The dragon fruit (or pitaya) is not your everyday healthy fruit snack. It’s an exotic delicacy with a unique taste, packed with healthy vitamins and minerals. But what does dragon fruit taste like?
Ripe dragon fruit tastes mildly sweet and is generally described as a mix of kiwi and pear. The texture is soft and juicy, similar to a kiwi. If a dragon fruit tastes like nothing, it is usually not ripe yet.
The common way to eat the fruit is to cut it open and remove the white flesh (some varieties are red inside). Raw dragon fruit can be mixed into smoothies, juices, but can also be eaten as is. The skin is also edible, it is usually cooked into an Indonesian stir-fry, or used to brew tea.
The Exotic Taste Of Dragon Fruit
Most people will know the famous pink-colored pitaya with bright white flesh. But there are a few more widely available varieties with slightly different flavors. Let’s explore the most important ones below, starting with the most well-known variety.
White Dragon Fruit (Selenicereus undatus)
The pitaya blanca or white dragon fruit is the most commonly found variety. You can find them in supermarkets around the world, where they are sold as fresh fruits, or processed in juices or frozen products.
Flavor-wise, the white dragon fruit is most akin to a blend of kiwi and pear. It is sweet, but not excessively sweet. The fruit does not have a sour aftertaste, since it is barely acidic.
Texture-wise, the white dragon fruit can best be compared to the kiwifruit. The abundant crunchy black seeds combined with the soft, juicy flesh give it a kiwi-like experience and mouthfeel.
Red Dragon Fruit (Selenicereus costaricensis)
The pitaya roja or red dragon fruit doesn’t only have a different color, but the taste is different from the white dragon fruit as well. It has a much richer, noticeably sweeter, and more berry-like flavor.
The red variety is perfect for those with a preference for sweeter fruits. The higher sweetness also means that red dragon fruit is appreciated more by babies and children. It’s an entry-level dragon fruit that is loved by all ages.
The pink-red exterior of this healthy snack won’t just look great in your fruit mix, but the rich flavor will be preferred over the more traditional white-fleshed pitaya.
Yellow Dragon Fruit (Selenicereus megalanthus)
The pitaya amarilla or yellow dragon fruit is the sweetest of all dragon fruit varieties, with a floral undertone. Despite its yellow appearance, it has no flavor resemblance with citrus fruits and is practically non-acidic.
Not only is the yellow variety the sweetest of them all, it also has the juiciest and smoothest texture. This is despite being the smallest dragon fruit (when compared to the white and red varieties). The flavor will remind you a lot of lychees.
The yellow pitaya is even richer in flavor than the red variety. For the most part, it also lacks those big green leaves on the skin. They are reduced to small green prickly spots instead.
Does Dragon Fruit Taste Good Or Bad?
Most people would consider the sweet flavor of dragon fruit to taste good. Some might think the texture of the seeds makes dragon fruit taste bad, but this comes down to personal preference.
If you enjoy eating kiwis and are not bothered by a lot of small edible seeds, the relatively mild flavor of the dragon fruit will appeal to you. Some people might dislike the texture, but eat dragon fruits mainly for their many health benefits.
If you want your fruits to give you a nice extra flavor kick, choose a red or even a yellow dragon fruit instead. These will generally be even sweeter and their flavors are considerably stronger. You can also enhance the flavor by mixing in other ingredients.
How To Make Dragon Fruit Taste Better
Enhancing the relatively mild flavors of ordinary dragon fruit does not need to be difficult. First of all, make sure your dragon fruit has sufficiently ripened. That’s the time window where the best flavors come out.
Additionally, you can simply add some compatible ingredients to make your exotic snack taste even better. Here are some quick suggestions to get the best out of your fruits:
- Make an exotic fruit mix with compatible fruits, such as kiwi, pineapple, pear, orange, banana, or strawberries;
- Experiment with blending the fruit pulp into a smoothie, slush puppy, or milkshake;
- Add some dragon fruit to yogurt or ice cream to create the ultimate dessert;
- Consider mixing the edible flesh in pastries, pies, or other baked goods.
Unripe Dragon Fruit Is Tasteless
It must be noted that ripe dragon fruit usually does not have a very strong flavor. However, this is especially true for unripe pitayas. If you cut open a pitaya that’s still hard, it will not only be difficult to eat, but also very hard to taste anything.
If you notice that your dragon fruit tastes like nothing, it is most likely unripe, or it is starting to go bad. Tasteless dragon fruit is not in its ripe stage that is optimal for consumption.
Another explanation for a lack of taste might have a medical cause. Elderly people tend to have a harder time smelling and tasting foods, so this might contribute to the lack of any taste in fruits. Other causes can be related to an infection of the lungs, which could be affecting your sense of smell or taste.