Dragon fruit has become very popular in recent years. As such, you may have asked yourself, “What does dragon fruit taste like?” To better answer this question, let’s discuss this interesting fruit in greater detail.
In this guide, we’re breaking down dragon fruit and answering common questions surrounding it. Here, you’ll learn where this food comes originates from, how it tastes, how to best use it, and what kind of health benefits it possesses.
As you’ll soon discover, there’s more to dragon fruit than just its attractive looks.
What Is Dragon Fruit?
Dragon fruit is a unique tropical fruit, or more precisely, a cactus fruit. With its vivid outer red flesh, it’s easy to see why so many people are curious about this food. As with many other unique tropical fruits, you can find dragon fruit in Central and South America, Vietnam, and Southeast Asia.
However, dragon fruit is grown all over the world today, making this exotic treat more widely available than it used to be. When you cut the fruit, it reveals a bright white center with tiny seeds, similar to kiwi fruit.
If you’ve seen dragon fruit firsthand, you’d be forgiven for assuming that it tastes as interesting as it looks. Based on the foods we’re used to seeing, dragon fruit looks more like an exotic candy or treat. Eating this fruit, however, presents a different experience altogether.
Also known as strawberry pear, dragon fruit tastes odd compared to the traditional fruits we’ve all come to know and love. As such, it’s important to read up on this food from Central America. In doing so, you will have a much better idea of what to expect, so you aren’t taken aback by its flavor.
What Does Dragon Fruit Taste Like?
When eating dragon fruit, you will enjoy a slightly sweet, mild kiwi-ish flavor and texture. But that’s only if you’re able to get ripe fruit. You see, the difference between a ripe and unripe is quite stark. In fact, unripe fruit has a decidedly bland taste with a hint of sourness.
Finding a ripe one is a challenge all unto itself. And since dragon fruit’s flavor is dictated by its rarity, good dragon fruit is expensive. If you are able to get your hands on ripe dragon fruit, you’ll be treated to a much more enjoyable experience.
For one thing, the taste is definitely sweeter. What’s more, ripe varieties have more dragon fruit juice, which helps to improve the texture considerably. As with many other types of food, texture can make a significant difference in the eating experience.
If food has a texture that is pleasant, you are far more likely to enjoy other aspects, such as the way it tastes. Think of ripe kiwi compared to unripe kiwi. Ripe kiwi isn’t as slimy, making for a more enjoyable food.
How Can You Tell Which Ones Are Ripe?
The single best way to determine whether a dragon fruit is ripe is by examining its skin. Whereas other fruits can be felt or cut in half, neither of these methods applies to this food. In fact, telling the difference between a ripe and unripe one is only reached by the consistency of its skin.
Ripe dragon fruit will appear as one even color and with evenly colored skin. Conversely, dragon fruit that is overripe will have blotches. Ones that are still in the process of ripening will be uneven in color.
Inside dragon fruit, nothing changes, even as it ripens. You will always see a white interior. On the outside of most dragon fruit are spiky wings; these serve as your guide to better determine the fruit’s status. The only variety that doesn’t have these spikes is yellow, but more on that in a moment.
For example, ripe dragon fruits’ spikes sport yellow skin with brown edges. If you buy a dragon fruit that has not yet turned these colors, it’s best to wait until it does. Elsewise, you’ll be left with a portion of tasteless food.
Storing Dragon Fruit
Cut dragon fruit lasts about a week. Stash fruit you’re not going to immediately eat in your refrigerator crisper drawer. If you have sliced up pieces, place them in a sealed plastic bag, as this will help prevent juice and mess from getting everywhere.
It’s important that you keep your strawberry pear either cool or at room temperature. Because this tropical fruit is difficult to pick ripe, many farmers will pick it early. And in doing so, their fruit has a better chance of surviving transport without going bad. Even still, there’s a very high possibility that you’ll buy an unripe fruit because of the aforementioned practice.
With some patience, you can look forward to your fruit tasting a lot better. For some people, this food is an acquired taste. Dragon fruit tastes unlike traditional varieties, making it a truly unique experience. where one person might love to eat dragon fruit, another might hate it.
As such, you may need to give yourself time to get acclimated to its blandness. Moreover, you might also want to start out mixing the food with other foods and ingredients. Then, slowly transition to just dragon fruit by itself.
Don’t be afraid to try your own recipes to maximize the taste of this food. You can find many different resources online for how to best use dragon fruit.
What Are the Types of Dragon Fruit?
While there are actually several different varieties of dragon fruit varieties, the most common kinds you are likely to see are red, white, and yellow.
And although the red varieties are typically seen in pictures online, it’s the white flesh fruit that is the most common of all. Yellow dragon fruit varieties, on the other hand, are found primarily in Southeast Asia, making them the most obscure, comparatively.
While these three dragon fruit types might look different, they all share the same taste. Furthermore, the white flesh fruit tends to be the kind with the least amount of taste. You’ll have to either trust the product label or cut into the food to determine whether it’s ripe.
The variety with the most amount of flavor is yellow. And although it doesn’t have spikes to help you tell whether it’s ripe, it’s a lot easier to tell by its flesh color. If you want to eat dragon fruit, you’re probably better off sticking with the yellow variety.
Ans whereas red and white dragon fruits can be tough to tell which ones are ripe and which ones aren’t, ripe yellow ones are much easier to assess.
Given how challenging it is to tell which dragon fruits are good, you usually best to take the product label at its word and go from there.
How to Eat Dragon Fruit
While it’s true that strawberry pears are generally pretty bland, they have become increasingly popular thanks to their potential health benefits. When you eat dragon fruit, you’re getting vitamin C, fiber, and omega-three fatty acids.
To help get around the lack of flavor, many people will add the food to smoothies that contain a lot of other flavorful foods. If you wish to eat dragon fruit on its own, however, there are a few different ways to do so.
One is simply to eat it using a spoon. To do so, cut the food with a sharp knife, either in half or across. Then scoop out the inside with a spoon and enjoy. Another method is to cut the food into quarters and peel off its flesh.
It’s worth noting that dragon fruit is quite slippery when peeled, very similar to kiwi fruit. As such, you’ll need to use caution when cutting sections on a plate. Furthermore, the skin makes for a challenging venture if you’re used to handling the slick flesh.
Always use ripe dragon fruit, as you’re sure to get the most flavor this way. Remember, you can choose between red, white, and yellow varieties, each with its own level of flavor.
Since dragon fruit flavor ranges from minimal to very little, you might want to eat it with other ingredients, such as in a fruit salad. Read on to find out how you can make the most of your food for the best experience.
Related: What Does Paprika Taste Like?
Preparing Dragon Fruit
As mentioned, you’re more than welcome to try this food by itself. If you don’t want anything interfering with what flavor there is, try eating a strawberry pear on its own.
But to maximize its flavor, cut the food into small pieces and drop them into yogurt of your choice. Dragon fruit with chopped nuts a nice little snack, too. But if you want to ensure a tastier treat, use a topping like honey.
Fruit salads or smoothies are likely to be your best bet, as you’ll still get all of the healthy benefits while enjoying the best taste possible.
Try mixing up smoothies with various ingredients until you find the one that you like the most. Remember, don’t be afraid to experiment with different foods. If you need a hand with this, the internet is an excellent resource for recommending how to make the most of your dragon fruit.
There are numerous online communities that regularly share new and exciting recipes for all things related to this food. As such, you can be sure to learn a seemingly endless supply of ideas, thus ensuring that your dragon fruit recipes never get boring.
You might also try adding frozen pieces of the food to a fun, single-serving bowl of ice cream. You’re probably better off avoiding flavors like chocolate and sticking with vanilla or fruit-flavored ice cream, however.
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Potential Health Benefits
While this food has small amounts of beneficial nutrients, it’s also a good source of fiber, iron, and magnesium. For a single, 3.5-ounce serving of dragon fruit, you’ll get the following:
- 10% of your daily intake of magnesium
- 3% of your daily intake of vitamin C
- 4% of your daily intake of iron
- 1.2 grams of protein
- 13 grams of carbs
- 3 grams of fiber
- 0 grams of fat
- 60 calories
With so few calories and high magnesium and fiber, this food earns its place as a nutrient-dense food. Let’s look at some other ways this food can benefit your health. If you are serious about improving your health and want natural ways to boost it, this food is an excellent place to start.
Dragon fruit black seeds are known for containing several different types of antioxidants. These compounds help to protect your cells from free radicals, unstable molecules that are linked to aging, and a variety of chronic illnesses.
What’s more, the vitamin and antioxidant compounds assist in improving skin.
The following are a few of the main antioxidants found in the pulp of the food:
These antioxidants are found in the red pulp of red dragon fruit. As deep red pigments, betalains have been shown to fight against bad LDL cholesterol and keep it from becoming oxidized or damaged.
Thanks to the cognitive benefits of flavonoids, these diverse antioxidants may improve brain health and function. What’s more, there is even evidence to support reducing the risk of heart diseases.
Hydroxycinnamates are a group of compounds that have shown to exhibit anti-cancer properties in various studies.
It’s truly impressive just how many antioxidants are benefited from dragon fruit. It’s so much so that one study revealed this food to provide the same antioxidative properties as 17 fruits and berries.
And even though the antioxidant capacity of this food isn’t especially high, it still ranks as the best in protecting some fatty acids from harmful radicals. Much of this likely thanks to the antioxidant and fiber content.
Moreover, lab tests on mice reveal that both red and white dragon fruit varieties aid in reducing insulin resistance and fatty liver.
In one particular study on mice eating a high-fat diet, those that were given a fruit extract actually experienced weight loss. What’s more, those mice benefited from reduced liver fat, less resistance to insulin, lower inflammation, and improved gut health.
The latter is due to dragon fruit containing a prebiotic fiber. This fiber aids in the growth of good bacteria in the gut, which may potentially improve metabolic health.
Related: What Do Truffles Taste Like?
Possible Adverse Effects
Although this fruit might improve some aspects of type 2 diabetes – namely, metabolic syndrome – not all effects may be favorable.
For example, a study conducted on mice eating a diet high in fat and carbs revealed that the group receiving dragon fruit juice had improved blood sugar responses. What’s more, there were reductions in some liver enzyme markers, yet another liver enzyme marker went way up.
And yet in another study, diabetic rats were treated with an extract from the fruit that showed a reduction in malondialdehyde of 35%, a marker of free-radical damage. This also seemed to reduce arterial stiffness compared to mice within the control group.
Finally, there have been studies on the effects of dragon fruit and diabetic people. However, the results are inconsistent. As such, more research is needed before definitive answers can be given on the topic of study.
Final Thoughts on Dragon Fruit Taste
There’s no arguing that dragon fruit lacks anything substantial in the flavor department. In fact, it’s pretty bland. However, that’s not the main attraction with this unique fruit. Given its incredible properties that aid in immune system health, heart disease prevention, and skin health, it’s easy to see why more people are turning to dragon fruit.