A dragon fruit is a type of cactus fruit native to tropical regions of the world. Ripe dragon fruit usually has shiny reddish-purple skin with no brown or other discolored spots on it. The leaf-like scales that cover the fruit should be bright green, and the stem section of the fruit should not be brown. When choosing a good fruit, a person should also squeeze the fruit a bit. If the fruit feels very hard, it is not ripe enough, but if it is very soft, it is too ripe.
The dragon fruit is also sometimes referred to as the pitahya fruit, or the strawberry pear, and it grows on several cactus varieties in the Hylocereus genus. Like most other cacti, these plants generally grow best in very warm regions, particularly tropical regions. Although they are native to South America and Central America, they also grow in parts of Asia as well.
Dragon fruit flesh is usually white with several very small black seeds. Some varieties, however, may have very dark pink or purple flesh. The skin of this type of fruit is also usually very dark pink or reddish-purple with green leaf-like scales. Yellow fruits, however, typically have yellow to greenish yellow skin.
When choosing the best dragon fruit, either from the vine or the store, it is important to choose a fruit that has good color. The skin should be very bright and somewhat shiny, and the scales on the pink fruit should be bright green. There should be no brown spots on either the main part of the fruit or the scales. This is usually a sign that the fruit has ripened too much.
Someone trying to choose a perfectly ripe fruit should also gently squeeze the fruit. Fruits that are not quite ripe will usually feel very firm, and these should be avoided. On the other hand, these fruits should not be very soft, nor should they have any mushy spots on them. Many experts claim that a perfectly ripe dragon fruit will feel a bit like a kiwi when it is squeezed.
Dragon fruits are usually very sweet once they are ripe, and they can be enjoyed alone or in other dishes, such as fruit salads. Only the flesh and seeds of this fruit are edible, however, and the skin should be removed. To do this, the fruit is usually cut in half and the flesh is removed with a spoon.