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Let’s be honest: some fruits are just natural-born rock stars. They’re not content to be pretty in pink - they’d rather be pretty in hot pink! With scales!
We see you, dragon fruit. And we love your style.
Mother of Dragons
Dragon fruit – also known as pitaya, or hylocereus for the more Latin-minded – is no stranger to beauty. The fruit actually starts its life as a flower, blooming on a cactus variety native to Central America.
When fully developed, it’s the stand-out star of any produce section thanks to its intricate leathery scales that ombre from hot pink to green. But pitaya is no one-look pony: the fashionable fruit actually comes in several varieties, sporting different tastes and tones of skin and flesh.
And like many supermodels that have come before it, dragon fruit has been indelibly linked to the music scene, with many of its most colorful cultivars taking their names straight from the rock n roll world.
White Dragon Fruit
With its vibrant pink skin and white flesh – spotted with tasty black seeds – white dragon fruit is the most commonly grown type of pitaya. Some of its more popular cultivars include:
- David Bowie: Talk about the thin, white duke. This variety of white dragon fruit is slimmer than most others, and known for a tangier, lemon-like taste.
- Vietnamese Jaina: One of the world’s most popular varieties, thanks in no small part to the stark whiteness of its fruit. The color-blocking of this varietal is truly Instagram-worthy.
- L.A. Woman: A rarely-grown variety that some experts say leaves a bad taste in your mouth. No relation to how the Doors song of the same name may make you feel.
- Seoul Kitchen: A spin on another Doors song title, this variety of white dragon fruit is a bit rounder in shape, with smoother and sweeter flesh than its Los Angeles cousin.
- Lake Atitlan: Named for the volcano-ringed lake in Guatemala, this exotic-sounding variety of dragon fruit is typically on the larger – and tangier – side.
- Neitzel: A California native, this varietal is sweet and especially tasty when chilled.
- Alice: Named for a rock star of the fruit growing world, Alice Snow, this eponymous type of dragon fruit is less sweet than other varieties, but rocks ultra-bright pink skin.
- Guyute: In the Phish song of the same name, Guyute was an ugly pig. In the world of exotic plants, it’s a particularly sweet variety of white dragon fruit.
- Harpua: Dragon fruit cultivators must really love Phish. This varietal – named for a song with a particularly tasty jam – rocks a semisweet white pulp that tastes a bit like melon.
- Thompson: One of the largest varieties of white dragon fruit, this cultivar can weigh up to 1.5 pounds.
Red Dragon Fruit
Red dragon fruit has the same beautiful pink skin as its white relatives, but a burst of red flesh on the inside.
- Red Jaina: With an especially deep-red pulp, this variety is particularly juicy – making it a perfect compliment to a good blender.
- Zamorano: Named for the university in Honduras where it was first developed, this red dragon fruit variety is medium-sized with a mild, sweet flavor.
- Costa Rican Sunset: As special as its name entails, this is a particularly unique variety of dragon fruit, thanks to its slow growing vine.
- Natural Mystic: Did you think we were done name-checking songs? Think again. This red dragon fruit, named for the Bob Marley tune, is truly magical, landing on the larger and sweeter side of things.
Pink Dragon Fruit
Technically, these are all types of red dragon fruit, but on the inside, they look anything from soft rose to hot pink.
- Makisupa: A beautiful magenta flesh partners with a sweet-and-sour taste in this red-but-more-like pink dragon fruit variety. (And for those keeping count, this marks the third Phish song reference. Jam band fans, rejoice!)
- American Beauty: Aptly named after both the seminal Grateful Dead album and its truly sensational pink pulp, this varietal is also known for its stunning sweet flavor.
- Delight: On the larger side with a smooth texture, sweet taste, and lovely soft pink flesh, this pink dragon fruit is truly worthy of its name.
- Dark Star: A long and skinny shape with a mild grape-y taste and the bearer of yet another Grateful Dead song name.
- Cosmic Charlie: Rounding out the Deadhead crowd is this magenta-fleshed varietal, with a truly celestial taste of grape and kiwi.
- Purple Haze: Veering into the harder side of rock, this Jimi Hendrix namesake is one of the biggest types of dragon fruit, with a vibrant pink color, relatively few seeds, and grape-like taste.
- Voodoo Child: Worthy of its witchy name (which happens to also be – you guessed it! – a Jimi Hendrix song) this pink dragon fruit is small but mighty, packing a sweet grape-y taste into a dark pink fruit no larger than an egg.
Yellow Dragon Fruit
This type of dragon fruit doesn’t mind standing out from the crowd, with a monotone yellow exterior that sports a far different scale pattern.
There’s only one yellow dragon fruit variety, but it’s widely thought to be the tastiest of all, with its firm white flesh packing plenty of sweetness.
Sour Dragon Fruit
Something of a specialty, this kind of dragon fruit is called stenocereus and is found primarily in South and Central America, particularly in more arid regions. It may lean more sour than sweet, but it yields more juice than most other varieties, and has long been a dietary staple of indigenous peoples.
But no matter which look or taste it’s rocking, a dragon fruit always aims to please.