Travel & Culture
Nicknamed the strawberry pear discover a delicious fruit
What fresh produce has a hot pink and spiky skin bursting with white flesh full of seeds resembling those of a kiwi fruit? It’s grown in the Northern Territory, Australia and tastes like a mix of kiwi, pears and honey. Still can’t guess? It’s nicknamed the “strawberry pear” and known as pitaya in its native Mexico.
You got it! Dragon fruit. “A delicious, tangy summer fruit, rich in fibre and chock full of goodness, including high amounts of calcium, potassium, magnesium and vitamin C,” says Marcus Karlsson who grows the fruit on his family’s Humpty Doo property about 30 kilometres south of Darwin. “It’s low in calories and is best eaten chilled. You just cut it, cube it — there’s no big stone inside — it’s all fruit.”
“Sprinkle a little lime juice on and enjoy,” says Marcus’ mum, Jenni. She says the catchy name came about because the fruit is said to look like the fiery breath of a dragon.
The late Fred Karlsson introduced the fruit into Australia from Vietnam, where it is known as thanh long. He pioneered the industry, successfully growing and marketing the tropical fruit. Quite remarkably the dragon fruit flowers, which grow on cacti, only bloom overnight and usually wilt by morning. Therefore the plant relies on nocturnal creatures like moths and bats for its pollination.
There are also just as many benefits of wearing dragon fruit as there are eating it. I am told that applying a “dragon fruit facial mask” one a week can help to prevent premature ageing owing to its antioxidant properties. This fruit is also effective in the treatment of acne thanks to its vitamin C content and being also rich in vitamin B3, helps to soothe and moisturise sunburned skin.
So there you go… many attractive elements to the dragon fruit besides its bright skin.
Enjoy your salads! Louise.
Join Louise on a journey through the seasons with salad ingredients, old traditions and popular, exotic or unusual vegetables. From Paddock to Plate founder, author, food writer, radio journalist & yoga teacher.
Try the ‘Seared tuna and dragon fruit with green vegetable garnish’ recipe in my From Paddock to Plate book on page 79.