Although dragon fruit may sound like something from Harry Potter, it really does exist. But then people often wonder why it is so expensive. Let’s find out!
Dragon fruit is a tropical fruit also called pitahaya or strawberry pear. It is distinguished by its vivid red exterior and tasty pulp that is studded with seeds.
It is well-liked by foodies and health-conscious people because of its distinctive appearance and several health benefits.
What then makes dragon fruit so expensive that most people can’t afford it? We’ll tell you why if you continue reading!
About Dragon Fruit
The Honolulu queen cactus, also known as Hylocereus, which bears dragon fruit, only blooms at night.
Dragon fruit, also known as pitahaya, is a fruit that is indigenous to Southern Mexico and the Pacific shores of Guatemala, Costa Rica, and El Salvador.
Although Southern Mexico and Central America are the plant’s natural habitats, it is now grown all across the globe.
It goes by several names, such as strawberry pear, and pitahaya.
The most common variety has white pulp and black seeds, while there is also a less common variation with red pulp and black seeds.
Why is Dragon Fruit So Expensive?
There are several reasons that make dragon fruit expensive. Some include:
1. Difficult Growing Conditions
Due to the harsh weather, dragon fruit grown in the United States is vulnerable to harm.
The cactuses’ fruit will be stunted in growth because of the weather, leading to a reduction in harvest and increased prices.
After being planted, the cactus takes six months to sprout, and another three years for it to reach maturity. The fruits will then start to grow after this.
Also, because of weather-related damage, many dragon fruit cactuses die before they can produce fruit.
There are instances when investing a lot of time in this plant yields absolutely nothing.
The extensive labor required to maintain this plant is quite expensive. Aside from potential weather-related losses, maintaining this plant costs money, which drives up prices even further.
2. High Demand and Low Supply
One fruit you can simply eat whenever you see it is a dragon fruit.
However, finding dragon fruit in a store might be difficult and perhaps impossible in some regions of the country.
So, you’ll need to visit a specialty store, because they go out of stock quickly.
There is no disputing the fact that, when discussing dragon fruit, the supply and demand marketing theory comes in handy.
Dragon fruit is in very high demand.
People appreciate the taste, but there are also several health advantages.
In essence, the price of dragon fruit stays high because shops can’t keep it on the shelf for very long.
Unfortunately, the supply and demand theory will probably not change soon because this exotic fruit is quite difficult to grow.
3. Dragon Fruit is Imported
In Mexico, Central America, and South America, dragon fruit is grown.
Each of these locations necessitates the importation of dragon fruit into the United States. This comes with importing and shipping fees, which can be expensive.
The long import route is much more challenging and expensive, combined with the demanding storage conditions and delicate shape of dragon fruits.
Florida, California, and Hawaii are also locations in the United States where dragon fruit can be grown.
However, natural disasters can harm the cultivation of dragon fruit in certain areas.
In addition, these regions already grow a significant portion of the nation’s citrus fruit, therefore their cultivation rate of dragon fruit is significantly less than that of other nations.
4. Dragon Fruit is Exotic
Dragon fruit is actually an exotic fruit.
Exotic fruits are those fruits that are grown outside of their country of origin and are not native to that country
Something that is uncommon to the consumer and not readily available locally always has an added appeal.
Dragon fruits and other fruits like papayas, durian, jackfruit, etc. are the same in that regard.
However, this implies that dragon fruit must be imported into the United States. These fruits can be imported from Vietnam, South America, and even Mexico.
The fact remains that the price of imported fruit will be higher than the price of fruits that are grown locally.
5. Dragon Fruit Have Several Health Benefits
The price difference between good and unhealthy food is significantly high. Even fruits and vegetables follow a similar pattern.
Generally, the ones with the greatest health advantages will cost significantly more than others.
There are, of course, other elements that affect pricing, but this is the main one.
This also applies to Dragon fruit.
Given that our culture is increasingly concerned with maintaining good health, adding dragon fruit to your diet is a wise decision.
Dragon fruit has few calories, which is only one of its numerous advantages.
This is a fantastic option if you’re on a diet and need food that is low in calories, yet satisfies your nutritional needs.
Dragon fruit includes vitamin C, vitamin E, and magnesium in terms of vitamins and minerals.
Even when other people are sick, these vitamins and minerals can support your immune system and keep you healthy.
Additionally, magnesium will ensure you get sufficient iron in your system.
The antioxidants included in dragon fruit are among its most prominent health advantages. Antioxidants are helpful in the fight against diabetes, cancer, and even rheumatoid arthritis.
Doctors usually advise patients with cardiovascular problems to consume more antioxidants.
The digestive-aiding minerals and dietary fiber found in dragon fruit are many.
Dragon fruit can serve as a prebiotic and ensure that you experience fewer digestive tract problems if you frequently experience stomach aches.
The health advantages of dragon fruit are more than enough to make the cost of buying this fruit justifiable.
6. Difficult Means of Storage
The dragon fruit has a short life span. Fruits can get spoilt rapidly before reaching the market as a result of farmers’ and shippers’ improper storage.
They could suffer damage during shipping or decay while being moved.
Since dragon fruit must frequently be imported, this issue is more serious than with other fruits.
As a result, the fruit must travel farther and has increased chances of suffering rot or damages.
Fruits spoiling in transit means there will be even less fruit available for sale, which will reduce supply and increase the price.
In the store, dragon fruit can also spoil quickly, forcing staff to discard them. The already meager fruit supply doesn’t benefit from this waste.
7. Dragon Fruit is Heavily Advertised
As the name suggests, dragon fruit is a fruit that attracts and enthralls people.
The fruit stands out as the “Mona Lisa” of fruits thanks to its vibrant pink exterior, unusual green thors, transparent, smooth white pulp, and black edible seeds.
Naturally, this elevates pitayas to Instagram-worthy status, increasing public awareness and awe of them while also fueling demand and driving up costs.
How Much Does Dragon Fruit Cost?
You might have grown up eating dragon fruit, or perhaps you’ve only ever had it in flavored liquids.
If you are familiar with this fruit at all, you may have seen its price tag on the shelf.
Dragon fruit is an expensive fruit, even though you can get cocktails with its flavor for under $2.
The average price of dragon fruit in several places in the United States is $5.
However, of all the dragon fruits, purple dragon fruit is the most expensive. It is sold at $8, and the price may rise significantly as time progresses.
Though it is uncommon to find purple dragon fruit at American prices, it truly depends on where you are purchasing the fruit from.
Depending on several factors, their cost might increase to over $10 per fruit.
The Taste of Dragon Fruit
Dragon fruit comes in a variety of colors, including red, pink, yellow, and others. Every variety of dragon fruit has a distinct flavor.
Most times, dragon fruit doesn’t have a strong flavor. Many people equate its taste, which is mildly sweet, to that of a pear or kiwi.
Although some claim that dragon fruit has little flavor, this is probably because they are eating unripe dragon fruit.
The taste of unripe dragon fruit may be sourer, but the fruit is tastiest when it is at its peak of ripeness.
Different Varieties of Dragon Fruit
The varieties of dragon fruits are :
1. White Dragon Fruit
The white dragon fruit is a tropical fruit that is grown in Central America, Southeast Asia, Mexico, and Austria.
It is a dragon fruit that has pink skin and white flesh. Its taste is mildly sweet, and its texture is similar to that of kiwi and pear fruit.
White dragon fruit is well known and is very delectable.
It is the blandest form of dragon fruit.
2. Red Dragon Fruit
The most beautiful part of the red dragon fruit is its deep red flesh.
In Nicaragua, where it is extensively grown, the fertile volcanic soil nurtures this red-fleshed dragon fruit, producing a sweeter fruit.
In contrast to its red skin/white flesh match, the red dragon fruit is spherical and has tiny leaves known as “bracts.”
They can also be seen in Israel. However, they are smaller and look more like a big, pink pine cone.
3. Pink Dragon Fruit
Despite being related to the red variety, the flesh of these dragon fruits is different.
The pink dragon fruit’s edible flesh can be delicate or searing pink. It’s sometimes referred to as the Costa Rican pitaya and is a common plant there.
4. Yellow Dragon Fruit
The sweetest dragon fruit is this variety.
Compared to other varieties, their black seeds are larger and have interiors with nearly clear yellow skin.
The golden dragon fruit cactus can be found in Ecuador.
Compared to their red-skinned counterparts, these bright yellow species’ bracts are smaller and less leafy.
It is also known as the “Gateway Dragon Fruit” since it is the sweetest and tastiest variety.
This fruit’s flavor is addictive, and you can eat it with a spoon straight out of the skin or in a fruity, fresh salsa that goes well with fish.
The golden dragon fruit is occasionally available throughout most of the year.
5. Sour Dragon Fruit
In the dry regions of America, people eat Stenocereus, sometimes known as the “sour dragon fruit.”
The juicier flesh of sour dragon fruit, which also has a firm and sour flavor, makes it pleasant.
Locals in northwest Mexico, occasionally harvest this fruit, and refer to it as “ziix is ccapxl,” which means “thing whose fruit is sour.”
This dragon fruit tree’s fruit smells more acidic and watermelon-like. Also, the tasty, small, black seeds have a nutty flavor.
6. Purple Dragon Fruit
More difficult to come by than any other dragon fruit is the purple dragon fruit.
This variety’s flavor is akin to that of grapes. Of all the other varieties, its flavor is also the strongest.
However, the price of each variety of dragon fruit varies.
The red/pink and white types are the most accessible and, therefore, the least expensive. These are the options whose cost is close to $5.
How to Know a Ripe Dragon Fruit
If a dragon fruit is ripe, you may tell by looking at its skin and wings. The fruit will still be firm, but if you apply further pressure, it will budge.
Also, the wings and margins of the dragon fruit turn yellow and brown when it is ripe.
What Does Dragon Fruit Smell Like?
The smell of dragon fruit is similarly light to how it tastes
Some people liken the smell of dragon fruit to that of bananas or kiwis. It can emit a zesty or a more flowery scent.
Dragon fruit has a delightful, fresh aroma.
For a while, you won’t be able to determine when the dragon fruit is bad just by smelling it. The dragon fruit won’t smell bad until it is completely rotten.
How to Eat Dragon Fruit
The seeds inside the dragon fruit may be quite confusing, and their shape might be terrifying.
On the other hand, eating dragon fruit can be really easy.
Even if it’s not the most delicious option, you can eat the skin of a dragon fruit.
There are two typical methods for consuming dragon fruit.
First, you can cut the dragon fruit in half. Then, for each half, you can either eat it with a spoon or by peeling off the skin.
After removing the skin, you can cut the dragon fruit into bite-sized pieces.
Also, slices of it can be consumed similarly to watermelon.
The dragon fruit should be cut in half and then sliced into circles.
You can enjoy your slices of dragon fruit after cutting them in halves or fourths.
Once the skin is removed or the dragon fruit is scooped out, you may use it in salads, smoothies, juices, and other dishes.
Owing to its challenging growth conditions, high shipping costs, and intense demand, dragon fruit is quite expensive.
If you can’t afford it, you can get flavored water or tea that tastes like dragon fruit for a lot less money.
Since it is unlikely that dragon fruit prices will decrease soon, savor them while you can.