How To Cut Dragon Fruit, And What To Do With The Shell

Dragon fruit may look intimidating and otherworldly, with its vibrant coloring and spiky exterior, but it is actually a breeze to cut and serve. It looks like it has a tough shell, but despite its scaly appearance, the rind is actually quite soft. You can cut through it easily with your go-to kitchen knife to access the juicy flesh inside.

All you have to do is place a washed, whole dragon fruit on a cutting board, and cut it in half lengthwise. Then, using a regular old spoon, scoop out the flesh. Similar to an avocado, you can scoop out the entire half, or slice or dice it within the shell before spooning out. For more precise cuts, keep the halves intact as you remove them, then cut into your desired shape, depending on what you plan to use it for. The flesh is tender, but holds its shape, so you can even cut thin slices and then make cute figures with miniature cookie cutters.

It's important to note that you shouldn't toss out the beautiful skin of the dragon fruit. There are also lots of creative ways to use it so that it doesn't go to waste. Use it as a pretty serving bowl for fruit salad, yogurt, or even vegan rum fried rice with dragon fruit. You can even eat the skin on its own, as it's entirely edible and easy to prepare.

How to prepare dragon fruit skin

Dragon fruit skin doesn't have to be reserved just for show — the skin is also completely safe to eat. Just wash it well and remove the thin, shiny, outer layer and scale-like leaves with a sharp knife. You can also score a shallow slit around the equator and meridian, and then use your fingers to peel off the outer layer piece by piece. Alternatively, use a vegetable peeler. 

If you intend to eat both the skin and the fruit, remove the skin first. Trying to trim the skin without the support of the inner fruit will be more challenging, though not impossible. The cleaned skin can be cut into strips and stir-fried with garlic, shallots, and oyster sauce in a Javanese-Indonesian preparation. This yields a crunchy yet soft jellyfish-like texture, and the dish is delicious served with steamed white rice. You can find deep-fried dragon fruit skin recipes from the same region, too. The skin can also be dried and then steeped in liquid to make tea or simple syrup.

How to best use dragon fruit

How you should cook dragon fruit depends on the flavor profile you're looking for. Additionally, just like with any fruit or vegetable, you should change how you cut it based on what you want the dish to look like and the desired texture. Cut the flesh into pretty cubes to adorn a smoothie bowl, half-moon slices for a fruit plate, a fine dice along with red onion, jalapeño, and lime juice for a salsa, or spears for easy snacking. Ingredients like yogurt, honey, and complimentary tropical fruits like pineapple, mango, and papaya can all help dragon fruit really shine.

Since the dragon fruit skin is edible, don't bother removing it if you plan to juice the fruit. Just cut the thoroughly-washed whole fruit into manageable cubes, and run it through your juicing machine. Alternatively, blitz it in the blender and then strain with a fine mesh sieve. You'll avoid waste while giving your juice a beautiful magenta color.