If you’ve ever seen a dragon fruit before then you’ve probably wondered what it would taste like.
After all, it look like it should taste amazing, doesn’t it ? All spiky and pink and the inside just looks gorgeous. You see it in so many photos and videos, from influencers to cooks to trendy friends of yours.
So let’s see if dragon fruit tastes like anything, and if yes than what is that taste ? This will ultimately judge whether it’s worth buying this expensive fruit or not.
So what does dragon fruit taste like?
Dragon fruit has a light, slightly sweet flavor that reminds folks of a cross between a pear and a watermelon, with the consistency of a kiwi.
However, its taste does not live up its exquisite looks. The fruit’s flavor differs when ripe and when unripe, and picking a ripe one is very difficult.
Dragon fruit does not have a definite taste when unripe; that is why most people say it tastes like nothing.
Ripe dragon fruit has a slightly sweet and syrupy taste, while an unripe one tastes bland with some sourness.
Moreover, it is not easy to tell the fruit’s real taste because the taste can differ from one person to another. What may taste very sweet to one person may taste very plain to another, so dragon fruit’s flavor is a bit elusive.
What is dragon fruit?
Dragon fruit rose in popularity along with travel bloggers and vloggers, who started exploring more of Asia and exposed the West to more exotic fruits, foods, and locations.
This is probably how you’ve seen your first image of a dragon fruit as well.
Dragon fruit, commonly known as strawberry pear or pitahaya, is an exotic tropical cactus fruit that thrives in arid places. The fruit is native to Central America, but is commercially cultivated in Vietnam and most of Southeast Asia.
It got its name “dragon fruit “because of the fire-like flower that grows from the fruit.
Varieties of dragon fruit
There are several dragon fruit varieties, but the most common ones are white, red, and yellow.
The white type is more common than the red one, with the yellow being mostly found in Southeast Asia.
These varieties have a similar taste and outside appearance, and you can differentiate them by looking at the fruit’s sticker label.
Unfortunately the white variety, which you will only know by cutting the fruit open or trusting the label, is the blandest.
Next, the red dragon fruit is more flavorful but is a bit harder to find, while the yellow variety is very easy to spot. It’s bright yellow, and white on the inside, but the outside doesn’t have the green spikes.
The yellow dragon fruit is widely appreciated as the best tasting dragon fruit out there, but isn’t easy to access if you’re not from Southeast Asia.
As discussed, dragon fruit can be a real bummer if it’s not yet ripe. The trouble is that ripe and unripe dragon fruit look very similar, so you will need some tips to pick out a good one.
How to tell if dragon fruit is ripe
You will tell if dragon fruit is ripe or not from its skin. This means you will not be able to trust the way the fruit feels in your hand, or even a halved fruit.
The inside of the fruit won’t change color as it ripens, but will stay the same.
Once ripe dragon fruit skin color becomes even, the wings turn yellow, and the edges start browning. The fruit is overripe if its skin has splotches or dark spots.
You can keep the fruit in a refrigerator or keep it at room temperature.
All that being said, keep in mind that dragon fruit is a very difficult fruit to pick out. The farmers will harvest the fruit a little early, so it doesn’t spoil during transport.
This leads to some fruits being unripe and thus not very tasty.
How to eat the dragon fruit
Despite the fruit’s sometimes bland taste, most people are using it because of its widespread benefits (aside from looking cool).
It has fiber, vitamin C, and omega-three fatty acids contained in its seeds. Due to its subtle taste, the fruit is in most cases blended with other fruits in frozen bowls or smoothies.
Here is a simple way to eat the dragon fruit: cut the fruit crosswise or in length, and eat its flesh using a spoon. You can also cut the fruit in quarters, peel off its skin starting from the pointed edge, if you want to extract the flesh with ease.
- Pick a ripe fruit, it should have evenly colored skin, which is red, deep pink, or yellow.
- Using a knife, slice the fruit in half by cutting straight through it.
- Peel off the skin and slice the flesh up or use a spoon to consume it.
The fruit may slide a little on the plate or in your hand, much like a peeled kiwi. Exercise caution, especially if you’re using a sharp knife.
By eating dragon fruit as is you’re going to experience its full flavor, with nothing else added. But if you think it needs a little boost, here are some ideas.
What to add to dragon fruit
The fruit has a simple preparation; it can be paired with other meals in a balanced recipe or eaten independently.
- You can cut the fruit into small pieces and eat it as-is. Most folks claim this isn’t the best way, as the bland ones will be really disappointing.
- Slice dragon fruit into small pieces and eat it with chopped nuts and Greek yogurt. A drizzle of honey would help too.
- Add chopped dragon fruit to a salad, whether it’s a fruit salad or vegetable salad is up to you
- Add frozen dragon fruit chunks to smoothies to create a creamy bowl, similar to soft serve ice cream.
Benefits of eating dragon fruit
You’ll notice that when you ask folks what they love most about dragon fruit, they won’t necessarily say it tastes so great.
Dragon fruit can taste great, if you find a good one. But what most people fixate on are the health benefits, and it sounds like one of the biggest reasons to eat dragon fruit.
So here are some of the most important health reason to eat dragon fruit, aside from flavor.
1. Dragon fruit is great for skincare
Due to its high antioxidant content, this fruit is a natural therapy for beauty. For instance, Southeast Asians believe that making a paste of the pitahaya and applying it to their faces can make them look younger longer. The paste is also a good remedy for sunburns and acne.
2. Help in fighting against chronic disease
Dragon fruit is highly rich in antioxidants which neutralize free radicals that cause chronic disease—therefore protecting cells from inflammation and damage. According to research, antioxidants can prevent chronic illnesses like cancer, arthritis, heart diseases, and diabetes.
The following are some of the antioxidants contained in the dragon fruit.
- Betalains – They can fight oxidative stress besides suppressing cancer cells.
- Vitamin C – High intakes of vitamin C reduces the risks of neck and head cancer.
- Carotenoids – Dragon fruit gets its color from Lycopene and Beta-Carotene plant pigments. Carotenoid rich diets protect against heart disease and cancer.
3. Rich magnesium source
Unlike other types of fruits, dragon fruit provides a higher amount of magnesium. Studies show that magnesium is essential in our everyday life, and other sources are cocoa powder, nuts, and avocado to name a few.
4. Dragon fruit promotes a healthy gut
Out guts have trillions of diverse microorganisms, including good and bad bacteria. These microorganisms might lead to heart diseases and asthma if a severe imbalance happens. Dragon fruit is said to be a good remedy for this as it can regulate that balance.
The fruit contains probiotics, which have the potential of balancing the microorganisms. If you regularly consume probiotics, you will reduce the digestive tract infections and diarrhea.
5. Boosts the immune system
Dragon fruit has carotenoids and vitamin C, which strengthens the immune system. They prevent infections by protecting white blood cells from damage
6. Dragon fruit can boost iron levels
Like other fruits, fresh dragon fruit is a good iron supplement. Iron is an essential constituent in the transportation and distribution of oxygen around the body.
It also aids in the break down of food to provide energy. If you have a low amount of iron, dragon fruit is a perfect option for you.
The fruit contains about 4% recommended daily intake of iron per single serving. Additionally, the fruit has high vitamin C content for excellent absorption of iron.
Generally, dragon fruit seems to be safe, but this is not the case for everyone. Some people develop allergies after consuming the fruit, although these are rare instances.
According to studies, there are only two reported cases of an allergic reaction caused by the fruit.
Dragon fruit can be tasteless indeed, if you find an unripe one.
If you do find a ripe dragon fruit it will be mildly sweet and very refreshing. Like watermelon, kiwi, and pear, the water content is very high and it’s a very juicy fruit.
Dragon fruit has vibrant color, and is good source of essential body nutrients. Even if you do stumble upon a bland one, it’s going to go great in a smoothie.
If you’ve got any other food curiosities be sure to check the related articles below, we’re always adding more food facts to make your life that much easier.