The pitaya -- or pitahaya -- often a reddish or pink skinned fruit, is more commonly known as the dragon fruit. The fruit, which may sometimes have a yellow skin as well, is grown from several varieties of cacti, and has an inedible skin with a sweet flesh reminiscent of the kiwi fruit in appearance, due to the abundance of small, black seeds. Select ripe dragon fruit easily.
Look for a bright, evenly colored skin. A dragon fruit will begin to get splotches when it is overly ripe and be green in parts when it is underripe. The attached “leaves” may still be green on the tips on ripe dragon fruits.
Give the dragon fruit a squeeze. A ripe dragon fruit should give a little under pressure, but not too much. If it is too mushy, then it is overly ripe, and if it does not give at all, then it needs a couple of days to ripen.
Avoid dry and brittle leaf tips and stem. Leaf tips and stems that are brown in color are a sign of an overly ripe fruit. Leaf tips and stems should be a light green or yellow color.
- dragon fruit image by Daniel Wiedemann from Fotolia.com