Hidden Fruits of Birmingham: The Dragon Fruit

Have you ever tried to stick to a healthy diet but just lost interest in tasteless pears, boring bananas and very mushy apples? Or are you just looking for something new to try? In this series of long but not too long articles, I will introduce you to the hidden fruits of Birmingham. Located in this very city are countless exotic and extremely tasty fruits that you may have not noticed. From the Prickly Pear to the beautiful Dragon Fruit, the Birmingham fruit revelation of 2013 starts right here!

Dragon Fruit1

The Dragon Fruit comes in three different species and are native to countries such as Mexico, Central & South America, East & Southeast Asia, Northern Australia, Southern China and many other countries. It consists of a leathery textured outer skin with moist melon-like flesh on the inside. The most commonly found Dragon Fruit has pink skin with white flesh (as pictured). Other species include pink skin with fuchsia flesh (generally considered to be the most delicious) and yellow skin with white flesh. Personally, I prefer the second type simply because it looks very pretty! (It looks like something out of Willy Wonka’s factor, except that it’s fruit not chocolate).

In preparation for consumption, the flesh much be extracted out of the skin. The easiest way to do this is to cut the fruit in half lengthways, and the flesh can be taken out very easily with a spoon, much like an avocado, but not as mushy or boring. I literally ‘ooh’ and ‘aah’ every time I cut one of these.

The flesh itself is dotted with hundreds of Dragon Fruit seeds. However, these are extremely small are easier to eat than watermelon. The taste is not very rich. In fact, it is very subtle; similarly to a melon it has a hint of sweetness but is made up mostly of a liquid. The skin is not edible at all but is extremely pleasing to the eye. Not that it matters when eating fruits, but it does help in picking them out!

The flesh of a Dragon Fruit is quite watery and it does like to seep into your attire and create funny-looking stains, so be prepared! Make sure the fruit is prepared on a clean desktop/chopping board with plenty of space. And next to a tap preferably in case you find that you have sticky Dragon Fruit juice running down your arms.

Dragon Fruits do vary in size, but they are usually not ridiculously large; bigger than an average apple but small enough to be able to hold firmly with two hands.  They usually weigh approximately 300-500g, but there have been some which have weighted up to 1kg.

Dragon Fruits contain a lot of antioxidants which helps improve the immune system. It is also a rich source of vitamin C, B1, B2, B3 and lots of other number/letter-combinations that are good for you. It has also been proved to increase energy levels and the quality of your skin. It’s also good for people who have asthma, bad coughs and can help improve eye sight. Would it be too optimistic to hope that these will rid me of my glasses once and for all? Ah well.

Overall, if you’re looking for something that’s quite sweet and not too overbearing, rich in taste but will improve your health generally, this is the fruit for you. They can sometimes be found in many supermarkets but the best place to get them is in Asian Supermarkets where you’ll probably pay half the price for a much healthier fruit.

By Najmin Begum

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