Certified Farmers Market Fresh Pick of the Week: Dragon Fruit!
Locally-grown Dragon Fruit is this week’s Fresh Pick of the Week. Although native to Mexico, Central America, and South America (and often found growing wild in the Sonoran Desert), Dragon Fruit (also known as Pitaya) is not commonly found in grocery stores. You can find it in some Asian Specialty Stores, and at the Summer Certified Farmers’ Market.
Dragon Fruit is the fruit of several species of vine-like cacti, and resembles other, more well-known varieties of cactus fruit, such as the Prickly Pear. The Dragon Fruit, however, is far more beautiful (inside and out), and more flavorful than its prickly cousins. The fruits might even be considered a bit flamboyant. They are egg-shaped, and about the same size as an Avocado. Outside, they have a vibrant red-magenta skin that is punctuated by green triangular-shaped scales. Inside, they are an even more vibrant shade of magenta (almost neon), with tiny black seeds scattered throughout. The flesh is mild-flavored, soft and juicy, and can be eaten raw, or used to make fruit salads, desserts, juices, wine, tea and sorbets. Both the texture and the flavor of Dragon Fruit are reminiscent of Kiwi Fruit, but with added sweetness and tartness. It’s a rarified flavor that’s delicious, and well worth trying.
Dragon Fruit is not only pretty. It’s also quite nutritious, and is rich in carbohydrates, protein, calcium, iron and phosphorus. Dragon Fruit also provides large amounts of niacin (vitamin B3) and ascorbic acid (vitamin C). The fruit is rich in fiber, contains significant quantities of phytaolbumin antioxidants (which prevent the formation of cancer-causing free radicals), and has been used to successfully control blood glucose levels.
DID YOU KNOW: Dragon Fruit is quite popular throughout Asia, and is cultivated in Indonesia, Taiwan, Vietnam, Thailand, the Philippines, Sri Lanka, Malaysia, Bangladesh, Japan, and southern China. Ironically, it is not native to any of those countries. It is thought to have been introduced to Asia by European traders who first discovered it in the New World (the Americas) during Colonial Days.
Price: $ 8 per pound
Also in Season, and available now at all locations: Potatoes, Celery, Green Onions, FRESH and DRIED Herbs, Eggs, Dates, Almonds, Oranges, Grapefruit, Chard, Eggplant, Squash, Onions, Garlic, Apples, Shallots, Beets, Green Beans, Carrots, Tomatoes, Green Tomatoes, Peppers, Lettuces, Parsley, Mint, Broccoli, Cabbage, Spinach, Radishes, Leeks, Brussels Sprouts, Asparagus, Cherimoyas, Dates . . . . PLUS, incredible artisan breads, fresh meats, cheese, fresh raw honey, California olives/olive oil/vinegars, and a wide variety of exotic Orchids and flowers.
Sidebar: The Certified Farmers Market is sponsored by the Palm Springs Cultural Center. Contact the Certified Farmers Market at 760.898.5250, 760-285-2630 (se habla Espanol), or visit us online at www.certifiedfarmersmarket.org font color="#0000FF">http://www.certifiedfarmersmarket.org> .
The Palm Springs Cultural Center is a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization, which was established to encourage the development of the cultural arts in the Coachella Valley with a specific focus in the areas of film, fine art, live performance, dance, music, and community festivals. The Center is dedicated to advancing education, to nurturing community-wide participation in the cultural arts, and to sponsoring scholarship awards for deserving individuals.