Noni Fruit: The Polynesian “Vomit Fruit”

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The Noni fruit, indigenous to Polynesia, is commonly called the "Vomit Fruit" due to its strong odor and bitter flavor. Despite its unappealing features, traditional medicine recognizes this fruit as having properties that could offer potential health benefits and treat various illnesses.

What is a Noni Fruit?

The Noni fruit (Morinda citrifolia) is a tropical fruit that originates from Southeast Asia, with its primary presence being in the Pacific islands. It is famously called cheese fruit,  Indian mulberry, hog apple, or nonu and belongs to the coffee family, Rubiaceae. 

When ripe, Noni fruit takes on a greenish-yellow color, has an irregular and lumpy shape, and is about the size of a potato. It emits a pungent odor, which some liken to blue cheese. 

The flavor profile of Noni fruit is a combination of slightly bitter and tart notes, which blend with sweet and sour flavors. Usually incorporated in juice form and traditional herbal remedies, Noni fruit adds value to the culinary and medicinal worlds.

The History of Noni Fruit

Morinda citrifolia fruit traces its origin back to Southeast Asia, specifically, the regions encompassing Indonesia, India, and Malaysia. It has been a staple in traditional medicine in the Indonesian and Hawaiian cultures for centuries, and its cultural importance continues to thrive. 

The fruit’s reputed health benefits contributed to its global popularity through international trade. With its various believed healing properties, the significance of Noni fruit has gained popularity in the world of medicinal practices. 

In some cultures, it is utilized in celebrations and festivals as an emblem of good fortune and wellness. Noni is common in la’au lapa’au Hawaiian natural medicines. The cosmetic industry also uses the fruit to make soap and lotions.

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A ripe noni fruit ready for harvest.

What Does a Noni Fruit Taste Like?

The natural taste of noni fruit is intensely pungent and bitter. However, its flavor profile can be moderated through cooking or processing, yet its distinct characteristic is still preserved.

How to Tell When Noni Fruit is Ripe

ColorMature noni fruits exhibit yellowish-white or cream hues.
Texture and FirmnessThe mature noni fruit displays a soft texture and concedes under slight pressure when compressed.
ScentAs the noni fruit matures, its fragrance becomes more robust, featuring notes reminiscent of fermented fruits or cheese.
Smoothness/RoughnessMature noni fruit exhibits a sleek exterior without noticeable blemishes.

When opting for noni fruit, prioritize selecting ones with a yellow-green color and a lack of blemishes. Steer clear of noni fruit sporting discolored spots or an unpleasant odor. Remember that a desirable noni fruit will exhibit a weight proportionate to its size.

What’s The Difference Between Noni and Soursop?

Noni and soursop are tropical fruits that have distinctive features. Noni, also recognized as Indian mulberry, possesses an intense aroma and acrid taste. It is deemed to have multiple health advantages and is frequently taken as juice or supplements. 

Soursop has a pleasing, tangy flavor and an indulgent, creamy texture. It is usually consumed fresh or utilized in desserts and beverages.

Can I Eat Raw Noni Fruit?

Consuming raw noni fruit is safe. This fruit can be readily consumed in fresh form, blended in juices or smoothies, incorporated in salads, or transformed into tasty jams and preserves.

Cooking with Noni Fruit

Here’s how to properly prepare noni fruit before cooking:

  1. It is recommended to rinse it under running water to eliminate any potential contaminants.
  2. Next, slice the fruit in half and utilize a spoon to extract the pulp, which is the consumable component of the fruit.
  3. The seeds and skin can be disposed of.

The Noni fruit is popular in traditional Tahitian, Hawaiian, and Fijian cuisines. Characterized by its marked taste, which has been described as both potent and mildly bitter, it is primarily consumed in cooked or condiment form rather than raw.

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Always remove the many tiny, dark seeds of the noni before consuming.

Here are a few dishes that incorporate it:

Fresh Noni Juice: You can prepare this fresh juice in 15 minutes using fresh noni, grape juice, and water. Grape juice helps with masking the taste and smell of 

Polynesian Noni Shake: This superfood is made from noni fruit juice, mango, pineapple, ripe banana, lemon juice, almond milk, protein powder, and raw honey. 

Fijian Noni Fruit Curry: Noni fruit is used in curries in Fijian cuisine to give a distinct flavor and depth. The fruit pulp is cooked with spices, vegetables, and meat or seafood to create a flavorful curry dish.

How to Store Noni Fruit

For optimal storage of Noni fruit, it is recommended to refrigerate the fruit while keeping it in a perforated plastic wrap or breathable bag to maintain its freshness. This ensures that the fruit can be preserved for two weeks. 

Freezing the fruit is also an option if you want to store it for longer. Cut the fruit into tiny pieces and put them in a freezer bag or an airtight container to extend its shelf life for months. 

Another method of preserving the fruit is drying it, where the fruit can last for one year. This can be achieved by slicing the Noni fruit into thin pieces and placing them in an oven or dehydrator at a low temperature.

It is important to avoid storing Noni on countertops, as this can lead to spoilage.

Nutritional Benefits of Noni Fruit

The Noni fruit contains essential nutrients such as vitamins A, C, potassium, calcium, iron, and antioxidants. Vitamin A contributes to maintaining healthy skin and vision. Vitamin C enhances the immune response and promotes collagen synthesis. 

Iron facilitates the transport of oxygen and the generation of energy. Potassium plays a crucial role in the maintenance of heart health and blood pressure regulation. 

Antioxidants safeguard against cellular damage and inflammation, significantly lowering the likelihood of chronic illnesses like cancer and heart disease.

Where to Purchase Noni Fruit

Noni fruit can be found at select specialty health food stores, farmers’ markets, and online retailers, though its availability may differ based on location. You can buy noni fruit powder and juices if you cannot get fresh fruits.


Tabitha is a freelance writer with love for food and drinks. She loves gardening and is always looking for new ways to get more fresh produce. She also loves animals and has dairy goats, chicken, sheep, a dog, and a cat at her home.

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