The lychee is a small round fruit about the size of a walnut. The pinkish-red skin is covered with tiny spikes and it is inedible. Inside, the firm white flesh covers a large dark inedible seed. The flesh is very juicy and has a sweet, floral taste with a subtle note of rose. Lychees are in the same botanical family as longans and rambutans, so all three fruits have many similar characteristics. The rambutan, lychee, and longan are all known for having white flesh inside, encircling an inedible dark seed. All three fruits grow on trees and can be eaten straight off the branch. All three taste have a similar, unique taste. The lychee is slightly less sweet flavor than a rambutan, with a slightly crisper texture. They are considered to be a super fruit because studies have shown that they contain the second highest amounts of polyphenol antioxidants of fruits.
Ripening and Storage:
Store fresh lychees in the refrigerator after purchasing, since they do not ripen further after being picked. You can also freeze them, whole and unpeeled in a bag.
Use your fingers to pry open the red skin. The inedible skin will peel away clean and you will be left the succulent white round flesh that can eaten raw. Be careful not to swallow the large black seed inside.
Lychee martinis have been popular for a few years now, but there is definitely more to the lychee! Lychees are eaten fresh or canned as-is, or you can chop them up, or blend them; whatever your recipe calls for. They can also used in desserts and other beverages. Lychees are juiced and used to flavor syrups, ice creams, and teas.