If you’ve recently bitten into a tempting slice of dragon fruit and been thoroughly disappointed by the flavor, you might be wondering what’s wrong and why your fruit tastes so bland. You definitely aren’t alone – a lot of people find this.
Dragon fruits are often bland because they have been picked too early. Picking fruits before they are ripe allows them to be transported around the world, but the practice is often detrimental to the flavor. Dragon fruits that ripen off the vine tend to be flavorless and disappointing.
In this article, we’ll explore why dragon fruits are sometimes so bland, and what they should really taste like when they are at their best. We’ll also look at what kinds of dragon fruit tend to taste the best.
Why Is My Dragon Fruit So Bland?
If you’ve got a bland dragon fruit, it is likely because it wasn’t handled properly during the harvesting phase. It is easy to forget about the complexities of shipping fruits when you pick one up in your local supermarket, but remember that dragon fruits have often come from far-off countries and may have traveled a long way.
This means that they frequently have to be picked up too early because otherwise, they will turn overripe and then go off during the transportation phase. This results in a lot of wastage, so many growers pick the dragon fruits before they are ripe. This means that the dragon fruits:
- Can be stored in cold conditions to further slow the ripening process
- Will gradually ripen on the journey and be ripe or almost ripe when they reach the supermarkets
This sort of trick to reduce waste is responsible for the fact that we have a whole range of fruits and vegetables available to us throughout the year, and it massively increases the varieties that we can enjoy. However, it does mean that some of those fruits are not as flavorful as they would be if they were left on the vine until ripe.
Dragon fruits suffer a lot more from this than from other fruits because they have quite a mild flavor anyway. If you pick a dragon fruit without letting it ripen on the vine, you often end up with a fruit that is bland and disappointing – but many growers still do this so they can get the fruits to the supermarkets with minimal amounts of wastage.
Is The Fruit Ripe?
It’s always a good idea to check that you are eating a ripe dragon fruit, as it can be hard to tell sometimes. The best clue that you will get is that the flesh will give a little bit under your fingers, and doesn’t feel rock solid when you squeeze it.
The skin should also be smooth, and in most cases, bright pink (although this depends on the variety you purchase). Don’t buy dragon fruits that feel mushy when you squeeze them, as these will be overripe.
If chosen carefully, a dragon fruit should have a mild, sweet flavor. An unripe dragon fruit will have almost no taste at all, so it’s important to select fruits that are ripe if you want ones that taste great.
Are All Dragon Fruits Bland?
Unfortunately, in spite of the exciting name and appearance, dragon fruits do not have a particularly strong or distinctive flavor, so sometimes even if you get a dragon fruit that has been ripened correctly, it will still be fairly bland. Some people describe them as watered-down melons, while others say they taste a little like a diluted kiwi.
However, the kind of dragon fruit that you buy does make a difference, and some types are more flavorful than others. For example, the kinds that have pink or red flesh inside the fruit generally have a lot more taste, but they are harder to find than the ones with white flesh.
Some people say that the yellow dragon fruit (which does have white flesh) has more flavor than any other options, but it is not commonly seen outside Southeast Asia, so you may not be able to get this at your local supermarket, especially when it is not in season.
Although they taste a bit disappointing, dragon fruits are healthy and they contain omega-3 fatty acids, plenty of fiber, and vitamin C. A lot of people add these fruits to smoothies or fruit salads so that they can enjoy the health benefits, and get the flavor from the other fruits.
How Can I Make My Dragon Fruit Taste Better?
If you really want to eat a dragon fruit without mixing it into a smoothie or fruit salad, you might be looking for ways to improve the flavor. Some people find that chilled dragon fruit tastes better, which is surprising since most fruits have less flavor when they are cold. Some people even freeze it and enjoy it as an icy treat, like a sorbet.
Alternatively, you might want to try adding some form of sweetener. Sprinkling a little bit of sugar or drizzling some maple syrup across the flesh may work well. To do this, cut the fruit in half and scoop the flesh away from the rind. Sprinkle a small amount of sugar across the top, or add a thin swirl of honey or maple syrup, and enjoy.
Because of the mild flavor, you can also put this cool-looking ingredient in many different recipes without it tasting out of place. Use the blandness to your advantage and try it with a savory salad, or combine it with some chopped nuts. Bear in mind that it will add an edge of sweetness, however – so don’t pair it with strongly savory options.
Dragon fruits that are unripe will often have a very bland flavor, and fruits that have been picked too early and ripened during shipping may be tasteless too. These fruits are generally more enjoyable if you eat them in a country where they can be picked and eaten straight from the vine.