I love eating and tasting fruits from all over the world especially tropical fruits. Next up is the lychee. They also go by the name, lichi or litchi.
The lychee is a tropical fruit which is the sole member of the genus Litchi and belongs to the soapberry family, Sapindaceae. Other fruits that are in the soapberry family include the rambutan and longan.
In this post, I will mention where the lychee comes from and where it grows, what the health benefits are, how to eat it, and do a taste test. On to the information!
Where do lychee come from and where do they grow?
I first had the lychee when I was living in the Philippines many many years ago. The lychee originated in China. Apparently, records show this fruit dates back to the 11th century. That is pretty awesome. They grow wild there also in Vietnam and Cambodia.
It is grown and cultivated in many places, like the Philippines, India, other parts of Southeast Asia, Madagascar, South Africa, Hawaii, and Florida to name a few places.
The lychee shown in this article I bought on sale at my local Asian Market for $3.59 a pound. They were imported from Florida. Lychees can grow here in Arizona, but are very hard to keep alive, kind of like the avocado.
They really need rich soil and a tropical climate to thrive.
What are the health benefits of lychee?
The lychee is made up of mostly water and carbs but has a few other healthy benefits:
- Helps with hydration
- Decent level of vitamin C
- Good source of copper
- Good source for potassium
- High in antioxidants
You can read more about the lychee health benefits in this healthline.com article.
How to eat lychee
This tropical fruit is very east to eat. At first glance it kind of looks like a mini dragon egg. It is soft to the touch, despite the somewhat spiky skin.
They are just a bit smaller than a golfball. To eat one, all you need to do is take your finger nails and easily peel away the skin, leaving a white fleshy looking ball of fruit.
Then just take a bite or pop the whole thing in your mouth. Be careful there is a fairly large seed in the middle. The seed is smooth, and it is easy to eat around it.
What does the lichi taste like?
Now what does the lychee taste like and how are they used? The white flesh is very sweet and juicy with just a hint of sourness. The texture is very similar to that of a grape. It has a floral tropical flavor which to me is extremely satisfying.
Unlike the rambutan, the pit is very smooth and doesn’t have a woody membrane around it. The texture is also very similar to the rambutan, but the tastes are a bit different.
They are one of my favorite tropical fruits to eat.
Commonly they are eaten fresh as is, but also used in ice cream, jelly, and smoothies and other dessert dishes.
I highly recommend this delicious fruit. Next time you see them in the market, pick some up and try them.
All about Lychee video
Check out the video I made on this amazing fruit!
Here are some other recipes and interesting information you may like: