripe banana, broken into chunks
1 dragon fruit
1/2 cup of strawberries
2 tablespoons chia seeds