Dragon fruit (pitaya or pitahaya) is the common name for the fruits of several species of cacti from the genera Hylocereus and Stenocereus. It comes from South America, but today dragon fruit is common in Thailand, Japan, Australia, Israel, Hawaii, and Armenia.
Dragon fruit is fairly expensive (one fruit can cost $10-$15), so not many people have actually tried it. But is it really worth the money? What does dragon fruit even taste like?
What does dragon fruit taste like? Ripe dragon fruit has a mild syrupy sweet and grassy taste and honey-like pleasant aroma, while unripe dragon fruit tastes sour and bland. Ripe dragon fruit’s taste reminds of sweet kiwi, juicy watermelon, and pear. Pink dragon fruit has a more pronounced sweet flavor than the red one.
Does dragon fruit actually taste good? Fully ripe dragon fruit tastes extremely good – it has a very delicate creamy texture with tiny seeds, sweet honey-like flavor with herbal notes, attractive pink color, and subtle grassy aroma. Dragon fruit’s taste is similar to that of kiwi, banana, watermelon, and pear.
Dragon Fruit Ultimate Guide – Taste, Smell, How to Eat
The dragon fruit is the fruit of several varieties of cacti, so these exotic fruits can vary greatly in flavor. In addition, the quality of the dragon fruit depends on its ripeness, shelf life, age of the cactus, weather conditions during the fruiting period, and the country of growth. Dragon fruit is becoming more popular thanks to its unusual look and bright colors.
What does dragon fruit look like? Dragon fruit has a pink oval shape covered with smooth green scales. Dragon fruit has a white, soft, tender, creamy texture flesh with tiny little seeds reminding of poppy seeds. Dragon fruit usually weighs 150-300 g and is also called pitaya or strawberry pear.
Dragon fruit is oval in shape and is similar in size to a large apple. Usually, it weighs 150-300 g, but some fruit can weigh up to 800g! Dragon fruit has a bright yellow, pink, or slightly red peek and white flesh with tiny black seeds. Dragon fruit’s texture is similar to that of kiwi. Pitayas are fairly expensive and can cost up to $15 per fruit since it requires very careful transportation – dragon fruit starts deteriorating quickly after contact with other objects.
Dragon fruit has a neutral honey-like taste, but if the fruit is perfectly ripe, it will have a more pronounced sweet flavor with stronger grassy notes. The red dragon fruit with white flesh is less intense in flavor and sweetness than the pink flesh variety. Yellow dragon fruits have their own distinctive taste and aroma – they are slightly sweet and sour like a kiwi and a pear. The texture of the dragon fruit’s flesh is comparable to slightly unripe kiwi.
What does dragon fruit smell like? Dragon fruit has a light, fresh herbal aroma reminiscent of banana and kiwi. Ripe dragon fruit has a deeply sweet, creamy flavor and subtle grassy smell with hints of honey and caramel. Unripe dragon fruit has no odor or taste. Compared to other fruits, dragon fruit or pitaya is almost odorless, but its light aroma is reminiscent of that of banana and kiwi. To experience the real taste of dragon fruit, opt for ripe soft dragon fruits with a bright peel, dark green leaves, and a light grassy aroma.
If you have ever tried dragon fruit before, you might have been disappointed with its taste. Yes, sometimes dragon fruit can be tasteless, but why?
Why does dragon fruit taste like nothing? If your dragon fruit tastes like nothing, it is not ripe enough. Ripe dragon fruit always has a distinctly sweet, syrupy taste reminiscent of banana, pear, and watermelon. If your dragon fruit is tasteless, sour, firm, bitter, or bland, let it ripe for another 3-5 days.
It is important to choose high-quality dragon fruit to fully experience its sweet taste and grassy aroma, so we recommend you buy them in the shop in person. Delivery might sound like a good idea, but then you can end up with tasteless unripe or mushy overripe pitayas. If you decide to order pitayas online, opt for well-trusted shops with years of experience. Here are some useful tips on how to select ripe dragon fruit:
How can you tell if a dragon fruit is ripe? Ripe dragon fruit has a bright pink peel with dark green leaves, a subtly sweet aroma with grassy notes, and, most importantly, is soft like a ripe avocado. If dragon fruit is rock hard, has pale pink skin, and does not have any scent, let it ripe for another 3-5 days. If it is mushy, it is overripe.
How to Eat Dragon Fruit
How to eat dragon fruit? Most often, dragon fruit is cut in two halves and eaten with a spoon, and then the peel is thrown away. To make dragon fruit taste better, put it in the fridge for 1-3 hours. You can eat dragon fruit with other fruit like banana, pineapple, kiwi, pear, strawberries, or blueberries.
Due to its bright and unusual look, dragon fruit is often used to decorate holiday tables. It is recommended to serve the dragon fruit chilled so that its taste is more pronounced and tender. Tiny black seeds in the pulp have a lot of health benefits, but they must be chewed thoroughly to be digested. Most often, dragon fruit is cut in half and eaten with a spoon, but it can also be sliced like melon or watermelon. Dragon fruit goes well with other fruit, like bananas, pineapples, kiwi, pear, apples, etc.
How can I make my dragon fruit taste better? To make dragon fruit taste better, put it in the fridge for 2-4 hours as it tastes better cold, add honey or sprinkle sugar on it, slice it in half, and eat with a spoon. You can also make a fruit bowl by adding pineapple, kiwi, blueberries, banana, pear, or strawberries to dragon fruit.
Summer salad with pitaya is very popular as it is easy to make, has a lot of health benefits, and is delicious. The most important thing is to combine dragon fruit only with mild-flavored fruit like pear or banana to fully reveal the tender taste of the dragon fruit. Dragon fruit flesh is also used to make exotic cocktails and soft drinks.
If you want a refreshing shake, mix dragon fruit juice with green lime or lemon juice. Pitahaya is widely used in wine production. Dragon fruit is added to jams, cakes, pies, jellies, sauces for meat and fish, gravy, milk yogurts, ice cream, and sherbet. Dragon fruit really is versatile and is used in many dishes and drinks. In Thailand, pitayas are mainly used for desserts, soft and alcoholic drinks, wines, but they are also eaten raw.
Dragon Fruit Origin
Dragon fruit originates from Central and South America. The first mention of this fruit is found in the ancient history of the Aztecs. The Indians were very fond of eating the dragon heart fruit due to its unique honey-like taste and the ability to quench thirst since pitahaya is 85% water.
Currently, pitahaya is widespread throughout East Asia, but it also grows in Mexico, Japan, China, Australia, and even Israel. One ancient legend says that the pitahaya got its name thanks to its green scales, which outwardly resemble the scales of mythical dragons. This legend also says that the dragon fruit was obtained from a slain dragon.
The pitahaya plant is a climbing cactus up to 10 meters high, with long thorny branches on which flowers form, and then small cones turn into fruit. The pitaya flowers are very beautiful, large, and white. The peculiarity of the flowering of the plant is that the flowers bloom only at night and exude a very pleasant aroma.
Fruits are fully grown within 1-1.5 months. Ripe dragon fruit weighs about 200 g but sometimes can be as heavy as 1 kg. Dragon fruit growing is a very profitable business. The owners of the farms can harvest up to 30 tons from 1 hectare.
Dragon fruit is rich in vitamins, especially vitamin C, proteins, iron, fruit acids, antioxidants, fiber, dietary fiber, and minerals. The tiny black seeds contain a lot of tannins, which is good for eyesight, so it is important to chew the seeds before swallowing.
Pitaya eliminates toxins, improves bowel function, helps with bloating, neutralizes free radicals that are harmful to the body, improves well-being in chronic diseases and arthritis, and regulates blood sugar levels, which is especially necessary for people with diabetes. Dragon fruits strengthen the immune system and are a good prevention of respiratory diseases and asthma.
Dragon Fruit Ultimate Guide – Taste, Smell, How to Eat FAQ
Is dragon fruit sweet or bitter? Ripe dragon fruit has a subtly sweet floral flavor with hints of honey and never tastes bitter. If your dragon fruit tastes bitter, bland, or sour, it is not ripe yet. To ensure a dragon fruit has a nice sweet flavor, you should buy only the fruit that has a bright pink color with smooth skin.
What does a bad dragon fruit taste like? Bad dragon fruit has a bitter, sour, bland taste, loose, wrinkled skin, and dark green leaves. Some say that a bad dragon fruit tastes like dirt, soap, and rotten bananas. We do not recommend eating bad dragon fruits to avoid an upset stomach and unpleasant taste.