You may have enjoyed dragon fruit all your life or maybe you’ve only experienced dragon fruit in flavored waters. No matter how you know this fruit, if at all, you may have noticed their price tag in the store.
While you can buy dragon fruit-flavored drinks for under $2, dragon fruit is an expensive fruit. In many places in the United States, dragon fruits can cost around $5 each. However, their prices can go up to over $10 per fruit depending on a number of qualities.
Why is Dragon Fruit So Expensive?
There are several reasons why dragon fruit is pretty expensive. Much of these reasons stem from how dragon fruit has become a lot more popular in the United States.
Due to increasing popularity, the demand for dragon fruits has risen. This has caused the demand for dragon fruits to be more than the supply of them. Farmers can’t keep up because people keep wanting more.
The low supply and the high demand have increased the price of dragon fruits over the years.
Dragon fruit is grown in Mexico, Central, and South America. With each of these locations, the United States has to import dragon fruit into the country. This comes with importing and shipping costs that can become quite expensive.
The added costs from shipping make the prices of buying dragon fruit go up.
Some places in the United States can and do grow some of the fruit such as Florida, California, and Hawaii. However, these places are prone to natural disasters that can hurt the production of dragon fruit. Besides, these locations already grow much of the country’s citrus fruit, so their production amount is much lower compared to outside countries.
Difficult Growing Conditions
As discussed earlier, the dragon fruit that is grown in the United States is prone to damage due to hard weather. This weather will damage the cactuses the fruit go on and lowers the production rate, making the prices rise as a result.
Even in places where it grows natively, the dragon fruit cactus is still a laborious cactus to grow. It takes half a year for the cactus to sprout after it has been planted and then takes another 3 years for the cactus to mature. After this, the fruits will finally start growing.
Many dragon fruit cactus die before they can give fruit from damage from the weather. This plant is a huge time investment and there are times when the investment gives nothing at all.
Growing this cactus is very expensive due to the intense and manual labor that goes into taking care of this plant. Other than possible weather damages causing the prices to rise, the money that goes into taking care of this plant makes the prices even higher.
Poor Shipping and Storage
Dragon fruit can go bad pretty quickly. Many times, due to farmers and transporters not storing the fruit correctly, the fruit can go bad before making it to the market. They can get damaged in shipping or begin to rot on transport.
This is a bigger problem than other fruits as most times, dragon fruit needs to be imported. This creates a longer time of transport for the fruit and more opportunities for damage or rot to occur.
With fruits becoming inedible in transport, that’s even less fruit that can be sold, lowering the supply and raising the price.
Dragon fruit can also go bad quickly in the store, causing employees to have to throw them out. This waste isn’t good for the already low supply of fruit.
The Health Benefits
One reason why dragon fruit got so popular is that people became aware of the health benefits of them.
Here’s a quick list of just some of the benefits to dragon fruit:
- High in vitamin c
- High in b vitamins
- Lots of antioxidants
- Plenty of fiber
- High in iron
- Overall boosts the cardiovascular symptoms
And that’s not even all that dragon fruit has to offer. With all these benefits, dragon fruit has been marketed as a “superfruit” meaning a fruit that has an extremely high amount of good vitamins and minerals.
Health-focused people have started to buy them at a higher rate than ever before, depleting the market of dragon fruit. Other people started buying them to help with any ailments or deficiencies that they have. It’s never a bad idea to add another healthy food to your diet, but buying a lot in a short amount of time will cause prices to increase.
What Does Dragon Fruit Taste Like?
There are many kinds of dragon fruit from red to pink to yellow, and so on. Each kind of dragon fruit has its own flavor.
Generally, the taste of dragon fruit wouldn’t punch anyone’s tastebuds. It has a slightly sweet taste that many people would compare to a pear or kiwi.
Some people argue that dragon fruit tastes like nothing, but that would most likely be because they are eating unripe dragon fruit. Also, when the dragon fruit is unripe, the taste that it can have is sourer. When the fruit is very ripe is when it is the sweetest.
What Does a Ripe Dragon Fruit Look Like?
You will be able to tell if a dragon fruit is ripe by its skin and wings. The fruit will still be firm, but if you add pressure it will have a bit of give. Think of it like checking an avocado.
Also, when the dragon fruit is ripe, the wings will begin to turn yellow and the edges will begin to brown.
Make sure that your dragon fruit doesn’t have any bruises or dark spots.
The Different Varieties
The kinds of dragon fruit that are most commonly seen at stores are pink-flesh and white-flesh. Yellow dragon fruit also exists but it is more rare to see.
Red-flesh, sometimes called pink-flesh, is the sweeter variety of dragon fruit. They also look like their name. The inside of the dragon fruit will be pink or crimson. Though be warned, this color is also the color of their juice which will stain.
White-flesh is more common in stores. The inside looks completely white with black seeds freckling the flesh. White-flesh dragon fruit is the blandest variety, which is the kind that people compare to kiwi or tasting like nothing at all.
You won’t be able to tell the difference between pink-flesh and white-flesh dragon fruit just by their skin. In the store, make sure to check the labels of the dragon fruit so you know which one you are buying.
Yellow dragon fruit is easy to spot. Its skin is bright yellow. This dragon fruit is the most flavorful. It is the sweetest of the varieties and also has a stronger scent. If you spot these, pick them up because usually they are only commonly found in native countries or Southeast Asia.
Purple Dragon Fruit
Finding purple dragon fruit is rarer than any of the other varieties of dragon fruit. The flavor of this variety is more similar to the taste of grapes. Its flavor is also the strongest out of any of the other kinds. If you are adamant about getting a strong-tasting dragon fruit, you may want to search for the purple variety.
What Does Dragon Fruit Smell Like?
Like how the dragon fruit taste is light, the smell is also light. Ripe dragon fruit has a stronger smell than unripe dragon fruit, so the more fragrant the better.
Some compare the smell of dragon fruit to kiwi or bananas. It can give off a more floral scent or a citrusy scent.
The smell of dragon fruit is fresh and very pleasant.
When the dragon fruit goes bad, you won’t be able to tell from just smell alone for a while. Only when it gets very rotten will the dragon fruit smell sour and unpleasant.
Back to Prices
It is important to note that each kind of dragon fruit has a different price. The red/pink and white varieties are the cheapest as they are the easiest to find. These are the varieties that are closer to being $5.
Yellow is more expensive, being closer to $7 or $8. This is because they aren’t as commonly found in the United States.
Purple is obviously the most expensive out of all the varieties. This dragon fruit starts at $8 but can easily become much higher. This really depends on where you are getting the dragon fruit from, but it is unlikely to get purple dragon fruit at United States Prices.
How to Eat Dragon Fruit
If you looked at the shape and skin of a dragon fruit and thought “how do I even eat this,” you are not alone. The shape of dragon fruit can be intimidating and the seeds on the inside may be confusing. However, eating dragon fruit is very simple.
You can eat the skin of a dragon fruit, though it isn’t the tastiest option. There are two common ways to eat a dragon fruit.
One way is to slice the dragon fruit in half. Then, for each half, you can either use a spoon to eat it or peel the skin off and eat it that way. If you peel the skin off, you can cut the dragon fruit into bite-sized pieces.
Another way is to eat it like watermelon slices. Cut the dragon fruit in half. Continue to slice the dragon fruit into circular slices. Finally, cut those slices in half or in fourths and enjoy your dragon fruit slices.
Of course, once you remove the skin or scoop the dragon fruit out, you can add it to salads, smoothies, juices, and more.
Dragon Fruit Conclusion
Dragon fruit is one of the pricier fruits out there. If your budget is tight, you can enjoy the taste of dragon fruit in flavored waters or teas for a much lower cost.
This fruit is expensive because of its tough growing process, shipping costs, and very high demand. It is not predicted that the price of dragon fruit will go down soon, so enjoy them however you can.
There are many kinds of dragon fruit out there, each with its own flavor. Every dragon fruit has a taste, but unripe dragon fruit may seem tasteless or sour. Remember to eat your dragon fruit when they are fully ripe.
The dragon fruit’s sweet and light taste and smell can make anyone enjoy it. Its health benefits make it look great too.