Another tasty fall fruit

                                                                        A Little Gem Of A Fruit

Dragon fruit is the best tasting fruit you never heard of. This may just be the coolest looking, and most handsomely named fruit in the  world. When I finally got my lips wrapped around one, it was heaven. The dragon fruit, also known as pitaya or pitahaya is one of the most exotic and nutritious fruits you’ll find. If your going to take the plunge with this fruit, and you don't live in Asia prepare to fork over a pretty penny for this gem. The one in this picture I paid $4.00, @ $8.00/lb.

Dragon fruit is rich in phytoalbumins which are highly valued for their antioxidant properties. Dragon fruit is also rich in fibers, vitamin C, and minerals. The dragon fruit helps the digestive process which can help to prevent colon cancer, and diabetes. When consumed regularly natural medicine practitioners believe the dragon fruit can help against asthma, and cough. Eating dragon fruits helps strengthen your immune system, and promotes faster healing of bruises, and wounds. It's also rich with potassium, protein, fiber, sodium and calcium. If you are looking for fruits that are filling, and delicious but will help keep your weight in check, dragon fruits are a perfect choice. A 100g serving of dragon fruit has only 60 calories. Dragon fruits do not have complex carbohydrates, so they can be easily broken down by the body. Dragon fruits are also packed with minerals such as calcium for stronger bones, and teeth, phosphorus for tissue formation and iron for healthy blood. Lycopene is also present in dragon fruits, and this is the pigment responsible for their red color, like tomatoes. Lycopene guards against prostate cancer among other things.

Hylocereus undatus (White-fleshed Pitahaya)  is the most cultivated species in the genus. The Dragon Fruit is used both as an ornamental cactus vine, and as a fruit crop. The native origin of the species, according to Wikipedia has never been resolved. It is widely distributed through the tropics. Like all true cacti, the genus originates in the Americas, but the precise origin of the species H. undatus is uncertain, and it may be a hybrid. Hylocereus undatus is a sprawling or vining, cactus. They climb by use of aerial roots and can reach a height 10 meters or more even growing on rocks and trees.

Dragon fruit also contains carotene which helps in maintaining, and equally improving our eyesight. This is good news for the seniors community. Dragon fruit's high protein content can boost our metabolism. This also leads to reduction in excess weight. Protein is also a vital ingredient in producing hormones, enzymes, and chemicals in the body. The small black seeds in the edible part of the dragon fruit contain a small amount of fats but are unsaturated fats. The unsaturated fats are responsible for increasing the levels of good cholesterol, and removing bad cholesterol from our bodies. Dragon fruit is also a natural appetite stimulant because it contains Vitamin B12. This is great for anyone who has just recovered from an illness, or has lost their appetite. Dragon fruit is anti-fungal and antibacterial. This can help increase the white blood cell count in the body which defends against toxins, and it also inhibits the entrance or growth of fungal, or bacterial infections in the organ systems. You will also find that it stimulates cell regeneration and speeds up healing, so wounds and bruises will heal at an increased rate.

Yellow Dragon FruitYellow Dragon Fruit Yellow dragon fruit has the title of the sweetest of all of the sweet pitaya, it is the yellow pitaya (Hylocereus megalanthus). The yellow pitaya is smaller sized as compared to each of the red-skinned varieties. Yellow dragon fruit plants develop like a trailing, vine-like cactus. The plants can easily develop into a huge size with stems as much as 20ft, and therefore need a well built trellis for them. Color is yet another method to inform the ripeness of these fruit as the skin will turn from green to yellow on ripening, even though occasionally completely ripe fruit is still somewhat tinged along with green.

Red Dragon Fruit with Red Interior
Red Dragon Fruit with Red InteriorRed dragon fruit (Hylocereus Polyrhizus) develops alongside trellis or even fence lines in mexico, central, and south America. The exterior of the fruit is really a fushia color along with elegant flowering palms around the bulb. The interior of the red dragon fruit is comparable in color to the external as well as marked along with tiny black seeds. The red dragon fruit along with red internal is usually utilized to make sorbets, jams, and syrups.

• Red Dragon Fruit with White Interior
Red Dragon Fruit with White InteriorThe red dragon fruit along with white internal (Hylocereus Undatus) develops within the American southwest as well as the south pacific and south east Asia. This dragon is smaller sized compared to the some other types. The outer skin of the red dragon fruit is actually vibrant pink along with small, spiked folds across the sides. The red dragon fruit with a white-colored interior also blossom's at night.
The types of anti-oxidants in dragon fruit stop harm to the skin as well as internal organs brought on by free-radicals, plus they also may help you defend against a variety of health conditions. A Dragon fruit also includes vitamin E which required for natural skin care. Vitamin B3 may also improve our skin's physical appearance simply by moisturizing it. Recently a chemical company has separated substances known as dormins from dragon fruit. Dormins are usually all-natural extracts from plants  that are able to decelerate cell expansion, preserve younger healthier skin. Also more, and more recently the air we breathe has become very contaminated. The dragon fruit tree performs a huge role to help make the environmental air fresh, and clean by soaking up the CO2 (carbon dioxide) and delivering oxygen O2. Store the dragon fruit within the crispier compartment of the fridge. Dragon fruit stores very best at temperature ranges in between 45 and 50 degrees Fahrenheit.  You can keep refrigerated fruit for approximately 3 months.

Look for 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. Put the dragon fruit on a cutting board or other clean surface, cut the fruit length wise straight down the middle with a sharp knife. Separate the fruit into 2 sections. Run a tablespoon around the circumference of the first section to separate the flesh from the skin. Now lift the flesh out of the skin, and place it on the cutting board. DO NOT EAT THE SKIN. (It's not poison, just don't eat it, ok)

Do the same for the other half. Turn the mound of flesh over, checking for any residual pink skin. Slice this off, the skin isn't healthy to eat. Now I toss the halves in a plastic container, and toss them in the refrigerator to chill them off. You can eat the chilled fruit right out of the frige, or save the skin, cut the fruit into cubes refill the skin, and serve as a desert, or on a main course plate, delicious! Get creative there are no limit on how you can serve this truly unique healthy fruit. If the supply is limited where you live grow your own. They are very hearty plants. Whatever you do, don't miss out on this seasonal treat. Good Luck...

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