Red Dragons in the Market

Pitahayas (photo by Rudy Girón)

Pitahayas (photo by Rudy Girón)

Pitaya season is here

They are sweet, spiny and flaming red, rushing into your local markets by the dozens. Red dragons—in fruit form—are in season.

Pitaya (dragon fruit) is common throughout Mexico and Central and South America, but is more popular in consumption in Asia (Vietnam, Thailand, Japan and China). The fruit looks like a prehistoric orb, a painted artichoke, if you will.

Dragon fruit comes in a variety of colors (outside and in), but the most common variety in Guatemala is the red dragon fruit, so named for its magenta skin and creamy, red fruit inside.

Whether from Latin America or Asia, all dragon fruit is eaten the same way: Cut open the fruit and spoon out the soft center, which is dotted with tiny, edible black seeds. Dragon fruit may be consumed raw, added to fresh lemonade for a natural pink look, or processed into frozen yogurt and ice cream treats.

Selecting pitaya at the market is easy, just look for the biggest, reddest fruit and you’ve found your dragon.

Here’s a refreshing cocktail for your next party:

Ginger Dragon Delight
1 oz. rum (preferably white)
1 oz. dragon fruit juice (dragon fruit muddled with a pinch of sugar)
Splash with ginger ale

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