I’m obsessed with dragon fruit. My husband spontaneously purchased that funny looking fruit the other day, having no idea what it was.
We approached it with curiosity and excitement and were rewarded for doing so, as it is divine! Never heard of it? They’re all over stores so you must go out and try one right now before the season winds down!
For that matter, try any fruit or vegetable you’ve never heard of.
I’m a big supporter of eating locally, which you can do year-round by eating frozen local fruits and vegetables. However, in December in the northeast, very little locally grown foods are in produce aisle, which makes for the perfect time to experiment. Why not with tropical fruits?
The Dragon Fruit, called Pitaya, is Native to Mexico and Central America and derived from a cactus plant. It flowers only once, at night for pollination, and then closes by daylight, forming fruit 15 days later. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7if0iLH71E0. Domestically they are grown in Florida, Texas and California.
On the outside, it has this prehistoric look, while in the inside it’s white or red fleshed. We had red, which was really more of a scrumptious, vivid raspberry color, with kiwi-like seeds throughout. Some describe its flavor as a blend of berry, watermelon, kiwi, and pear.
“Rich in antioxidants, they contain vitamin C (equivalent to 10 percent of the daily value), polyunsaturated (good) fatty acids, and several B vitamins for carbohydrate metabolism, as well as carotene and protein. Calcium is present for strong bones and teeth, iron and phosphorus for healthy blood and tissue formation.”
Antioxidants are key to maintaining gut and overall health. They protect the body from damage caused by harmful molecules called “free radicals,” (ultimately resulting in disease). You can also get them from blueberries, green tea, beans (just watch out for sodium levels), raw nuts like pecan, walnut and hazelnut, dark green leafy vegetables, sweet potatoes, herbs and spices like turmeric, ginger and garlic, and yummy dark chocolate.
So, you can literally protect your body by just eating certain foods, like dragon fruit!
We tossed it into our salad, but you can also make melon balls, include in a smoothie, infuse into your water or add some sorbet on top.
Just don’t overdo it because it has fructose.
Not into trying dragon fruit, but want to play? Other tropical fruits you may be able to get your hands on this time of year include:
- Sapote (which is supposed to taste like chocolate pudding)
- Rambutan (from the lychee family)
- Star fruit
If none of those excite you, commit to trying any unusual food this month, and please share. Thrillest offers a list for inspiration, including rutabaga, chestnuts, oysters, sunchokes and kalettes (a hybrid of Brussels sprouts and kale, which are now on my list!).
December can be a hectic time of year. Challenge your family to bring home unusual produce and discover them together. That’s just one small way you can spend time together that I expect will result in soaring taste buds and a smile. Go for it!
Marjorie, Chief MOJO Maker™