Seen them on social media but not really sure what to do with dragon fruit? We've got you. (And can pretend you knew our advice all along.)

By Betty Gold
Updated May 01, 2019

The dragon fruit, also known as pitaya, pitahaya, and strawberry pear, is one of the prettiest types of produce. Their bright pink skins with shades of green and white interiors covered with black seed polka dot are a stunning gift to the world of #wellness (and Instagram-ready food photography).

Better yet, they taste amazing. Dragon fruits are a tropical fruit native to southern Mexico and Central America—though they look exotic, many compare their fresh, sweet flavor to pears and kiwis. They’re mega healthy, too. Dragon fruits contain a decent amount of iron, magnesium, and heart-healthy fiber.

How to eat a dragon fruit

Dragon fruits make for a delicious base for smoothie bowls: just freeze the flesh in chunks and toss into a blender with some banana chunks and coconut water. You can also eat dragon fruit on top of Greek yogurt with macadamia nuts or toasted almonds, or serve it alongside mahi-mahi (it pairs perfectly with fish). Any dish you might eat with mango, pineapple, or another tropical fruit is fair game.

Now that you know how to enjoy dragon fruit, let's look at how to shop for, prepare, and store it...

How to pick a dragon fruit

You can find dragon fruits year-round, but their peak season is summertime through early fall. To pick one that’s perfectly ripe and sweet, look for bright, evenly-colored pink skin. It’s okay if there are a few blemishes on the exterior, but dragon fruits with lots of funky-colored marks on their flesh may be overripe. The skin should be a bit soft and tender when you press it with your thumb, but not mushy. If it still feels firm, allow it to ripen a couple more days.

How to cut a dragon fruit

They may look intimidating (the ‘dragon’ comes from the leafy “scales” on their exterior), but we promise this fruit is super easy to eat. Lay it down on a cutting board and slice it down the middle with a sharp knife length-wise. To remove the inedible skin from the sweet insides, run a small spoon around the interior circumference of each side’s skin to separate them. Alternatively, you can use your knife to peel it, but this prevents you from saving the pretty and intact “bowl” of pink peel for serving. Once the skin’s removed, you can dice your dragon fruit or use a melon baller to make sweet little spheres of it. And if both of these options sound like too much hassle, no problem—you can eat the flesh right out of the skin using a spoon.

How to store a dragon fruit

As with other fruits, you can keep these out at room temperature for several days so long as they’re uncut. Once cut, you should eat your dragon fruit immediately or store it in the fridge for a day or so until it begins to brown. If you’d like to slow the ripening of an uncut dragon fruit, place it in a plastic bag and store it in the fridge. They’re prone to absorbing flavors and odors from other foods, so the baggie will help prevent this.