Dragon fruit is a delicious and refreshing tropical fruit found at grocery stores all year round, thanks to modern growing methods. However, many people don’t know how to store dragon fruit properly. If you want to enjoy your dragon fruits for as long as possible, there are some simple steps you need to take before storing them in the refrigerator or freezer.
In this article, I will share the best storage methods so that you can make the most out of that fruit.
How to store dragon fruit?
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Dragon fruit is an annual plant that matures in the summer. You’d then wonder how comes the fruit is ever fresh in the grocery store, all year round? This is partly due to growing in different locations, artificial lighting to confuse the plant, and preservation methods. The fruit can be stored in several ways:
1. Storing on the counter
If you are going to eat your dragon fruit in the next 2-4 days, you can leave it on the counter for that period. The fruit will be at room temperature on the counter, which causes the fruit to continue ripening. By day 4, the fruit will be almost overripe.
Avoid cutting or peeling the dragon fruit before leaving it on the counter. Doing so will only cause the fruit to start ripening faster and provide an entry point for bacteria and fungi, which speed up breakdown (spoiling).
Also, place other smelly or flavorful foods such as onions and spices away from the dragon fruit when the latter is stored on the counter. Dragon fruit absorbs smell, which can interfere with its authentic taste.
2. Storing in the fridge
If you prefer to eat the dragon fruit in a few days, typically a week or more, then store it in the fridge. On the refrigerator, your dragon fruit will be chilled enough to slow down how fast ripening occurs.
However, do note that storing unripe dragon fruits in the fridge will do more harm than good. First, the fruit will not ripen. Worse still, the fruit will just go bland. Watered-down dragon fruit is not crap you want to put in your mouth.
Just like avocados, a dragon fruit should be left to ripen on the counter and then refrigerated to slow down the action of ripening hormones and prolong its shelf life.
If you have a cut or peeled dragon fruit, ensure to put it in an airtight container before storing it in the refrigerator. Even so, the fruit will not last for as long as an unpeeled fruit would.
When storing the fruit alongside aromatic foods and fruits, store the dragon fruit(s) in plastic bags to shut off the flavors.
3. Storing cut up dragon fruit in the fridge
If you’ve already cut the dragon fruit, do not store it as is in the fridge. Instead, peel the fruit and place it in an airtight bag. If possible, vacuum seal before storing it in the refrigerator, otherwise drizzle some lemon juice to save it for a few days.
4. Storing in the freezer
If you want to keep your dragon fruit for more than a week, say months, then store it in the freezer. On the freezer, the cold temperature will slow down ripening, to almost a complete standstill.
Even after the slowed ripening, you should use anything you store in the freezer within three months. Any more prolonged freezing will induce freezer burns and take a significant toll on the flavor.
When storing the dragon fruit in the freezer, there’s always the risk of the outer parts turning mushy as the fruit thaws. To prevent this, cut the fruit into sizeable cubes, and you can store it in either of the following two methods:
This method requires somewhat ample space in your freezer and a sheet pan or a tray lined with baking paper.
- Place the cubes on the sheet pan or baking paper-lined tray, ensuring to leave some space between the cube.
- Place the cubes on the pan in the freezer overnight. This is the part where you need ample freezer space–the cubes must not touch each other.
- By morning, the cubes will be frozen. Put them in a safe container and store the fruit in the freezer.
The catch with this method is that you can use only a few fruit cubes at a time without defrosting all of them.
This is a simpler version of the first method and requires a tough freezer bag.
- Once cubed, place the fruit in the freezer bag, ensuring to space the cubes as they settle in the paper.
- Freeze the cubes.
This method is simple and offers you the convenience of extracting only a few cubes without tearing up the freezer bag.
Even when cubed, dragon fruit will still get mushy once thawed. You’re better off making it part of a smoothie, where it can improve the texture and visual appeal of that great cold smoothie!
Do you refrigerate dragon fruit?
Yes, you can refrigerate a dragon fruit to extend its shelf life. If you’re not planning to consume the fruit for a week, then store it in the fridge.
The cold temperature slows down how fast ripening occurs and can help extend its shelf life by at least one or two weeks.
At room temperatures, a cut or peeled dragon fruit will also not last more than a day on the countertop. Refrigerate such in an airtight plastic bag, vacuum-sealed if possible.
How to store dragon fruit long-term?
If you intend to store dragon fruit(s) for months, the most viable storage is by freezing them. You cut it up first before storing it.
Cubed fruits should be frozen on a sheet pan, ensuring to leave room between them, so they do not form a hard mass after freezing. Once they’re solidly frozen, you may move them over to an airtight freezer-safe container and store them in the freezer.
When using this method, ensure that you don’t thaw everything when you need just a few cubes for a glass of smoothie.
How to store dragon fruit after cutting?
A cut dragon fruit is best stored in the fridge or the freezer. For short-term storage, peel the fruit, place it in a plastic bag, and then place it in the refrigerator. This method will preserve the fruit for just a couple of days.
If you’re keen on preserving the fruit’s flavor, then don’t cut it up until just before using.
To extend how long you can store the cut fruit, place them in a freezer bag or plastic container with some lemon juice. The citric acid will help prevent oxidation and preserve its flavor longer.
Frequently Asked Questions
How long does dragon fruit last in the freezer?
Dragon fruit can last for up to three months in the freezer, but it will lose its flavor. This is the main challenge with freezing fruits.
Can dragon fruit be frozen?
Yes! Dragon fruit freezes well and is excellent to have on hand when you need a quick snack or smoothie ingredient.
Just slice before freezing so that they are easy to break off later!
How to store dragon fruit short-term?
If you only need the prepared fruit for a few hours or overnight, place it in an airtight container and refrigerate. It will help preserve its freshness better than leaving it out at room temperature.
How long does unripe dragon fruit last on the counter?
Unripe fruits should be left out on the counter for as long as they take to ripen. Depending on how mature the fruit is, it may take anywhere between a few days to one week to ripen.
Is dragon fruit good for you?
Dragon fruit is one of the healthiest fruits out there. It’s loaded with vitamins and minerals that are great for your well-being, but it has relatively few calories, so it can be a delicious choice to help maintain or lose weight too!
Is it safe to eat the skin of dragon fruit?
While there have not been any reported cases or published studies indicating that the skin of dragon fruit is unsafe to eat, it’s still best to discard them. The skins may contain chemicals such as pesticides that could be harmful to your health.
What are some healthy ways how to use fresh dragon fruit?
A common way people enjoy eating their dragon fruits is by slicing and mixing with yogurt sprinkled lightly with granola or some other cereal.
It can also be eaten by itself and is best when chilled first!
- What does a dragon fruit taste like
We have seen how you should store dragon fruit properly, how long the dragon fruit lasts in the freezer, how to store dragon fruit for both short and long terms, and how to use preserved dragon fruit. Say goodbye to spoiling dragon fruit.