Lychees are one of the more unusual looking fruits that you’ll find in the produce section of your local grocery store. They are small – usually smaller than a golf ball – have a rough, bright pink rind covering a tender, white flesh. The rind is thin and can be peeled away from the flesh of the fruit easily, then the fruit itself can be eaten. Each lychee contains one fairly large seed, which should be removed and not consumed. Lychees are sweet and taste distinctly of melon and floral perfume. Lychee season is during the summer, typically from May to July, though the exact length of the season will vary depending on the country and climate in which the fruit are grown. Lychee grow in tropical and subtropical climates and most are grown in China and Southeast Asia.
How to use Lychees
Though lychees are sometimes called “lychee nuts” because of their hard outer rind, these fruits are not nuts at all. In fact, they are much more like a berry than a nut, though their rind is inedible. Lychees are best eaten raw because their flavor is delicate and they loose their perfumy quality after being cooked. They are eitehr eaten whole or chopped up and added to desserts like ice cream, shaved ice and fruit salad. Another reason that they are rarely cooked is that their texture is at its best while the fruits are fresh. While fresh lychees are only available for a few months, canned lychees packed in syrup are available year-round. These fruits are very sweet and do not have the subtle flavor of the fresh fruit, though they can still make a tasty addition to a dessert or a fruit salad if you are looking to add something tropical to a dish.
To peel a lychee, simply pierce the rind with a small knife or your fingernail and gently peel it off the flesh of the fruit. The fruit can then be peeled away from the pit, which should be discarded.