Acai and pitaya bowls have become extremely popular on social media among fitness enthusiasts. While acai bowls made their entry on the fad block much earlier than pitaya bowls, the latter has also found a cult following.
Both these fruit bowls have also made themselves Instagram-worthy because of their bright and happy colors. But are acai and pitaya the same fruit? You will find out how similar or different these two fruits are right here.
Pitaya and acai are both tropical fruits packed with antioxidants and nutrition. While both fruits are great for health and used in similar ways, they are poles apart in terms of their appearance, texture, and flavor.
In the sections below, you will find the differences and similarities between these two beautiful-looking fruits and their health benefits in detail.
Pitaya Vs. Acai | Difference Table
|Basis of Difference||Pitaya||Acai|
|Origin||Central and South America||Amazon area of South America|
|Variety||Four varieties||One variety|
|Color||Pinkish red skin with light green pointy scales||Dark-purple berries|
|Shape||Oval-shape||Small 1-inch berries|
|Serving options||Served as fresh fruit or with fish.||Puree, frozen, dried powder, and juice. It is available in its fresh form only in the area where it is grown.|
|Sold As||Sold as a fresh fruit||Sold as a frozen fruit puree, pressed juice, or dried powder|
What is Acai?
Acai berries are primarily grown in the Amazon area of South America. They are small, dark purple-colored berries that come from the acai palm. These berries grow in clusters, have pits (or seeds) inside them, making up about 70% of the fruit, and look like blueberries.
As for their size, acai berries look a lot like grapes and grow about 1 inch round in size. These berries have an earthy flavor that’s often compared to blueberries paired with dark chocolate. They don’t have a lot of sweetness to them, unlike other berries.
Traditionally these tiny berries are soaked in water to soften the flesh in order to remove the hard pit from inside.
The resulting violet-colored pulp is eaten in smoothie bowls, yogurts, fish, game meats, as a soup, or as a condiment.
Acai berries have an extremely short shelf-life. Outside of where they are grown, they are exported in frozen form as processed pulp, frozen fruit puree, pressed juice, or dried powder.
What is Pitaya?
Pitaya is also commonly known as the dragon fruit. This superfruit indigenous to Central and South America is now grown all over the world.
Pitaya, or dragon fruit, is a sweet and crunchy tropical fruit with pinkish-red skin and light green pointy scales. It is an oval-shaped fruit whose looks are reminiscent of a dragon.
This fruit comes in four varieties. Three pink-skinned varieties come with white, red, and purple flesh. The fourth variety has yellow skin with white flesh. Additionally, all the varieties have tiny black seeds, just like kiwifruit, that are edible.
Pitaya has a faintly sweet taste. It has been described as a cross between kiwi and watermelon or kiwi and pear.
Dragon fruit is enjoyed on its own. You can eat it as fresh fruit or pair it with fish dishes.
Pitaya Vs. Acai | What’s The Difference?
With a short look at what pitaya and acai look like and come from, you must have understood how different these two fruits are. Let’s take a look at all the aspects to find out the differences between the two.
Pitaya is native to Mexico and Central America, while acai berries come from the Amazon River basin in South America.
Unlike acai berries which grow on palm trees, pitaya grows on a type of cactus tree. The acai trees require a humid environment for their growth, which is why cultivating these berries is limited to a few countries, including Peru, Chile, and Ecuador.
Due to this, fresh acai berries are available only in the countries where they are grown and are available in other forms such as frozen, pureed, powdered, and juices in other countries.
On the other hand, pitaya trees are easily grown in various parts of the world. Thus, they are mostly consumed in fresh fruit form.
Pitaya and acai are two fruits that look completely different. Pitaya, or dragon fruit, is a bright pinkish-red fruit with pointy green scales that resembles a dragon. It has an oval to oblong shape. Pitaya has small black kiwi-like seeds inside the pulp that are edible.
Acai, on the other hand, are simple-looking small berries. They have a deep purple color and a round shape. Acai has a pit inside it that is not edible.
Apart from the basic differences in their appearance, pitaya is also available in three different varieties, having different tastes. Acai berries have many varieties, but black acai is the most popular.
Pink-skinned pitayas come in three different flesh colors: white, red, and purple. The fourth variety of pitaya has yellow skin with white flesh.
When it comes to the flavors of pitaya and acai, the two fruits differ greatly. Pitaya is a mildly sweet-tasting fruit that tastes like a cross between pear and kiwi. Moreover, the sweetness depends on the variety. Yellow skin pitaya is considered to be the sweetest.
On the other hand, acai has a tart and earthy flavor that tastes like a mix of blueberries and dark chocolate.
The texture of the two fruits plays a key role in using them in different ways. A perfectly ripe pitaya has a crunchy and creamy texture with thick and leathery skin.
Fresh acai berries have tough skin. In order to use acai berries, you need to soak them to soften them. The pulp of acai feels granular.
Having said that, both fruits, when blended, have a smooth texture that makes them the perfect ingredients for the famous smoothie bowls.
Fresh pitayas are a common sighting at supermarkets as they are grown all over the world. Moreover, with their tough skin, it’s easier to transport them to different countries.
You can find pitaya in fresh form, frozen, or even as chips.
Unlike pitaya, acai berries are always sold frozen, pureed, pulped, or juiced. Acai powder is most commonly found.
8. Nutrition And Health Benefits
There are many differences in the flavor, appearance, and texture of pitaya and acai. However, both fruits are chock full of health benefits.
Acai and pitaya are both high in antioxidants that protect your body against the damage of free radicals.
A major reason why the pitaya and acai bowl has become so popular is that both are quite low in calories. A 100-gram serving of these fruits contains 60 and 70 calories, accordingly. This makes them the perfect ingredient for nutrition-packed bowls.
11. Vitamins And Minerals
Both these fruits are packed with vitamins A and C and minerals. While pitaya is a good source of magnesium and iron, acai berries contain traces of zinc, potassium, manganese, phosphorus, and copper.
Moreover, both pitaya and acai are rich sources of calcium.
A 100-gram serving of frozen acai puree contains around 5 grams of fat as compared to pitaya. But these fats are healthy, improving heart health and reducing bad cholesterol levels.
Having pitaya is great for digestion. It contains a higher amount of fiber than acai berries.
Pitaya Vs. Acai | Which One Is More Versatile?
In the competition between pitaya and acai, acai berries are a clear winner of being more versatile. These berries can be used as a powder, in cereal, juices, smoothies, energy drinks, oatmeal, plain yogurt, or just mixed with water to be drunk.
But that’s not to say that pitaya can’t be used differently. You can eat pitaya like any other fruit and in salads. It is also a popular ingredient to go into smoothies and yogurt bowls and have it as a juice.
Pitaya Vs. Acai | Which One Is Healthier?
|Nutrient||Acai (Per 100g)||Pitaya (Per 100g)|
|Calories||70 g||60 g|
|Fat||5 g||0 g|
|Saturated Fat||1.5 g||0 g|
|Carbohydrates||4 g||13 g|
|Sugar||2 g||7.6 g|
|Calcium||20 mg||18 mg|
Coming to health parameters, pitaya and acai berries have remarkable health benefits. They pack lots of vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants that provide good immunity and health.
However, both fruits are low in calories which makes them a great option for people on a diet.
If you’re looking for a fruit that isn’t too sweet, then you should pick acai. However, if you don’t mind or prefer sweeter flavors, then pitaya is the one for you.
Top Recipes With Pitaya
1. Pitaya Fruit Salad
Pitaya, or dragon fruit, is an attractive-looking fruit that makes for a great salad component. Moreover, it adds a sweet and refreshing flavor and crunchy texture.
To take all the health benefits of pitaya, turn it into a colorful salad with melon, kiwi, blueberries, and pomegranate. Check out the pitaya fruit salad recipe here.
2. Pitaya Bowl
Pitaya bowls have been reigning supremacy over social media. These easy and delicious bowls are a great way to start your morning. You must blend pitaya in a mixer with other ingredients, pour it into a bowl, and top them with your favorite toppings.
3. Pitaya Pancakes
Move over your regular pancakes and replace them with pitaya pancakes. This easy pitaya pancake recipe will help you make a nutritious breakfast for your family.
Moreover, they will look super attractive if you get your hands on pink-flesh pitaya.
4. Pitaya Juice
One of the easiest ways to make the most of pitaya’s health benefits is by drinking its juice. Check out this pitaya juice recipe, made using three ingredients. This juice has a sweet and tangy taste.
5. Pitaya Fruit Cake
The best and the most delectable way to have your fruits is in a cake. Try out this stunning pitaya fruit cake that uses a layer of pitaya mousse and jelly with a fruity sponge.
Top Recipes With Acai
1. Acai Bowl
Acai bowls are a great way to start your day on a healthy note. They are a powerhouse of antioxidants, vitamins, and minerals. Try this acai berry bowl recipe made with acai puree, other fruits, and your favorite toppings to make the most of acai berries.
2. Acai Smoothie
If you have acai powder in your pantry, turn it into a delectable yet healthy smoothie using this recipe. This smoothie is an attractive purple and contains delicious ingredients like bananas, strawberries, raspberries, and hemp seeds.
3. Acai Cupcakes
Craving cupcakes? Turn them into a healthy sweet treat by using some acai powder. This recipe packs the goodness of acai and crunchy granola that tastes delicious.
4. Acai Coconut Oat Milk Cookies
Turn your regular cookies into healthy treats by making acai coconut oat milk cookies. These vegan cookies take 30 minutes to make and turn out to be delicious. This recipe uses acai berries in juice form.
5. Acai BBQ-Style Dip
Why stick to smoothies and breakfast bowls when you can enjoy acai as a savory dip? Don’t believe me? Try out this spectacular Acai BBQ-style dip recipe with a smoky, sweet, and spicy flavor. This recipe can be used for dipping purposes and as a sauce for stir fry!
Can We Substitute Pitaya With Acai?
Looking at the differences between pitaya and acai above, it’s easy to determine that despite their health benefits, both fruits cannot be substituted for each other.
Firstly, because they differ in taste and appearance, moreover, if you are looking for a specific color in your dish, then also the two differ.
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)
What is pitaya?
Pitaya is a tropical fruit commonly known as the dragon fruit. Although it is native to central and South America, today, it is grown worldwide.
How does pitaya taste?
Pitaya is a mildly sweet-tasting fruit cross between pear and kiwi.
What is Acai?
Acai is berries commonly found in the Amazon area of America. These are small grape-like berries having a deep-purple color and a pit in the center.
How does Acai taste?
Acai berries have an earthy and tart taste.
What is healthier, acai or pitaya?
Both pitaya and acai are extremely healthy.
Acai or pitaya, which has more calories?
Acai and pitaya have almost the same number of calories. But pitaya contains slightly fewer calories.
Is pitaya good for weight loss?
Being rich in fiber and low on calories, pitaya is good for weight loss.
Is pitaya a superfood?
Yes, pitaya is a superfood.
Is acai a superfood?
Yes, acai is a superfood.
Some of the best toppings for pitaya and acai bowls are granola, coconut flakes, chia seeds, berries, other fresh fruits, pumpkin seeds, etc.
When it comes to the battle of these two superfoods, pitaya and acai certainly win on the health radar. But their use and flavor depend on personal preferences. Since pitaya is naturally higher in sugar, you can skip adding sweeteners.