Longan is also known by its scientific name Dimocarpus longan or “dragon eye” in Cantonese. This fruit, which resembles an eyeball, is a tropical evergreen tree that comes from Southeast Asia. It produces an edible sweet fruit, which is greatly valued in the orient as both a fruit and medical ingredient. Longan also belongs to the soapberry family, from which other famous fruits such as lychee and rambutan come from.
Longan is a small-sized – it has the size of a grape – yellow colored fruit that when open discloses a sweet and sometimes translucid flesh that lets you see a little black seed in the inside. Nowadays, longan is cultivated in tropical places all over the world and ca ben found in many supermarkets worldwide.
Have you ever experienced this fruit? Interested in learning how to eat longan, what it taste like, and its health benefits, keep on reading this article.
How to eat Longan
Longan is a very versatile fruit that can be eaten in several ways, raw or as a snack, in various deserts, in a salad, as well as, an ingredient in Asian cuisine and soups, so it is very easy to incorporate into your daily diet.
In order to eat longan, firstly you will need to wash the skin. Secondly, since the skin is thin, you can simply peel it off using your fingers or a small knife if you prefer. Discard the skin and enjoy the succulent flesh. Also, remember to remove the inside seed as you do not want to eat it. And if you have never tried it and are wondering what longan tastes like its flesh is generally described as having a sweet-taste, musky flavor, somewhat similar to the lychee fruit.
In terms of health benefits, longan leaves nothing to be desired. This tropical fruit is a valuable source of vitamin C, potassium, and vitamin B2. Furthermore, as a medicine longan can provide an array of benefits, such as:
- Promoting appetite and assisting digestion
- Reducing fever
- Reducing stress and insomnia
- Treating anemia and iron deficiency
- Antidote for poison
If that was not enough, longan leaves and flowers are a great source of quercetin and quercitrin. These substances are commonly used to treat heart and blood vessel conditions as well as to prevent cancer due to their antioxidant effects. Moreover, longan seeds contain saponins, tannin, and fat, therefore, being capable to act as an antihemorrhagic.
Longan vs Lychee
Longan and Lychee are similar fruits, they belong to the same family and even have similar tastes. However, does this mean that they have the same health benefits? Keep on reading to find it out.
Both longan and lychee are great sources of vitamin C, even though longan has an even higher count of vitamin C. Longan provides 60.1 mg/100 grams of vitamin C whereas lychee provides 27.6 mg/100 grams of fresh fruit, a considerable difference of almost 56%. Moreover, according to one study conducted in Hawaii, longans can be considered a good source of potassium and copper, while lychee has the recommended daily intake for potassium, zinc, magnesium, and phosphorus.
To summarize, both fruits are a great source of vitamins and minerals that are worth including in your daily diet. However, if you are looking to increase your vitamin C intake, considering incorporating longan in your routine as it has way more vitamin C than its counterpart, lychee. Additionally, if you have diabetes or have problems controlling your blood sugar levels eat these fruits in moderation as they have a slightly high level of sugar.
Interested to incorporate this rich in vitamin C fruit in your diet? Here are some easy ways that you can try in your home:
- 5 skinless and seedless longans
- 1 cup (200 ml) of coconut milk or water
- 1 banana
How to prepare: Firstly, cut the banana into smaller pieces, set them aside. In a blender combine the longans, banana pieces, and pour in coconut milk or water. Blend until smooth. Serve it refrigerated.
Chicken with Longan and Macadamia Salad
- 1 boneless chicken breast
- 45 grams or ¼ cup of macadamia nuts
- 1 washed lettuce
- 100 grams of skinless/seedless longans
- 100 grams of pea sprouts
- 2 tablespoons of olive oil
- 1 tablespoon of lemon juice
- 3 tablespoons of shredded mint leaves
- Pinch sugar
How to prepare: Firstly, pre-heat the oven to 180°C or 356°F. On a baking tray, spread the macadamia nuts and bake for 3 to 5 minutes. Set aside.
In a large pan, bring water to boil and add the chicken breast, simmer the meat for about 12 minutes. In a jar, combine the lettuce, longans, pea sprouts, oil, juice, mint, and sugar and mix them well. Slice the chicken and add to the salad mixture. Sprinkle macadamias on top to serve.
Longan, commonly named “dragon eye” due to its eyeball resemblance, is a tropical sweet tasting fruit with a plethora of health benefits.
Filled with vitamin C and minerals, this Asian native fruit is now widespread worldwide, being cultivated in many countries. In addition, longans are very versatile and easy to incorporate into your routine.
If you are curious about how to eat longan, the process is very simple. After washing the peel that might be dirty, you can directly peel off the skin (it is easier if you start peeling next to the stem) and pop the entire fruit in your mouth, just don’t forget to spit out the seed or remove it if you are going to give it to a child.
Furthermore, there are multiple ways to include longans in your diet. Besides eating it raw, you can also include longans in a variety of recipes such as salads, juice, desserts, and soups. Either fresh or dried there are many ways to consume them.