Dragon Fruit, Better than Gold?

As eyewitness accounts go, Pedro de Castañeda’s Narrative of the Coronado Expedition is as fresh as if the search for gold was only yesterday. Too bad they didn’t find gold, yet they did find other treasures — even if they were the edible kind.

Castañeda recounts events in the Valley of Suya (exact location unknown, but probably about a five hour drive south of Tucson near Banámichi, Mexico — see figure 12 in the book Searching for Golden Empires). One notation in particular had me dreaming of a superfruit smoothie on the menu at “Juice It Up!” raw juice bar.

“They drink the juice of the pitahaya, a fruit of big thistles which opens like the pomegranate.”

You may know pitahaya more commonly as dragon fruit. It is a great source of antioxidants, omega 3’s, fiber, magnesium, and vitamin C.

Although dragon fruit is most readily available from June through December, you may find it in Asian markets (I bought mine at Whole Foods). I love to experiment with exotic fruits, especially those I first learn about in historic manuscripts. For me, finding the first pitahaya of the season is like hearing the first hummingbird of spring. Until then …

Best Fruits to buy in March

  • Avocados
  • Grapefruit
  • Guavas
  • Kumquats
  • Lemons
  • Limes
  • Mandarins
  • Oranges
  • Pomelos
  • Strawberries

As a substitute for dragon fruit, try a combination of kiwi and pear.

“Dragon fruit is very subtle, very delicate. So you want to be careful not to kill it with things that have very strong flavor.” (Quote from chef José André; follow him on Twitter!)






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