Lychees, just like persimmons, are the type of fruit that once you are given some, there is a high chance that you have no idea what to do with them.
Firstly, they look strange encased in something that appears to be a red skin that does not look edible. And secondly, what does lychee fruit even taste like?
While at first they might seem like something from another planet, they are actually quite a simple fruit. You can eat them fresh and raw as is, or add them to a dish.
You may have already even seen some lychee juice at your local grocery store, though the picture may not represent what you have in your hand.
So, with all this in mind, let’s take a look at what lychee fruit actually tastes like, and whether the taste is even good.
What Actually Is Lychee Fruit?
Lychees are considered to be a tropical fruit that originated in southern China (see also ‘What Is A Century Egg And Does It Taste Nice?‘). The fruit themselves are small, though bigger than a grape, and include a thin red outer skin that covers juicy white flesh.
They are often grown within climates that are humid and warm, and tend to be harvested during May and June.
This is another reason why they are associated with the summertime, and are often thought about when people think of tropical vacations.
Where Do Lychees Originate From?
While China is the biggest producer of the lychee, India and many other Southeast Asian countries produce lychees.
This also means that there are hundreds of different lychee varieties, because the different types all depend on where the lychees are grown. One example is India. It currently has 33 different types of lychee fruit.
While lychees are native to China, there are only 26 varieties. That is 7 less than India.
What Are The Varieties Of Lychee Fruit?
There are a number of popular lychee fruit varieties such as the Sweet Clif, Ha Kip, Emperor, No Mai Tsze, Bengal,and many more.
The type you may find at the local grocery store is the Ha Kip lychee fruit. This is because it is the type of lychee which is most certainly harvested during May and June, so you will find them at the store during the summertime.
What Does Lychee Fruit Even Taste Like?
Once you remove the outer red skin of a lychee fruit, you will notice that it looks like a white version of a grape. In fact, they even share a very similar texture.
Once you bite into the lychee you will then realize how sweet it is. While the actual taste of the lychee fruit is difficult to explain, it is often said that lychees taste similar to a pair, or a cross between a strawberry and a grape.
However, one thing is for sure, and that is how refreshing and delicious lychee fruit is. While you can eat them as is, or drink them as a juice, they also work great in a cocktail and in dishes.
While the lychees you are likely to come across are sweet, some varieties have tangy notes. It all depends on the variety of lychees that you are consuming.
Can You Eat The Skin Of A Lychee Fruit?
The red skin on a lychee fruit is bumpy. For this reason they are often referred to as ‘alligator strawberries’.
While you may be tempted to try and eat the red skin, it is actually inedible and should be avoided. There is also no nutritional value in doing so, and no doubt you will not enjoy the dry and hardness of the skin in your mouth.
Another thing to avoid is the seed (unless it has already been removed). Lychee fruit often contains a seed which can be toxic if ingested.
For this reason, always make sure to remove the fleshy fruit from the seed and skin before giving to a child.
What Are The Health Benefits Of Lychee Fruit?
Lychee fruit has a number of health benefits. This is useful because it means you can enjoy the sweet taste and know that you are doing your body some good.
There are plenty of minerals and vitamins within lychees. For example, lychees include vitamin C which can help your body to heal, as well as help it to form cartilage, collagen, muscle and blood vessels.
Lychee fruit also contains copper and potassium, as well as vital antioxidants that are needed to help reduce the risk of suffering with certain diseases like cancer and heart disease.
However, they are low in fiber compared to other fruits so will not help to keep you regular. They are also high in carbs too.
Can You Add Lychee Fruit To A Dish?
While you can eat the lychee fruit as is, you can also add it to a dish. However, if you are looking to eat the lychee fresh, then you will need to remove the skin and the seed. You can either do this by peeling away the skin, or using a knife.
Once it has been peeled, you can then add the lychee fruit to a salad, or even a smoothie for extra sweetness.
Lychee fruit is also fabulous added to a cocktail. To create a lychee martini, all you need to do is muddle lychees along with some vodka within a shaker.
Add some ice and shake until the outside becomes cold. Strain the mixture into a chilled glass, then enjoy its sweetness.
There are other ways to enjoy lychee fruit such as adding them to a stir-fry, creating a sorbet, adding them as a pancake topping, or even blending the lychees with yogurt, honey and some milk to create a delicious smoothie.
Can You Cook Lychee Fruit?
Surprisingly, you can also eat cooked lychee fruit. Once peeled, add them to a skewer and grill the sweet fruit.
Or, you can add cream cheese to them and bake them. This makes a delicious and unique treat.
While lychees may appear to be a difficult thing to eat, once you understand the texture and flavor, you will be experimenting with lychees whether eaten fresh or put into a dish.
So long as you remove the red bumpy skin and the seed, they will be ready to eat right there and then, or added to something creative.
You can also create a delicious lychee martini, or add them into a stir fry for a sweet tang. Whatever you decide to do with lychees, enjoy them as part of your summer diet. Soon enough they will become a summertime staple.
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