What Does Dragon Fruit Taste Like?


What Does Dragon Fruit Taste Like
Dragon Fruit Taste

After reading so much about Dragon Fruit and all of its benefits I really wanted to see for myself what this exotic fruit actually tasted like. Was it a unique flavour or something very sweet, maybe sour or some combination of sweet and sour? Well the best and only way to find out is to buy the fruit and eat some. Of course, on the internet you will get a variety of answers, however not only will we tell you what it tastes like but also give you the reasons why it may taste the way it does.

Dragon fruit generally has a very mild slightly sweet taste with a texture that is smooth and soft and slightly crunchy due to the abundant small seeds scattered throughout the flesh. The taste could be described as very bland and the texture somewhat like that of kiwi fruit with no or little sweetness. However, with this smooth subtle taste, they tend to have a fair bit of juice, and the yellow type tends to be the sweetest as in the case of the Yellow Dragon.

So now let’s delve into the reasons why the dragon fruit may be described as tasting like nothing or at best mildly sweet.

First, you must remember that there are three different types of dragon fruit. You have the pink-skinned fruit with white flesh, red-skinned fruit with red flesh, yellow-skinned fruit with white flesh.

Sugar Dragon and Yellow Dragon
Sugar Dragon and Yellow Dragon

Of the yellow variety you have Colombian Yellow, Peruvian Yellow, Isis Gold, Ecuador Palora.

These are the 4 Yellow dragon varieties that are known as of now.

Each of these different varieties have a different sweetness level, so depending on what variety you actually tasted you might say its very bland, or in the case of the Yellow Dragon which happens to be the sweetest you might say it was refreshingly sweet.

I have put together a chart below based on the Brix score of the sweetness levels of different dragon fruit. The Brix score is a measurement of sweetness. The higher the Brix score the sweeter tasting the fruit. As a comparison Honey has a Brix Score of around 70 to 80, and a banana has a Brix score of around 18.

However, in saying this it appears the fruits pH level also plays a bearing on the taste and flavour of a particular fruit.

The red dragon fruit variety in general only has a Brix between 8 and 10, so the yellow dragons 24 Brix score makes the taste difference like comparing day to night.

In the chart below we give the Yellow Dragon a Brix score of 21.15. The lower value could be due to where it is grown and how early it is picked. But regardless it still has one of the highest Brix scores, making it one of the sweetest tasting Dragon Fruit along with the Sugar Dragon which has a Brix score of around 22.00

Does Dragon Fruit Have Sweet Taste – Chart

VarietyOriginSkin ColorFlesh ColorBrix ScoreFlavor
CebraNicaraguaRedRed15.75Sweet grape-like flavor
RosaNicaraguaRedRed16.05Mild lemon flavor
OrejonaNicaraguaRedRed15.78Sweet exotic flavor
LisaNicaraguaRedRed17.02Sweet strawberry flavor
Sin EspinasNicaraguaPurpleRed16.05Sweet with a good flavor
San IgnacioNicaraguaRedRed15.06semi-sweet good flavor
MexicanaMexicoPurpleWhite14.04very showy, with a pleasant acidity aftertaste
ColombianaSan Diego-ColoradoYellowWhite20.90sweet, strawberry/kiwi like flavor
Valdivia RojaMexicoRedRed17.9nice sweetness
Bien Hoa RedSan DiegoGreenFuchsia18.9flavorful, sweet flesh, juicy
Bien Hoa WhiteSan DiegoPurpleWhite11.85mild taste
DelightSan DiegoRedPurple White18.08delightful flavor
American’s BeautyFloridaGreenFuchsia18.51Good Flavor
Haley’s CometFlorida RedDark Pink16.7sweet
Physical GraffitiFloridaRedPurple17.93Sweet with a good flavor
Vietnamese GiantFloridaPurple RedWhite15.6tangy, with watermelon texture
Yellow DragonFlorida-ColumbiaYellowWhite21.15Sweet with a very good flavor
Seoul KitchenFloridaPurple RedWhite12.18Sweet
ArmandoNicaraguaRedRed16.11slight sweetness
Sugar DragonAmazon RainforestRedRed22.0Sweet with an excellent flavor
El GrulloMexicoRedRed18.11nice sweetness, beet-like flavor
Bloody MaryCaliforniaRedDark Red15.00Semisweet, with a good flavor
AliceCaliforniaBright PinkWhite16.00Semisweet, with a good flavor
Cosmic CharlieCaliforniaPinkPink16.00Grape/kiwi
flavor
Costa Rican SunsetCosta RicaPinkDark Red16.00Good flavor
Dark StarCaliforniaPinkPink18.00Mild grape flavor
David BowieCaliforniaBright PinkWhite16.00Sweet tangy flavor
DelightCaliforniaBright PinkWhite20.00Sweet flavor
GuyuteCentral AmericaPinkWhiteSweet flavor
HarpuaCentral AmericaBright PinkWhiteSemi sweet with a mild melon flavor
L.A. WomenCaliforniaBright PinkWhite17.00Sweet with a bad aftertaste
Lake AtitlanGuatemalaBright PinkWhite19.00Sweet and tangy type flavor
MakisupaCentral AmericaPinkDark Pink19.5Sweet with a slightly astringent flavor
Data above was compiled thanks to ageconsearch.umn.edu* and ucanr.edu*

As you can see above there are a number of varieties of dragon fruit, but some are actually the same variety but known by a few different names.

What Does Dragon Fruit Taste Like?
What Does Dragon Fruit Taste Like?

Other factors also to consider with dragon fruit taste, even with the same dragon fruit variety, are the growing conditions.

The first thing to consider is the type of soil. What the actual pH level of the soil is can affect the taste of the fruit. The soil nutrition as in the fertilizer used and the types of minerals added to the soil can also affect the fruit. Generally, the better the soil, as in the more nutrients, the sweeter the fruit.

For example, adding potash or potassium along with nitrogen and phosphorous can also help in the taste of the fruit. Chicken manure is good to place around the base of the plants but it doesn’t contain the potassium that the plant needs so this should be added. The potash will help sweeten the fruit.

If you tasted a dragon fruit that you bought in a local supermarket or store then chances are it’s imported and commercially grown. This will also affect the taste as its probably not vine-ripened but rather picked early and artificially ripened, so you won’t have the same sugar levels as true vine-ripened dragon fruit.

Allowing the fruit to ripen fully on the dragon fruit vine will give you a much better flavour and taste than any Dragon Fruit bought in the local store that I have ever tried. Again, I think this is because the fruit is picked way too early for the commercially grown fruit so that it can survive the transport time to the stores.

The very best dragon fruit I have ever tasted was the yellow dragon variety grown in the Philippines in Davao’s Eden Park where we picked it right off the vine and ate it there. They were growing a number of plants and we happened to be there at the right time when they were ready to pick.

As a note to mention also about the texture, its really quiet deceiving. Its firm to the touch yet melts in your mouth. As you eat the fruit it appears not too juicy, but as you bite into it the juice can get a little messy especially with the red flesh variety which can leave you with a red stain around the lips. Making you look like you have gone a little wild with some lipstick. Its easy to remove with a piece of tissue paper.

How To Make Dragon Fruit Taste Better

How To Make Dragon Fruit Taste Better
How To Make Dragon Fruit Taste Better

If you are not so fortunate to be able to get a fresh vine-ripened yellow dragon fruit you may find yourself eating one of the less sweet more bland varieties. So how can you make it taste better?

You can make dragon fruit taste better by adding it to a cocktail of other fruits such as watermelon, banana, mango or even durian. Sliced up among these other fruits the dragon fruit will taste a lot sweeter.

Another option you can try is to use it in a fruit smoothie. Add the dragon fruit diced up with some banana and berries if available and blend. Add coconut water or almond milk and finish by blending again. Pour into a glass and drink this refreshing drink, seeds and all.

The best thing you can do is to get some of the yellow dragon fruit cuttings or seeds and grow the plants at home yourself. This way you get the sweetest possible fruit that is vine-ripened and picked when at its best.

*References
https://ucanr.edu/sites/sdsmallfarms/files/219663.pdf
https://ageconsearch.umn.edu/record/253331/files/Montilla-Crossman-Zimmerman.pdf

Juan Paul

We are Juan & Raquel, the guys behind Fruit Information. We've been interested in fruit over the last few decades and have been busy with improving our knowledge of the different varieties. I, Juan, have been almost a fruitarian for over a decade and almost solely living on fruits as my main dietary intake. My wife Raquel has worked on a fruit farm and also worked in a nursery and seedlings shop. She is a very experienced and knowledgable farmer. We have recently undertaken a new Dragon Fruit farm with friends.

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