WTF, dragonfruit with a purple interior?
June 23, 2006 9:49 AM   Subscribe

Why was the inside of my dragonfruit purple?

I hadn't had a dragonfruit since 1998, in Vietnam, where I consumed them voraciously. There, while the exterior was pink with green-tipped scales, the interior was opaque white, filled with tiny black seeds. I bought a dragonfruit in chinatown in NYC yesterday and was a bit amazed when I cut it open to find a deep purple/fuschia colored fruit. The color came off on my hands and everything else it touched, so my instinct is to think that it was somehow dyed purple (perhaps so that a western consumer wouldn't be freaked out by the incongruity of white fruit in pink skin). Is this the case, or are there perhaps purple dragon fruits out there, or was it overripe or underripe? Should I be worried that whatever dye was used might be toxic? It was also disappointingly bland, so as a follow up question I'd love to know if there's anywhere to get a decent dragonfruit in the states, especially in the NYC area.
posted by jrb223 to Food & Drink (12 answers total)
Don't know, but they sell dried dragonfruit slices at Trader Joes, and they're extremely purple.
posted by Rash at 9:55 AM on June 23, 2006

Best answer: Sounds like you just picked up one of the red-fleshed variety.
posted by Gator at 9:56 AM on June 23, 2006

Response by poster: huh. That redfleshed one looks exactly right. wow. shoulda just gone to wikipedia. the second question about where I can get a decent one in NYC area (and a pony) still stands.
posted by jrb223 at 9:59 AM on June 23, 2006

The red/white flesh question has also been plaguing me for a while. Thanks for asking.

my experience with american dragonfruit has been a lot like that of mango... they're around, but you really have to go elsewhere for good ones. think of it as a reason to go back.

And imagine my dismay on discovering, after my first visit to Thailand, that mangosten are not grown or sold in the US at all. After my second trip, that they are out of season in spring. Next week, I plan to start mangosten-binging again...
posted by whatzit at 11:00 AM on June 23, 2006

Note that canned mangosteen is available in certain stateside Asian markets. But yes, the apparent lack of any effort to make this fruit available outside the tropics is discouraging.
posted by Rash at 11:42 AM on June 23, 2006

dried or fresh? I haven't seen this canned-ness of which you speak...

And Rash, in the US, at least, it's not for lack of effort. Their cultivation is actually banned by the... department of agriculture? because of a certain fruit fly that tends to tag along with it.

Beyond that, we should be careful what we wish for - I'm not sure I could afford them if they were here. They are imported into Japan - at about US$2 each. Okay, everything in Japan is expensive. But I saw them in São Paulo at the Mercado Municipal for something like US$15-25/kilo. Yipes.
posted by whatzit at 12:10 PM on June 23, 2006

Mangosteen are available in Canada, but they're crazy expensive at 4.99/lb+. I miss the really cheap mangosteen you can get in HK and I guess SE Asia.
posted by Big Fat Tycoon at 2:08 PM on June 23, 2006

dried or fresh? I haven't seen this canned-ness of which you speak...

The canned mangosteen I've had (at like $1.60 for a pint-sized can) are like any canned fruit, the white parts floating in syrup. Not bad, really, if that's the only option. But they're neither dried nor fresh, being canned.

The only place I've had 'em fresh is in Kuala Lumpur where they're sold for dirt cheap in produce stands. Then you do the clenched-hands thing to pop 'em open. Nummy!
posted by Rash at 3:01 PM on June 23, 2006

Best answer: You may not know that dragonfruit — also known as pitaya or pitahaya — is native to Latin America, and is commonly eaten (and the juice drunk) from Mexico southward. Ask at your neighborhood bodega!
posted by rob511 at 3:44 PM on June 23, 2006

ha. by "fresh" I did mean "in syrup," and realized it about an hour after the fact... i'll keep my eyes peeled for them...
posted by whatzit at 6:07 PM on June 23, 2006

But this mangosteen chatter is a derail... that's a tropical fruit (like rambutan or jack fruit) which is practically unknown in the US.

Dragon Fruit is from Central America -- is it available in stores up north?
posted by Rash at 7:11 PM on June 23, 2006

more about pitaya
posted by growabrain at 11:17 AM on June 24, 2006

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