The Dragon fruit, also known as the strawberry pear or pitahaya, is one of those fruits that commands the kind of recognition that other bland fruits such as the cantaloupe can only dream of.
Typically, this fruit is exotic, considering its outside appearance of a reddish-pink flesh, partially covered in flourishing, green leaves.
Once you slice it open, you will notice that its flesh is as well appealing with a white, inside pulp stippled with small, black seeds.
Its flavor is very refreshing and mildly sweet, perfect for summer.
Furthermore, its name speaks volumes for it, like “I’m special, and I know it!” For this reason, the dragon fruit has gained itself some positive reputation, similar to that which has thrust other exotic fruits such as Dorian into worldwide popularity.
Those who have set out shopping for this fruit have already realized that it is not among the cheapest fruits you can find on the market. Although you won’t have to pay as much for the dragon fruit compared to Yubari melon, it’s quite pricey.
But why is dragon fruit expensive ? And is its fresh look and sweetness worth the extra penny? Let’s find out !
The main reasons dragon fruit is so expensive
As you know fruits and vegetables can be expensive. But dragon fruit just takes the cake. For most folks dragon fruit is so expensive it’s not really worth buying that often, health benefits or not.
But it looks so strange and enticing that you can’t really help yourself, can you ?
Here’s the main reasons dragon fruit is expensive.
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1. Dragon Fruit is an Exotic Fruit, thus Expensive
First and foremost, the dragon fruit is often an import- this can significantly raise its price.
The Food Network estimates that one piece of this exotic fruit can cost you an estimated $10. Considering it’s not much bigger than a standard mango fruit, this is a lot to pay.
As expected, there must be some reasons why this ‘small’ fruit will cost you that much.
Let’s start by stating that this is a native fruit from Mexico, South and Central America; hence much of it gets imported into the US, even though much of our imports come from Vietnam.
This reason alone accounts for the fruit’s higher price tag compared to some of our country’s native fruits, i.e., the tasty red apples.
Nevertheless, Hawaii, California, and Florida do grow dragon fruit. But as highlighted in the New York Times, natural calamities like wildfires, droughts, or hurricanes sometimes significantly affect the economy of these states, particularly the agricultural sector.
Besides, the dragon fruit’s harvest season happens from June to September. According to the Agricultural Marketing Resource Center, this, coincidentally, is also the time when hurricanes and wildfires strike these areas.
So, Americans are only left with one option- get reliable supplies of this fruit through imports, at an extra cost.
2. The Demand for Dragon Fruit Exceeds Supply
Like other commercial products and even services, the law of supply and demand determines its cost- so, the dragon fruit is no exception.
The New York Times has highlighted how this fruit’s attractive nature has gathered hype among American citizens in recent years.
Besides, statistics released by the Agricultural Marketing Resource Center show that the demand for this fruit exceeds the currently available supply in the US, hence accounting for the higher price tag.
3. Dragon Fruit Takes a Long Time to Grow
As it turns out dragon fruit really takes its sweet time growing. From the moment the seed germinates until an actual flower will bloom, it can be over half a year.
Then, another couple of years until the first fruit appears.
Considering you need entire farms of dragon fruit to harvest from, planting a crop and waiting for it several years is a way of losing money.
So farmers have to up the price, in order to cover their losses. This is reflected into the final price we pay, as consumers.
4. Dragon Fruit Has Numerous Health Benefits
Typically, organic vegetables and fruits cost more than ordinary varieties. Well, the organic dragon fruit might go even up to double its price.
Taking out $10 to get one may seem way off, but that does not shell fans from exploring its multiple health benefits.
As with many other fruits and vegetables such as avocado, berries, and even soy the fact that dragon fruit is considered a healthy food drives the price up.
It’s right up there with the ‘organic’ and ‘sustainable’ foods in terms of price.
Fortunately, you do not have to reside in the tropics to explore the benefits of this fruit. You can easily get it frozen or fresh in food stores worldwide.
Now, let’s dive into some of its health benefits. This will helps us really understand why so many folks claim this fruit is the epitome of health.
Dragon fruit is very low on calories but contains numerous essential minerals and vitamins, such as Vitamins C, E, magnesium, etc. These nutrients help with boosting the immune system and low iron levels.
Besides, it’s rich in dietary fiber, which is well known for helping digestion. In addition to vital nutrients, the dragon fruits contain useful plant compounds, such as carotenoids, betacyanins, and polyphenols.
The dragon fruit is also packed with antioxidants, making it useful in fighting chronic diseases like arthritis, cancer, diabetes, and cardiovascular problems.
Also, some outlets like the New York Times have hinted that over the last decade there has been growing concern by the health community into the significance of dragon fruit to one’s gut health.
This fruit is rich in prebiotics, which can significantly enhance the balance of beneficial bacteria in your gut- the bifidobacteria and lactic acid bacteria. For instance, taking prebiotics can reduce diarrhea and reduce infection risk in one’s digestive tract.
All in all dragon fruit seems to be not only good looking but also a really healthy food item to add to your diet.
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Avoid the Pricey Cost of Dragon Fruit by Farming it
So, are you the health-conscious or foodie who loves taking this tasty exotic fruit often, but don’t want to have to continue paying the high price for it, weeks on end?
Well, you might be fortunate enough if you reside in a humid or warm climate, for instance, South Florida or own a greenhouse. You can easily avoid the fruit’s high cost by farming your own.
Because the dragon fruit is among the cactus family, one can grow this fruit by cutting through the stem of a pre-existing plant or from seed. Bear in mind that plants grown from the seeds take up several years before they start producing fruit.
Thus, the former method should serve you better if you wish to enjoy some dragon fruit smoothie as soon as possible.
Note that the unripe dragon fruit is usually green. So, when picking one from your garden, go for the bright red one. It might have some spots, but not too many as this should tell you it is overripe. Similar to kiwi and avocado, the ripe fruit will be soft, but not slushy.
To sum up, the dragon fruit will probably be not as cheap as other fruits in your local grocery store. Nonetheless, its exotic, appealing look and numerous health benefits are worth the extra cost.
So, if you’re looking to incorporate some variety into your fruit intake, this tropical fruit should be your best pick.
Dragon fruit can be quite expensive but if you get a good one it can be worth it. It is not always the case since the most common one is the white dragon fruit which can be underwhelming and if it’s imported to your country there are big chances it is not the best one.
I don’t want to discourage you from buying dragon fruit, you can try it for sure, even if it’s expensive you can still buy only one piece.