Dragon fruit: that's in the pink exotic

The pink exotic species are pretty to look at and have a fresh, often slightly watery aroma. If you eat dragon fruit in large quantities, it can have a laxative effect

The dragon fruit is ripe when it glows pink and gives way to light pressure

© Fotolia / chess players

Ingredients of the dragon fruit

Dragon fruits consist of around 90 percent water and are therefore relatively low in calories. They contain iron, calcium and phosphorus. Iron is important for blood formation, calcium and phosphorus for bones and teeth. The exotic species also contain vitamin E and C. Vitamin C plays a role in the development of connective tissue. If you eat a large amount of dragon fruit, it can have a laxative effect.

Origin and botany of the dragon fruit

The cradle of the dragon fruit is believed to be in southern Mexico. Today it grows in all tropical climates. The dragon fruit is mainly cultivated in Asia. Cultivation countries are, for example, Nicaragua, Israel, Vietnam and other Asian countries.

The dragon fruit or pitahaya belongs to the cactus family. It is the fruit of a climbing cactus that clings to supporting plants or masonry with its adhesive roots. The sprouts do not have sharp thorns.

The kind Hylocereus undatus, to which the dragon fruit belongs, bears flowers from June to September, which are located at the ends of the sprouts. The flowers are among the largest in the world: they are up to 30 centimeters long and up to 25 centimeters in diameter. What is special about them: The flowers only open for one night, then they give off a bewitching scent that is reminiscent of jasmine.

The fruits grow from the flowers: They are ten to 15 centimeters long, weigh up to 500 grams and shaped like a rugby ball. The skin is pink to red and scaly. The white or red, non-fibrous flesh is criss-crossed with many small, black seeds. It tastes sweet and tropical fresh and is reminiscent of the aroma of strawberries, kiwis and bananas. In addition to the pink dragon fruit, there are also pitahaya with yellow skin and white pulp.

Season and storage of the dragon fruit

It is difficult to buy fully aromatic dragon fruit because they only stay fresh for a short time after being harvested. Because of the long transport routes, the ripening fruits are usually harvested unripe. The dragon fruit is ripe when it glows pink and gives way to light pressure. The shell can be easily removed. Pitahayas shouldn't be eaten beforehand because they will taste watery. Dragon fruits are offered in small quantities at any time of the year.

It is best to store dragon fruit at room temperature. Important: store it upright, i.e. turn it upside down or even hang it up. Otherwise you will get pressure marks easily. Pitahayas quickly wrinkle in dry air. If you want to use the fruit with its exotic appearance as a decoration, you should moisten it several times a day.

Tips for preparation

Enjoy the dragon fruit raw. Halve the fruit and scoop out the pulp. The dragon fruit is very refreshing when cooled. The outer shell is not allowed to be eaten, it is inedible. Alternatively, you can cut off the ends of the dragon fruit and peel off the skin, then dice the pulp and add it to fruit salads.

Nutritional table: badger fruit (per 100 grams)





total (g)



total (g)


Minerals (mg)

Sodium (Na)


Potassium (K)


Calcium (Ca)


Phosphate (P)


Iron (Fe)



Vitamin C (mg)



Levin HG: Exotics and Citus Fruits, 4th edition, aid infodienst Nutrition, Agriculture, Consumer Protection e.V. 2014