Sep 10, 2012

The Exotic Dragon Fruit

The Exotic Dragon Fruit
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Sliced dragon fruit with little black seeds and sweet white flesh
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The exotic dragon fruit is grown here in Hawaii as well as Mexico, Central and South America, Israel, and Southeast Asia. This avocado-sized oval fruit actually grows on a climbing cactus with beautiful flowers that bloom only at night. The fruit from this cactus may be red, peach-colored or yellow. The spongy flesh is white or sometimes pinkish red. The flavor of the Dragon fruit is as exotic as it's appearance, mildly sweet and crunchy because of the little seeds, much like a cross between a kiwi fruit and a pear. To prepare dragon fruit for eating, cut it in half lengthwise, to expose the flesh, then you run a tablespoon around the circumference of the sections to separate the flesh from the skin, much like an avocado. The flesh is diced and eaten by itself or mixed with other fruits in a tropical fruit salad (pomegranate seeds go very nicely with it, and make a beautiful presentation). The skin is discarded because it is inedible, or it can be used as a serving cup for the fruit, see recipe below. The flesh of the fruit can also be converted into juice or wine, used to flavor beverages, or you can combine it with sugar and freeze into sorbets and sherbets. The flowers can be eaten or steeped as tea. Dragon fruit is low in calories and offers numerous nutrients, including Vitamin C, phosphorus, calcium, plus fiber and antioxidants. So now you know all about the exotic dragon fruit.

Dragon fruit salad with lime and honey
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Dragon Fruit Salad with Lime and Honey
1 dragon fruit, chilled

watercress leaves
2 tablespoons honey
pomegranate seeds for garnish (optional)
2 teaspoons freshly-squeezed lime juice

Cut dragon fruit in half, lengthwise. Gently scoop out the white center fruit. Cut the white fruit in chunks. Reserve the red dragon fruit peel as a serving bowl. Add fruit in medium bowl, and drizzle with honey, then gently toss together. To serve, use the fruit peel as the bowl, add watercress leaves around the edge of peel bowl, then dragon fruit cubes. Squeeze fresh lime juice over the top, and serve. Makes 2 servings.

White Dragon
1 ripe dragon fruit
1/3 cup vodka
1 tablespoon freshly-squeezed lime juice
2 to 3 tablespoons white sugar, to taste
2-3 ice cubes
1/4 cup coconut milk
garnishes: dragon fruit wedge

Prepare your dragon fruit by scooping out all of the flesh - see How to Prepare Dragon Fruit for Eating.
Place dragon fruit flesh in blender or food processor. Add all other ingredients and blitz 20 to 30 seconds on high speed. Taste-test for desired strength and sweetness, adding more vodka if not strong enough, or more sugar if you'd prefer it sweeter (note that the sweetness will also depend on the ripeness of your dragon fruit - the riper, the sweeter it will taste). If too sweet for your taste, add another squeeze of lime juice. If too strong for your liking, add more coconut milk. Pour out into martini glasses and garnish with a slice of dragon fruit. Makes 4 drinks.

Green Dragon
2 tablespoons fresh dragon fruit flesh
12-15 mint leaves
2 ounces white rum or vodka
1 tablespoon fresh lime juice
3 ounces tonic or soda water
a splash of cranberry juice, just enough to give this drink a nice pink color

In the bottom of a glass, muddle the dragon fruit flesh, mint leaves, and lime juice until well combined and fragrant. Add the vodka to the glass and stir to combine. Add ice to the glass and top with tonic or soda water. Add a splash of cranberry juice for color, and garnish with a lime wedge and extra mint leaves. Makes 1 drink.

Orange Dragon
1 dragon fruit
1/4 cup fresh orange juice
1 tablespoon honey
6 ounces light rum

Cut dragon fruit in half and scoop out the flesh. Add all ingredients to a blender and blend until smooth.   Fill a shaker and 4 glasses with ice. Use a 1.5 ounce shot glass to measure 1 part rum and 3 parts of the dragon fruit puree per cocktail. Shake well and pour over ice. Makes 4 drinks.

Dragon Fruit & Coconut Ice Cream
2 cups dragon fruit (about 4 dragon fruit)
1 cup sugar
1 cup coconut milk
1 1/2 cups cream
1 tablespoon fresh lime juice

Combine everything in a food processor and blend. Pour into an electric ice cream maker and process for about 30 minutes. Put into plastic containers and freeze for at least 3 hours. Makes 2 pints.

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