When and How To Harvest Dragon Fruit: A Comprehensive Guide

Dragon fruit, also known as pitaya, is a tropical fruit that is gaining popularity around the world due to its unique appearance and health benefits. The fruit comes in three varieties: red, white, and yellow. It is native to Central and South America but is now grown in many parts of the world, including Asia and Australia. Harvesting dragon fruit at the right time is crucial to ensure that the fruit is ripe and ready to eat.

When Is Dragon Fruit Ready to Harvest

Fruit Appearance

The appearance of the fruit is the first indicator of ripeness. Ripe dragon fruit should have a bright, even color and firm, smooth skin. The fruit should be free of any bruises, cracks, or soft spots. The scales on the fruit should be well-defined and have a glossy appearance.

Fruit Texture

The texture of the fruit is another important factor to consider. Ripe dragon fruit should have a slightly soft texture when gently squeezed. It should not be too hard or too mushy.

Fruit Flavor

The flavor of dragon fruit is another important factor to consider when determining if it is ready to be harvested. Ripe dragon fruit should have a sweet, refreshing taste with a hint of sourness. If the fruit tastes bland or has a bitter flavor, it is not yet ripe.

Harvesting Time

Dragon fruit typically takes between 30 to 50 days to mature after flowering. The fruit is usually ready to be harvested when the scales on the fruit start to dry out and turn brown. It is important to harvest the fruit at the right time as it will not continue to ripen once it has been picked.

How to Harvest Dragon Fruit

Harvesting dragon fruit is a simple process that requires a few steps to ensure that the fruit is picked at the right time and is of the best quality. Here are the steps to follow when harvesting dragon fruit:

  1. Check the color: The color of the dragon fruit is an indicator of its ripeness. A ripe dragon fruit will have a bright, even color with no blemishes or spots. The color can vary depending on the variety of dragon fruit, but generally, a ripe fruit will have a deep pink or red color.
  2. Check the texture: The texture of the dragon fruit is another indicator of its ripeness. A ripe fruit will be slightly soft to the touch, but not mushy. If the fruit is too hard, it is not yet ripe, and if it is too soft, it is overripe.
  3. Twist the fruit: To harvest the fruit, gently twist it off the stem. If the fruit is ripe, it should come off easily. If it doesn’t come off easily, it may not be ripe yet, and you should wait a few more days before trying again.
  4. Handle the fruit carefully: Dragon fruit has a delicate skin that can easily be damaged, so handle the fruit carefully to avoid bruising or puncturing the skin.
  5. Store the fruit properly: Once the fruit is harvested, it should be stored in a cool, dry place. Dragon fruit can be stored at room temperature for a few days or in the refrigerator for up to a week.

Storing Dragon Fruit

After harvesting dragon fruit, it is important to store it properly to maintain its freshness and quality. Here are some tips on how to store dragon fruit:

1. Room Temperature

Dragon fruit can be stored at room temperature for up to 2-3 days. However, it is important to keep it away from direct sunlight and heat sources.

2. Refrigeration

To extend the shelf life of dragon fruit, it is best to store it in the refrigerator. Place the fruit in a plastic bag or container and store it in the crisper drawer. Dragon fruit can last up to 5-7 days in the refrigerator.

3. Freezing

Dragon fruit can also be frozen for later use. To freeze, cut the fruit into small pieces and place them in a freezer-safe bag or container. Frozen dragon fruit can last up to 6 months in the freezer.

It is important to note that dragon fruit should not be stored with other fruits or vegetables that produce ethylene gas, as it can cause the fruit to ripen and spoil faster.

By following these simple storage tips, you can enjoy fresh and delicious dragon fruit for longer periods of time.

Photo of author

Ana Harned

With over a decade of experience in gardening and horticulture, Ana Harned is a passionate botanist dedicated to promoting sustainable gardening practices. She holds a degree in botany and currently serves as the editor for Backyard Gardeners Network. Ana's love for gardening extends beyond her personal garden, as she enjoys sharing her knowledge and experience with others about the joys and benefits of cultivating plants.

Leave a Comment