From lychee ice cream to lychee soda, nowadays many people are familiar with its flavour. But have you ever tried fresh lychee? These Asian fruits are sweet, juicy, and are reminiscent of grapes in flavour. They are also becoming more popular because they are so easy and delicious to eat!
How to Select
When choosing fresh lychee, look for pink red or red rinds. Lychees are about the size of a small apricot or a very large grape. They should be plump, heavy for their size, and have a sweet fragrance.
Avoid any fruit that are cracked, leaking juices, or are blemished with a sour smell. Those are over-ripe or spoiled and should be avoided. Over-ripe fruit are also very soft to the touch and have rinds that come away very easily. Also avoid any lychee fruits that are under-ripe; these lack of bright red hue and are sometimes yellow or green.
How to Store
Store lychee in mesh bags because they allow the fruit to breathe and avoid excess moisture that may cause premature spoilage. If you didn’t buy them in a mesh bag, leave them in a paper-towel lined colander or sieve in the fridge for up to a week.
How to Prepare
To open lychee, use your thumb or the tip of a paring knife to break the skin and peel away the skin. Either eat whole while being careful to avoid and discard the seed, or use a paring knife to cut the fruit away from the seed. Eat prepared lychee immediately! Click here for a photo tutorial.
How to Freeze
Freeze lychee whole, in the rind by spreading onto a large sheet in the freezer. Once frozen, transfer to an airtight bag and press out all the air. To enjoy, thaw and peel the lychee and enjoy as you would fresh. The rind may be a brownish colour after freezing, but this will not affect the taste.
- Lychee is best enjoyed as soon as you purchase—so when you get home, enjoy immediately for peak flavour and ripeness!
- Be sure to inspect your lychee before eating. Check the tell-tale colouring – pink red or red rinds are good but anything green or yellow is a sign that is it under-ripe.
- Lychee, longan, and rambutan have very similar flavours but slightly different textures! Try each one to see which one you like best.
- Use your thumb to pierce the skin of a lychee and gently peel away the skin to get to the fruit. Be careful not to eat the seed!
Goes well with
Like rambutan, lychee goes well with other tropical and Asian fruits like pineapple, durian, coconut, jackfruit, mango, mangosteen, and kiwi.
Lychee also pairs well with orange, lemon, lime, ginger, gooseberry, pomegranate, raspberries, strawberries, pear, rose water, white chocolate, matcha, chocolate, and vanilla.
Lychee drinks (alcoholic or not) are always a delicious hit. Try this fresh lychee martini from My Man’s Belly.
According to the Canadian Nutrient File, 100 g of fresh lychee contain a number of your daily-recommended intake of nutrients: 120% of vitamin C, 6% of Vitamin B6, 6% of folate, 5% of fibre (1.3 g), and 5% of potassium.