By Bridget Reed

What Are the Most Sour Natural Fruits?

In our quest to harness all the sour power that nature has to offer, we wondered, “What are the most sour fruits in the world?” We asked folks from the Eldergroom Forrest to Grime Square and everywhere in between what they thought, and from there, we compiled The List. 

But to determine which fruits are truly the sourest, we knew we had to test each one with the toughest, grittiest, and most sour-trained creatures in all the land. So, we put together a taste test with two terrible and terribly tough level three minibosses — Connie and Moo — and Quinnie, our heroic quokka who knows sour better than anyone else we know.

It wasn’t easy to get these sworn enemies to participate together, but we brokered a brief truce in the interest of competition.

Meet the Contestants

It took some seriously hefty security to navigate this event, but we had our magical sages protect the competitors from each other with special force fields, and fortunately, everyone behaved themselves. Well, as much as you could expect them to, anyway.


The no-good owner, operator, and mascot of the carnival of your nightmares, Connie has sold dangerously sour snacks at her fair since the day it opened. 


Without a doubt, Moo is the biggest mole we’ve ever seen. He made a rare ascent from the ShardShaft Mines for this event under the special condition that his force field also had to block out all the light around him. 


Our hero, Quinnie the Quokka, stepped away from helping Hank with his quest just long enough to participate in the taste test competition. She may be sugary-sweet in personality, but her sour sense is unparalleled, and her expertise in the realm of sour snacks was needed to round out the panel of competitors.

She wished her competitors good luck before the test began and received only grumbles and insults in return.

The Rules of the Test

We tested to find the most sour natural fruits in the world, so contestants ate raw, unprocessed fruits at the stage of growth when they’re at their most sourest.

Here are the rules that the contestants agreed to.

  • No fighting. This might seem obvious to the casual observer, but this was actually the toughest rule to agree upon.

  • Contestants all ate the same fruit at the same time.

  • The first contestant to show signs of face-puckering* came in third place. The second contestant to pucker came in second place. And whoever lasts the longest without puckering won the coveted first-place trophy and bragging rights.

  • In the end, they all ranked the fruits for our final list.

*The three signs of face-puckering include squinting and closing the eyes, crinkling the nose, and pursing the lips in response to eating any of the fruits.

The Results

Here is our list of the most sourest natural fruits on the planet in order from least to most sour as determined by the greatest experts in the realm. 

10. Green Apples

Everyone agreed that, while delicious and delightfully sour, even the tartest green apple couldn’t pack the same punch as the rest of the fruits.

Green apples are more sour than their red counterparts because they have more malic acid. Connie talked a lot of trash throughout the taste test, and she called green apples child’s play, saying they shouldn’t even make the list. But Moo swore by their fiber content to keep him regular. (He is super old, after all.)

9. Tart Cherries

You would think by name alone that these would rank high on the list, but tart cherries barely even registered as sour for our expert panel. 

The fruits on this list boast a lot of impressive health benefits, and if this was a list of the world’s healthiest sour fruits, tart cherries would be up at the top. Helpful for everything from gut health to exercise recovery, these bright red stone fruits are lower in sugar and higher in malic acid than sweet cherries. 

But they weren’t sour enough to bring even a twinge of tartness to our contestants’ eyes.

8. Tamarind

When these tropical African fruits are young, the green pulp that comes out of them is tart enough to pucker the face of any sour amateur. 

Rich in citric acid and tartaric acid, tamarind was sour enough to get a nod of pleasant surprise out of Quinnie. Moo gave no indication of sourness, but Connie started goading the other contestants in the tamarind round, which experts agree was likely a distraction tactic to hide her nerves.

7. Green Mango

They say the harder the mango, the more sour the fruit, so we brought the firmest and least ripe mangoes we could find to the competition. The low sugar and high tartaric acid make the green mango particularly sour, and all of our contestants agreed this was the point in the contest when they first felt signs of face-puckering.

Moo claims the immune-boosting properties in green mangoes are what keep him healthy enough to keep working the mines even after 80 years on the job.

6. Guava

Made sour mostly by the amount of citric acid, sour guava also contains smaller amounts of tartaric, malic, and ascorbic acids, landing it the number six spot on our list. Connie got quiet in this round, and we think it was so she could focus on keeping her face unpuckered.

Quinnie told us she eats sour guava for the high potassium to prevent muscle cramps during her adventures with Hank. She even popped the whole dang superfruit in her mouth to get all the extra nutrients.

5. Japanese Apricots

Connie said some things to the other contestants during the Japanese apricot round that we couldn’t repeat, and with all that trash-talking, the judges couldn’t tell whether or not her face showed any signs of puckering. 

Also called Japanese or Chinese plums, plum blossoms, or ume fruit, the Japanese apricot is most often pickled into an extra sour snack known as umeboshi. But even without the added sourness from vinegar in the pickling process, the raw apricots alone were sour enough to show cracks in Connie’s game.

4. Gooseberries

Like a lot of the best sour fruits, gooseberries become sweet as they ripen, but they’re known to be super sour when plucked early enough, thanks to several organic acids, including both citric and malic. 

The judges took notice when Connie’s eyes got wide and shifty in the gooseberry round, but she managed to withhold any visible puckering and survived to the next round.

3. Cranberries

Cranberries are one of the world’s most sour natural fruits due to their low sugar and high citric and malic acid amounts. Cranberries are super nutrient-rich with fiber, vitamins, and minerals, and they have a special compound called quercetin that’s a powerful antioxidant with properties that battle external attackers, physical discomforts, and germs

Arguably one of the most potent health boosters in the world in the battle against the Final Boss. No amount of quiet focus or trash-talking outbursts could stop the judges from noticing the little twinge at the corner of Connie’s eyes when she munched on the cranberries. 

She did everything she could to fight against it, but finally, her lips puckered up, and Connie was done for the day.

2. Lemons and Limes

With Connie out of the contest, Moo looked as stoic as ever at the beginning of the citrus round. But when Quinnie continued to happily munch on both the lemons and the limes — even asking for seconds because she enjoyed them so much — we finally saw the first indication of fear in Moo’s eyes.

These citric acid powerhouses didn’t take out either of the remaining contestants, but they certainly packed a super sour punch that tested Moo’s limits.

3. Bilimbi

Native to Indonesia and commonly found in Southeast Asia, bilimbi is mostly used for medicinal purposes, but it’s super sour-powered by oxalic and citric acids, making it the absolute most sour fruit according to our panel.

This was the final round, so the judges kept an eagle eye on our two remaining contestants to see who would crack first.

Moo’s eyes twitched and watered as he fought off signs of puckering. He chanced a look at Quinnie, who tossed a bilimbi up in the air and caught it in her mouth, and with that, Moo’s eyes squinted, his nose crinkled, and his big mole mouth twisted into an epic pucker that landed Quinnie at the top of the podium.

Sour-Power, Ranked

Well, there you have it — the definitive list of the most sour natural fruits in our realm and beyond, and congratulations to the winner of our hearts and of the sour fruit taste test: Quinnie the Quokka!


Effects of Tart Cherry Juice on Biomarkers of Inflammation and Oxidative Stress in Older Adults | National Library of Medicine

Guava (Psidium guajava L.) Leaves: Nutritional Composition, Phytochemical Profile, and Health-Promoting Bioactivities | National Library of Medicine

Cranberry: Chemical Composition, Antioxidant Activity and Impact on Human Health: Overview | National Library of Medicine.

Averrhoa bilimbi Linn.: A review of its ethnomedicinal uses, phytochemistry, and pharmacology | National Library of Medicine