There are so many tropical fruits out there, and noni is one of them. This fruit is native to Indonesia and Australia, but it is currently grown in areas that have a warm climate across the globe.
Noni fruit has bright green skin that is normally dimpled. It also has a unique shape that somewhat resembles a hand grenade.
Like the durian, noni fruits give off a pungent and overwhelming aroma when they ripen. Some people call it the ‘vomit fruit.
Other than the fruit, the noni tree produces delicate pretty white flowers that would make for an amazing centerpiece.
If you have never interacted with noni fruit, you may be wondering what it tastes like and whether it is a ‘vomit fruit’ the way some people suggest.
This article is for you because we will discuss everything you need to know about this exotic fruit including the flavor, nutritional value uses, and so much more.
We will also discuss noni juice which is quite different from the fruit itself.
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Noni fruit flavor
I would describe the flavor of noni fruit as sour and tart with a fetid undertone. Its taste is very similar to that of smelly ripened cheese.
When you eat noni flesh, you’ll notice that it has a numbing and tingling aftertaste very similar to the aftertaste you get when you eat unripe pineapple.
Noni fruit has a firm texture that is very much like that of jackfruit. Additionally, it has translucent flesh that has a lot of seeds throughout. This makes eating noni fruit out of hand a little bit difficult.
The seeds look a lot like watermelon seeds, but they have a more woody texture and are also tougher. The seed is edible and can be eaten raw, but I prefer roasting mine before eating.
Comparison between unripe, ripe, and overripe noni fruit
The ripeness of noni fruit significantly affects its flavor. Normally, they are green when harvested from the tree and start turning white as they ripen.
After it ripens, noni fruit quickly ferments and starts to rot. Therefore, it is important that you keep an eye on it when it is ripe so that it doesn’t rot before you eat it.
Unripe noni fruit
At this stage, noni fruit is usually green in color with a less pungent aroma.
The flavor is also kind of mild. Most people use unripe noni to make juice that they can add to smoothies. It tastes grassy and has a spicy undertone. Vendors in Mexico sell this juice everywhere.
Ripe noni fruit
I have come across several people that like eating ripe noni fruit raw.
Ripe noni fruit becomes ready to eat when the skin turns white and the fruit gives off a distinct aroma. The flesh is normally soft and the sour and cheesy flavor intensifies.
Overripe noni fruit
When overripe, noni fruit turns brown and begins to ferment. Overripe noni fruit has an extremely intense flavor. Therefore, you cannot eat it on its own.
The only way you can use overripe noni fruit is by diluting it with other foods or liquid. Eating overripe noni on its own is an unpleasant experience.
I suggest that you don’t eat it.
All you need to know about noni juice
The best way to experience the health benefits of noni fruit without having to deal with its harsh flavor is by extracting its juice.
The best way to do this is to lace the fruits (uncut) in a jar and let them ferment in the sun. This way, the juice will seep out. This process will take approximately 14 days.
Compared to the juices you get from other fruits like oranges, the taste of noni juice is a bit underwhelming. One jar of noni fruits will only give you half a cup of fresh noni juice. I usually mix just a little bit of noni juice to my smoothies for that tropical effect.
Noni juice can also be drunk on its own. Its smell is not as pungent as that of the fruit and its flavor is also not astringent and fetid. However, the juice is more acidic and sour and somewhat tastes like lemon.
If you do not want to go to the trouble of making noni juice at home, you can always buy the ready-made ones from the store.
Noni fruit uses
Although the fruit of the noni tree is the one that most people consume, the leaves, bark, roots, and shoots are also edible. Noni is arguably one of the less risky tropical food to eat. Here are a few culinary uses of the noni fruit.
- Eat it raw
It is important to peel noni before eating since the skin is not edible. Slice the flesh into pieces and then eat it. You can spit out the seeds the same way you spit out watermelon seeds if you don’t find them pleasant.
- Add to stir-fries
If you want your stir fry to have a hint of sour, I suggest adding some cubes of ripe noni to it.
- Add to smoothies
Add noni to your smoothies to give them a tropical flavor.
- Add to salads
Noni fruit is a great addition to ulam salad.
- Use it as a vegan cheese alternative
You can add noni fruit to your cheeseboard as a vegan alternative.
Is noni fruit nutritious?
Noni fruit may not be so tasty, but it is definitely nutritious. It is rich in vitamin C, folate, and biotin. Additionally, it is a good source of antioxidants.
I have come across several tea, capsules, and powders that use noni fruit as a key ingredient.
Interesting facts about noni fruit
- Noni fruit goes by several names including; Indian mulberry, beach mulberry, cheese fruit, and great morinda.
- Locals used noni fruit as emergency fruit during famine hence it gained the name ‘starvation fruit’.
- Because of its numerous health benefits, noni fruit is a staple in the Pacific islands. It also gained popularity in Central America and Southeast Asia for the same reason.
- The scientific name for the noni tree is Morinda citrifolia. It belongs to the coffee family.
- This fruit is available all year round.
- The origin of noni can be traced back to the tropical islands of New Guinea. It had an advantage over other native plants because it had the ability to thrive in new lava flows.
Noni is a unique tropical fruit compared to other tropical fruits. Unlike the rest, eating noni fruit raw is very difficult. The fruit has an acrid smell and pungent flavor.
It also contains so many seeds that make it difficult to enjoy the fruit. However, noni is one of those fruits that you grow to like over time.
If you want to get the best of noni fruit, I suggest that you drink noni juice. Noni juice does not have an overwhelming flavor or aroma.
Additionally, it contains sweeteners that make it more palatable and make up for the pungent flavor. In case you want an alternative to the fresh fruit, try dragonfruit or jazz apple.
If you have never tried noni fruit I advise that you try and let me know whether or not you like it. You have nothing to lose.