What is dragon fruit? Its health benefits, uses and recipes

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As the world is moving towards making healthy food choices, exotic fruits and berries are gaining prominence for their enormous health benefits. over the past few years, there has been a drift towards gourmet and organic food. Dragon fruit simply fits in as it one of the most healthy as well delectable fruit of all times.
This eye-catching tropical fruit is also known as pitaya or strawberry pear. Dragon fruit is a majorly cultivated in Southeast Asia, Mexico, Central and South America and Israel. What makes the origin of this fruit even more interesting is that the plant belong to the Hylocereus genus, which is a type of cactus. In fact, this Hylocereus genus has around 20 different species. Unlike other exotic fruits, the vibrant pink colour of this fruit has carved its way to the global culinary space and made it a part of various food experiments. Enriched with the goodness of nature, dragon fruit is packed with the umpteen health benefits and can prevent from several diseases. Here’s all you need to know about this wonder fruit, its amazing health benefits, selection tips and a few interesting recipes.

Tips to choose a good dragon fruit
Making an informed choice is good for a healthy living, but narrowing down your search for that perfect fruit is yet another essential part. However, choosing a healthy fruit amidst a plethora of choices is though especially when it comes to dragon fruit. Not many people know about this fruit and its interesting uses.

Here’s how you go about zeroing down your search:
*Unlike other exotic fruits, dragon fruits are available all around the year. However, the season of this fruit starts in summer lasts upto autumn. If the coarse outer coating of this fruit has brown blotches or appears to be dry, then you must avoid it as the fruit might have been over ripen.
*Always select a firm fruit as the fresh dragon fruit has a balanced of slightly soft and firm fruit.
*The fresh tropical aroma of this fruit is one of the major ways of identifying whether the fruit is fresh, sweet and ripe.
*Always look at the stem of this fruit, if you find it too brittle then the fruit is overripe. The fresh dragon fruit will have a flexible stem.

How to store this fruit and increase its shelf life:
Dragon fruit is rich in flavours can be easily overpowered by other fruits. Hence, storing it needs utmost care. So it is important to store it in sealed or zip lock plastic bags in the refrigerator.
Once you cut this fruit, you must store it an airtight jar and refrigerate it. The enzymes of dragon fruit spread quickly once it is cut or sliced. Hence, it is often advised to cut only when you are ready to eat it as it does not last more than a day. The first sign of a rotting dragon fruit is that the outer coating turns brown and mushy in texture.

Health benefits of dragon fruit

Packed with the goodness of nutrients, dragon fruit can effectively combat various disease and boost immunity. It is a perfect fruit for weight-watchers as it a great source of Vitamin C, phosphorus and calcium. Moreover, it is low in calories, zero cholesterol and full of antioxidants, all these are essential for proper functioning of human body.

Loaded with antioxidants
This eye-grabbing fruit is loaded with the goodness of phytonutrients, which help the body to derive its maximum amount of antioxidants from this fruit. The antioxidants present in dragon fruit can fight free radicals and prevent from fatal disease like cancer.

Helps in reducing cholesterol

Dragon fruit prevents from several life threatening disease. The high amount of antioxidants and fiber present in this fruit helps in unblocking the arteries and maintains a proper blood circulation in the body.

Easy dragon fruit recipes
Over the past few years the inclusion of this fruit in a variety of culinary experiments speaks for its popularity among the food enthusiasts. Dragon fruit goes pretty well with other ingredients, known for its refreshing taste and flavours, you will find this fruit majorly in smoothies, cakes, pastries and ice creams. Here’s are a few must try easy recipes with dragon fruit.

Fruit curd recipe

Fruit Curd is a fusion recipe made using hung curd, strawberry, honey and blueberries. It is a great option to eat as a side dish along with lunch or dinner. Try out this quick, easy to make recipe.

Fresh fruit satay

Fresh Fruit Satay drizzled with a fruity sauce is an exotic Asian recipe that is not only delicious but healthy as well. This easy recipe is made with a few ingredients and doesn’t require much efforts from your side. Made with fresh fruits, this amazing delight is a perfect treat for taste buds and is quite refreshing. Go ahead and try this simple recipe with your loved ones!