I was chugging down the fruit aisle in Sainsbury’s the other night when a most unusual looking specimen caught my eye. Shaped like an avocado or a paw-paw, it had a hot pink skin that curled out in leaf-like flaps tinged green at the end and seemed impossibly exotic next to the apples and bananas to which I’ve become so accustomed. I had to have it.
Labelled as a ‘Sharon’ fruit, Sainsbury’s advised that it be eaten like an apple. I had my doubts, but took it home anyway and that evening, after dinner, brought out my ‘Sharon’ fruit for closer inspection. It felt ripe – firm but squishy like an avocado would – and ready for eating. But those flaps clearly meant that the skin should come off.
And so, feeling like a monkey with his first banana, I peeled back the thick layers of pink skin, and lo and behold, what a treat lay beneath! A dark pink, juicy flesh flecked with hundreds of tiny black seeds, it screamed “EAT ME! I’m delicious!”
And indeed it was: succulent and delicately sweet, like a papaya but less dense, or a kiwi but less tart – it immediately bumped mango off the top spot on my favourite fruits list.
Of course, as I suspected, it is not called a ‘Sharon’ fruit and should not be eaten like an apple. It is, in fact, a ‘Dragon’ fruit or ‘Pitaya’ and hails from South-East Asian as well as Central and South American countries. Apparently the flesh can also be white with black seeds, so I’ll have to try and seek out one of those and compare.
Either way, this fruit is a joy: beautiful, tactile and tasty and a marvellous new discovery. Who’d have guessed Sainsbury’s would be the one to deliver it?
P.S – this is what a ‘Sharon’ Fruit looks like….