Whole pineapple, papaya, dragonfruit

One of the best things I enjoy doing in Hawaii is eating all the local fruits. As you know, I’m a big fan of Hawaiian papayas, pineapples and strawberries, but dragonfruit is something relatively new to me. It’s not a fruit that was grown commercially in Hawaii until fairly recently–I don’t remember growing up eating them.

Native to Mexico and the Central and South Americas, dragonfruit is most commonly grown in Asia and now Hawaii and a few other parts of the world. It is an attractive crop to grow not only for its appearance, but also because it is a high yield, fast growing crop that needs less water than most crops. Check out Maui Dragonfruit Farm‘s website for more information about growing dragonfruit.
Pineapple, papaya, dragonfruit halves

This dragonfruit that I have came from Kona. It was a beautiful red fleshed dragonfruit. While the flesh of dragonfruit can be red, pink, or white, all with the tiny black seeds, the outer skin is usually only magenta or yellow. Dragonfruit can even be cultivated as patio plants.

We’ve got fruit from three different islands here: Dragonfruit from the Big Island, Strawberry Sunrise Papaya from Molokai, and the Maui Gold Pineapple from Maui.

Fruit salad stuffed pineapple, papaya, dragonfruit

Just for fun I cut the fruit all up and stuffed all the various fruit shells. Which one do you think looks the best?

I think the pineapple shell offers the most color contrast. The red flesh dragonfruit had some very deep red pigments, and like beets, the pieces tended to stain wherever they were placed.

Dragonfruit smoothie

Fruit only Smoothie, with Dragonfruit    (See the purple lei above? I finally learned how to make a lei using fun fur! It’s so much easier than I thought it would be.)

Usually the brighter the pigments, the higher the antioxidants levels, and I knew that deep red color would make a gorgeous colored smoothie.

To me, dragonfruit has an extremely mild taste, like a very light kiwi. I always expect a much stronger flavor, just looking at the skin and flesh color. So to sweeten up this smoothie, I blended it up with all the fruit above (papaya and pineapple), plus some locally grown watermelon. Even with all the other fruit added in, it’s still a beautiful dark pink.

When cutting the fruit, use a cutting board that has grooves around the edges to catch all the extra juices that come out. Pouring in the extra juice into the blender helps the fruit blend easier, as well as gives more flavor.

It’s delicious as is, or you can add a little nonfat Greek yogurt for a little creaminess.


Dragonfruit shake

Or, if you’re lucky enough to have some Roselani ice cream made with Hawaiian Vanilla Bean handy, you can blend some in and make a shake. Now that’s luxurious.

(Thanks to Laurel, who ran outside to search for flowers for this shot. Love, love, love the pink hibiscus and plumeria, and Laurel too of course! =)