Try Something New Today: What Does Dragon Fruit Taste Like?

Have you tried dragon fruit yet? You may have heard that this ugly tropical fruit is bland. Dr. Oz calls it the “cauliflower of fruit,” while Rachel Ray says dragon fruit is like an “anemic kiwi.” Not exactly glowing endorsements of the flavour!

Between it being ugly and unfamiliar, and these less than enthusiastic descriptions of the dragon fruit’s taste, you may be hesitant to buy one and try it yourself. I know I avoided it for a long time because I figured there wasn’t any point in paying a premium price for an exotic fruit that had basically no taste.

Dragon Fruit: Discover The Subtle Taste of This Ugly Fruit | #24CarrotDiet | tropical fruit | exotic fruit
Have you heard that dragon fruit tastes bland?

What is Dragon Fruit?

So what exactly is a dragon fruit? The name initially made me think it was an Asian fruit. And indeed, it does now grow in some parts of Southeast Asia. The name is a translation of the Chinese “fire dragon fruit.”

Also known as pitaya or pitahaya, the fruit is actually from Mexico originally. And it’s not just one fruit, but the fruit of several flowering cacti in the genus Hylocereus.

What Does Dragon Fruit Look Like?

Hylocereus undatus is the dragon fruit pictured above. It’s the one that has a pink, scaly skin and white pulp studded with tiny black seeds. This is the variety my kids and I tasted, and the one that’s probably the easiest to find in your grocery store.

In Mexico, it’s sometimes called Reina de la noche. One of its folk names in English is Belle of the Night. This alludes to the fact that the flowers of the pitaya cactus bloom at night. For this reason, the cactus relies on nocturnal pollinators such as bats.

Besides this more common fruit, there are two other main types: the yellow-skinned variety, and the dragon fruit varieties whose pulp is red, purple, or pink. Yellow dragon fruit is known for standing up better to transport. The darker-fleshed varieties tend to be sweeter tasting, and provide larger quantities of antioxidants.

What Does Dragon Fruit Taste Like?

Dragon fruit does have a reputation for being bland. Admittedly, it isn’t a fruit with a bold flavour. It isn’t completely without a taste, though. It’s just subtle.

Some people say it tastes a little like a milder version of the kiwi fruit. And its texture certainly does remind me of a kiwi. Both fruits have those crunchy little seeds embedded in the juicy flesh. So if you closed your eyes as you put a spoonful of dragon fruit into your mouth, you might think you were eating some kind of kiwi.

But to me, it more closely resembles an Asian pear. I think it’s both the taste of the pulp, and the fact that the fruit feels more starchy in my mouth. That slight stickiness really made me think more of an Asian pear than a kiwi. Others have mentioned dragon fruit tastes like a pear to them too.

The darker-fleshed dragon fruit varieties are supposed to have a stronger flavour to them. They are also said to be sweeter. So if you’re after a more robust flavour, try to find Hylocereus costaricensis.


The video is long, but it shows many different varieties & discusses their taste


Dragon Fruit Nutrition

According to Healthline, dragon fruit counts as a nutrient dense fruit. It’s low cal and low in fats. It’s also rich in both fiber and vitamin C. In fact, calorie for calorie, dragon fruit provides more of both of these nutrients than an orange.

While some fruits are not suitable for a low carb or ketogenic diet, dragon fruit is low enough in carbohydrates to be safe. A 100 gram portion supplies 11 grams of carbs, but one dragon fruit is a little more than half that in weight. So figure about 6-7 grams of carbs per fruit. Dragon fruit smoothies are very popular right now with folks who eat low carb.

You might not expect a fruit to supply a significant amount of iron, but 100 grams of dragon fruit provides more than 10% of your day’s iron. The fruit also provides moderate amounts of B vitamins, and several antioxidants. Flavonoids promote both neurological and heart health. Hydroxycinnamates fight cancer. And betalains (the same antioxidant pigment found in beets) help to protect certain types of fatty acids from oxidation damage. This can contribute to healthy levels of LDL cholesterol, among other things.

So for a fruit that many people find boring, this ugly tropical fruit packs a decent nutritional punch!



Buying & Storing Your Fruit

The pitaya cactus bears fruit for about five months of the year. Harvest times obviously depend on where your fruit is coming from, as there are seasonal differences from one place to another.

In the US, the season starts in late summer. But these days, you may be able to find dragon fruit all year round. We found ours in late February.

Buy fruit that has a uniform pink skin and healthy looking green scales. If the scales are yellow or brown, the fruit probably isn’t very fresh. The fruit should be firm, with a slight give. Avoid fruits that are overly hard, or that have pitted skins or blemishes.

To be honest, our dragon fruit didn’t stick around long enough for us to worry about storage. But in theory, this is a tropical fruit that prefers to be kept cooler than room temperature. The ideal temperature is warmer than the fridge, and just slightly warmer than even a wine fridge. It’s a little like storing tomatoes.



Counter or Fridge?

So, basically, store on your counter for up to a few days. For longer storage, you’ll need a cool space. If you have a cold room or a cool attic, that might be the best place to store dragon fruit long term. The fridge should be your last resort because it’s colder than the fruit really wants to be.

Being a relatively soft-skinned fruit, dragon fruit needs a little protection if you store it in the fridge with other foods. Otherwise, it will end up taking on the flavours of other foods – possibly your stinky cheeses or last night’s leftover garlic pasta! Put your pitaya fruit in a paper bag and store it in the vegetable crisper, if you must refrigerate it.

Some people suggest using a plastic bag, but I’m not terribly keen on storing fresh fruit in plastic if I can avoid it. Also, those who advocate plastic say it will last a few days. On the other hand, Jenny Harrington of LEAF TV says in paper, dragon fruit will keep in the fridge for up to 3 months. If you haven’t gobbled it up before then!

As with any fresh produce, don’t wash or cut dragon fruit before you store it. The fruit should be stored dry and whole. If you only use half a pitaya fruit or you have leftover pulp, store it in an airtight container and use it within a day or two.


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Dragon fruit: What is it and what does it taste like? | #24CarrotDiet | tropical fruits | exotic fruits | pitaya cactus | dragon fruit benefits
Dragon fruit is a mildly refreshing fruit. Give it a try!
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Low Carb Lunch Ideas on the Go: Mediterranean Salad Featuring Fennel & Orange

A Mediterranean salad is an easy, low carb side that you can whip up in minutes. This particular salad features the unique flavour of fennel, along with tangy Navel oranges and salty black olives.

This recipe is elegant enough to serve at a fancy dinner, but it’s also a great way to introduce your kids to a new vegetable. Trying juicy orange slices in a savoury dish can be a new flavour adventure. And if they love olives as much as my kids do, they’ll be happy to gobble the salad up!

Remember Mediterranean salad when you’re looking for low carb lunch ideas on the go, too! This salad can be made ahead and stored in the fridge overnight. Or if you have to go out last minute, you can throw everything together quickly before you leave home. I’ve even brought whole fennel bulbs on road trips, and cut them up for a meal on the go!

Need low carb lunch ideas on the go? This crisp, refreshing Mediterranean salad can be made ahead or thrown together in minutes before you leave the house! | #24CarrotDiet
The cold, crisp flavour of fennel blends beautifully with citrus in this easy Mediterranean salad


Have You Ever Tried Fennel?

Chances are, you’ve seen fennel in your grocery store. But have you ever bought some so you could try cooking with it?

This vegetable is extremely popular with the Italian community in Montreal, where I lived most of my life. But I must admit, for the longest time I never thought to buy fennel and taste it myself. Like many North Americans, I usually cooked what I was used to eating. Since fennel wasn’t a vegetable we ate when I was growing up, I never thought much about it.

I didn’t try it until a friend at university offered me some. She had brought raw fennel sticks in her lunch, so I gave them a try. They looked an awful lot like celery, but they had a licorice flavour that really surprised me. At first, I found the taste a bit overwhelming. I later discovered the flavour is milder when you cook fennel. It’s also less bold if you slice the fennel thinly and eat it with other foods. This makes it a perfect choice for salads!

Fennel can be used almost anywhere you would normally use celery. Substitute fennel for celery in your spaghetti sauce or in chicken soup. You can also saute it with Italian sausages and bell peppers. Or try roasted fennel with sweet baby carrots. It’s a very versatile vegetable!



Fennel Nutrition

Fennel is a good source of both fiber and potassium, providing 10% of your daily requirement for each in a cup of sliced vegetable. It also supplies modest amounts of magnesium, calcium, and iron. As green vegetables go, fennel is fairly low in vitamin A at only 2%. (Celery supplies 9%, by comparison.)

Fennel also supplies 14% of your vitamin C, compared to about 4% for celery. And since our Mediterranean salad also includes oranges, it’s a great vitamin C booster. If you’re feeling a bit under the weather, this salad is a great choice as a side with your dinner or for a lunch on the go.

But what really surprised me when I looked at fennel nutrition is the vitamin K content. One cup of sliced fennel provides just over 68% of your day’s supply. Which means that a serving of fennel – say, in a Mediterranean salad – supplies more vitamin K than green beans, garden peas, kiwi, or avocado. It’s not way up there with broccoli, kale, and the rest of the leafy green vegetables. But it’s respectable all the same. And all of this is in a low sodium, very low fat package that supplies only 27 calories per cup!

Oranges Add Nutrients to Mediterranean Salad

The Navel oranges in this Mediterranean salad bump up its fiber and mineral counts. You may not be aware that an orange supplies roughly 6% of your day’s calcium. It also contains 6% of your vitamin A, which helps to make up for the fact that fennel is lower in that vitamin. Oranges also add a modest amount of vitamin B6 to the salad. This vitamin is important for your metabolism and adrenal functions, as well as for a healthy nervous system.

Some recipes for this type of Mediterranean salad call for blood oranges. You can substitute them for the Navel oranges if you prefer. They supply pretty much the same nutrients, but they bump up the anthocyanins. But since I’ve added red onion to my Mediterranean salad recipe, we already have that covered. And of course, there are anthocyanins in the olives too.

Easy Mediterranean Salad Recipe

Mediterranean Salad Featuring Fennel & Orange
5 from 3 votes

Fennel & Orange Salad

Fennel is a crunchy vegetable with a unique licorice flavour. This classic Mediterranean salad is refreshing and loaded with vitamins. It's perfect for impressing guests at home, or for a lunch on the go!
Course Salad
Cuisine Italian, Mediterranean
Prep Time 15 minutes
Total Time 15 minutes
Servings 6 people
Calories 160 kcal
Author Kyla Matton Osborne


To make the salad:

  • 1 large fennel bulb sliced thinly
  • 3 Navel oranges peeled and sliced
  • 1/2 red onion sliced very thinly
  • 12 pitted Kalamata or other black olives cut in half lengthwise


  • 1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil
  • 1/4 cup red wine vinegar
  • 1 tsp honey
  • 1/2 tsp Dijon mustard
  • salt and pepper to taste


  1. Place the salad ingredients in a bowl. Set aside.
  2. Whisk vinegar, honey, and mustard together in a small bowl. 
  3. Gradually pour in the olive oil, whisking until emulsified. Season with salt and pepper. 
  4. Pour up to half of the vinaigrette onto your Mediterranean salad and toss lightly before serving. The rest of the vinaigrette can be stored in a sealed jar or bottle in the fridge for up to 4 days.


More About Fennel

Want to know how to grow fennel in your garden without spending a lot of money? You can grow fennel herb from seed and regrow bulb fennel from the part of the plant you’d normally discard. Learn more!



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This easy Mediterranean salad makes a great lunch on the go
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Original content © 2018 Kyla Matton Osborne, aka #RubyWriter
Public domain images by Pixabay users congerdesign, silviarita, and stevepb
Tabouleh photo by cyclonebill/Flickr/CC BY-SA 2.0

This article was published on my food blog, 24 Carrot Diet. If you are reading this content anywhere else, it has probably been stolen. Please report it to me so I can address any copyright infringements. Thank you!

I am not a nutrition expert or health professional. No information on this site should be used to diagnose, treat, prevent or cure any disease or condition. Please seek out a licensed health professional as needed. For more information, see the health disclaimer linked in the sidebar.


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