My local Asian market has always stocked dozens of varieties of canned lychee products, and additional dozens of lychee flavored products (tapioca desserts, for example). Today, however, was the first time I noticed FRESH lychee fruit in the produce section. The price, about $4 per pound, seemed kind of steep at a glance. However, lychee fruit are pretty small – smaller than a plum – and I was able to purchase enough for a pretty little dish for about $2.
Lychee trees are indigenous to parts of China, and are now grown in many tropical and sub-tropical regions of the world. Recently, lychee fruit have been grown commercially in California and Florida, which is how fresh lychee ended up at my local market. It’s a small world! Lychee are low in calories, high in both Vitamin C and phytonutrients, and offer a refreshing, lightly sweet taste with a mild floral aroma. Amazing!
These little fruit resemble big raspberries at a glance. The raspberry appearance is simply the bumpy red peel, which must be removed. Puncture the peel with a paring knife and gently pull back.
Once started, the rest of the peel will unravel very easily, often in one piece. Break apart the peeled lychee fruit with your fingers (think of breaking a plum apart) and remove the single, smooth seed at the center.
Your peeled, seeded lychee fruit are now ready to enjoy! I think they’re lovely all by themselves. If you want to experiment, try a sprinkle of cinnamon, a squeeze of lime, or even a drizzle of coconut milk. Have fun!