Wednesday, November 7, 2007

Fun Fruits


I spend most of my time when I am grocery shopping in the produce section. It smells good and has lots of colorful items to keep me occupied for some time. In the past few weeks I kept eyeing this fruit - Dragon Fruit. Well the flesh I suppose looks like a dragons skin, but I was curious as to what the insides looked like. When I picked it up, it was hard and had no aroma to it. Hum, I wonder what I could do with this, and most of all, what does it taste like. But at a price of $5.00 for one, I put it back on the shelf, but kept my eye on it. I did this for several weeks. Yesterday, to my surprise, Chris came into the house with a sack of fruit and chocolate! He decided to make dessert for dinner and the fruits that he had in the sack were, you guessed it, DRAGON FRUIT!!! I was so excited! So immediately, out came the camera!

Dragon Fruit, a.k.a. Pitahaya, Strawberry Pear is the fruit of several cactus species. It is native to Mexico, South and Central America, but actually is cultivated around the world in all tropical regions. It is rich in fiber, vitamin C and has lots of minerals. In reading about it I found it interesting, that in Taiwan, diabetics use the fruit as a substitute for rice!



As you can see, the flesh of the Dragon Fruit is red. But what really surprised me was that the inside of the fruit was white! I guess I was thinking it would be the same color or pink. There are some that have a red core, but ours was white with lots of little tiny black seeds. OK, now for the taste test! One bite and disappointment spread over Chris' face and I am sure mine also. No flavor! (When I first saw the inside, I thought of Kiwi with those little black seeds.) A nice crunch, but nada on the taste buds. Maybe it was not ripe enough. I have no clue, but it sure looks interesting. Has anyone tried this fruit? What was your experience? Anyhow, we still served it with Chris' chocolate dessert.



What did save the day was the other fruit that Chris had in the sack - Star Fruit, Carambola! We all have had this beauty of a fruit and it saved the day! Star Fruit is originally from Sri Lanka and the Moluccas. It has also been cultivated for hundreds of years in Southeast Asia and Malaysia. Today it grows in South Florida and Hawaii due to our warm environment. It is a lovely little fruit that is an excellent source of Vitamin C and is low in fat. Star Fruit is crunchy and has the combination of flavors such as lemons, plums and a hint of pineapple in it. A touch of acidity in the fruit also adds a bit of sparkle to the palate.

Chris plated his dessert, a small chocolate souffle, on top of a light, creamy banana sauce with a couple of pieces of star fruit to the side. Heavenly! At this point, I said heck with the photos!

Cheers!

18 comments:

Wendy said...

I haven't tasted dragon fruit yet. It looks amazing. A real shame it's tasteless.
Can't say I'm wild about the taste of starfruit either but it looks so cute sliced and floating in punch!

Anthony said...

I grew up in South East Asia but these were probably the 2 fruits I hated the most. I love the look of them, but the taste :-(

My partner loves them both. Any recipe ideas that I can use them in?

Valli said...

I think that Jenn at www.leftoverqueen.com has a post about the dragon fruit. They were disappointed in the taste as well, but it all turned out when they had a ripe one. The dessert sounds delicious anyways. Aren't you a lucky woman to have sweets made for you!!! As an aside I will be posting Aglaia's recipe for Skordalia with Capers on my site soon in case you need a recipe...which I don't think you do if it is a favourite. I'd like to try yours!!!

Gloria said...

Nice pictures of fruits!!! I have seen here Carambola, upp I only eat strawberries today!!! I go to the grocery too!! The strawberries here Debs are so nice and good to drink with a Chardonnay, we make a ponche with white wine and strawberries!! Deliciousxxx

JennDZ - The Leftover Queen said...

I did a whole post on Dragon Fruit too!!! I was also disappointed with it as well - in all its incarnations!
http://www.leftoverqueen.com/2007/08/17/dragon-fruit-heartbreaker/

Nora B. said...

hi Deb,
I would have said heck with the photos too! The souffle must have been so good.

Interesting pots, Deb. I love dragonfruit and starfruit. I didn't know that the dragon fruit was native to those regions. I just assumed that it was asian since we had so much of it. I enjoy the subtle taste - sometimes when I am lucky, I get sweet ones. My mom buys a lot of starfruit when I was growing up. The ones we eat are yellow in colour. It's supposed to be very cleansing. We also make starfruit juice, since it has a lot of liquid.

Have a good weekend ahead!

winedeb said...

Hi Wendy, yes it is a cool looking fruit. I do understand that once in awhile you get a sweet one, but I am not sure how you tell. I like the crunch of the star fruit, but I bet it does look cool in punch!

Hey Anthony, this is the first time I have tried dragon fruit and I am not sure I will purchase it again since it has no flavor. And for the star fruit, I like it served on the side with cakes as the acidity goes well with sweetness. I love the crunch also. Have not used it anywhere else yet. I will let you know if I come up with another use!

Hi Valli, Jenn did leave me a note as to her post, which I will tune into. Looking forward to your Skordalia post! I will get you mine also - maybe in a book review!

Ah Gloria, fresh strawberries and wine! A wonderful combination! I would like to see your punch recipe!

Hey Jenn, I am going to check out your post. Thanks! But at the price for these guys, I am not sure I am going to head out for more soon!

Hi Nora! How can you tell if the dragon fruit a sweet one?
A mighty fine weekend to you also!

Maryann@FindingLaDolceVita said...

I always want to pick these up when I see them in the shops but I have no idea what to do with them :)

Gloria said...

I was thinking Deb some of these days make a post with wine punch's recipes!! I have to translate!!!!(we have with chirimoya,strawberries, pineaplee etc.))) specially for summer!! Gloria

Wendy said...

Deb, just wanted to thank you for the very sweet comment you left on the Culinate interview. You were the first person to comment on my blog too! And the only to comment on the one that didn't make it. :)

Shaun said...

Deb ~ The combination of tropical fruit and chocolate cake is an inspired choice for dessert. Good on Chris! I have only had starfruit and enjoy its acidity but have not had it for years. As for dragonfruit, I don't have a clue...

winedeb said...

Hey Mary Ann, me neither! But I just had to have one to check it out.

Hi Gloria! Your punch recipes would be great!

Wendy, you surely are welcome!

Hey Shaun, I had no clue either on the dragon fruit, that is why I had to have it. Unfortunately, it had no taste!

Kelly Mahoney said...

Wow, those are so cool. I haven't had starfruit in years.

winedeb said...

Hi Kelly, the starfruit are so cute and yummy also!

Nora B. said...

Hi Deb, I have no idea about how to pick out the sweet ones. It was just by chance. I'll try to find out from my friend's mom next time I am back in Singapore.

Sophie said...

I know what you mean about the dragon fruit being a disappointment (probably why you can use it instead of rice!)

Star fruit are lovely though. I haven't seen any yet but apparently you can buy it dried (it must look so pretty!)

Sean McGoldrick said...

The thing that appeals to me about the Dragon Fruit is its appearance. It's the most amazing fruit I've ever seen.

I bought one yesterday, which I'm going to taste today for the first time. By the sounds of things I shouldn't expect too much.

What I'm really looking forward to though is keeping some of the seeds and trying to plant them. It's a kind of cactus so it should grow easily enough.

winedeb said...

Hi Sean, you will have to let me know if you were able to grow those guys!