The mind of a foodie is a strange place to be. You literally get EXCITED by food! You naturally get deliriously happy when you make or eat something fabulous! And I had both feelings when I encountered the Dragon Fruit. I have never had such a visceral response to a piece of fruit until I saw the Dragon Fruit for the first time. My heart raced a little bit faster, my eyes probably dilated, my breath caught in my throat, and all I heard on a quiet exhale that I think came from me was, “Oh, my God. What is that?” Yes, it was love at first sight!
The Dragon Fruit also known as Pitaya is the fruit of a cactus that grows wild on St. Croix. One of my favorite people on the island is my friend John Canegata. He shared a beautiful white Dragon Fruit with me recently. He and his daughter had to brave a hill and slay a few stinging nettles to get this Dragon (Fruit) but it was SO worth it! Then another favorite person Mary Roebuck shared a red one with me a few weeks later from her garden.
These fruits looked like nothing I have ever seen before. A radiant pink succulent skin, with lime green scales patch-working its way across the oval shaped fruit. You HAVE to pick it up on sight. It is so unusual…almost otherworldy, extraterrestrial looking. It just doesn’t make sense.
Then you open it, and the flames of your curiosity are fanned to a fever pitch. The inside is speckled with an infinite number of tiny black seeds almost like the Kiwi. When I cut into it, it yielded easily to the knife and separated. Almost as if saying, “Hey, I’m really good. Check me out!” And the same with scooping out the strange watermelon-like flesh. It has a natural curve, so you don’t have to fight to get the fruit out. Yep, it really wants to be tasted.
And the question becomes, “What does it taste like.” You would think for all its flamboyant appearance and outrageous bright colors that it would be shocking taste-wise, but it actually isn’t. It is incredibly mild in flavor. Like a cross between a kiwi (just because of the seeds) and a super-mild almost tasteless watermelon. The red variety was a bit more flavorful, but only by about a millimeter. I made a Dragon Fruit Wine Spritzer with it that I will share soon.
If you ever get a chance to try the Dragon Fruit, say yes!! Edible fuchsia? When was the last time you saw anything in nature with lime green and fuchsia as their chosen color combinations? It is just an experience you have to have! If not, come down to the island and try some for yourself! They are in bountiful season. Enjoy!