Lychee is a small, round (it can also be ovoid or heart shaped), fleshy fruit. It has a pinkish-red, rough and inedible skin which covers a sweet, white flesh (this is the edible part) and a large, brown stone in the middle (the seed). It grows on a lychee tree.
Lychee is sometimes spelt as litchie and it is also called alligator strawberry. It belongs in the berry family. Lychee is grown majorly in China but some parts of the United States also grow lychee. Lychee is eaten raw and fresh on some occasions, it can be added to salads, beverages, or even desserts.
Because one would not want to lose the juice of the fruit, it is always a good idea to know how to eat lychee properly. To properly eat lychee, one has to be able to peel it the right way.
HOW TO PEEL LYCHEE
The texture of the lychee is an important factor to consider when trying to peel and before eating. You have to pick a firm fruit that gives in a little when you squeeze it without leaking through. Ripe lychee fruits are usually red, orange or yellowish with a hint of pink. An overripe lychee is usually extra soft and it leaks through and collapses when you squeeze it. An overripe lychee usually has an unpleasant taste because it is already fermenting or it is completely spoilt. An unripe lychee is usually hard and though it is edible, it doesn’t have the same sweet taste a ripe one would have.
Only the white fleshy part of the lychee is edible, before you eat a lychee, you have to peel off the skin and take out the seed (the seed is poisonous).
To know how to eat lychee properly, here are the steps involved in peeling a lychee:
Step 1: Hold a lychee in your hand, using your thumbnail, pierce a hole through the rough skin to form a small circle.
Step 2: Peel off the skin from the hole like you would peel an orange. If the fruit is ripe, peeling it would be easy because it would come off the flesh easily.
Step 3: After the skin has come off, cut open the flesh into two halves to expose the seed.
Step 4: Take out the poisonous seed. The seed usually gets stuck to one end of the flesh like an avocado.
Step 5: To remove the seed, grab onto the seed with your fingers and dig a little into the resting place of the seed to give some allowance for it to come out.
Step 6: After taking out the seed, you’ll notice a brownish hard part that looks like it came off the skin; trying to remove this part only makes you lose more juice, there’s no need to remove it. This part is edible and eating it with the flesh of the fruit gives a more satisfying taste.
Step 7: After peeling off the skin and taking out the seed, your lychee is ready to be eaten.
These steps on how to peel lychee is the most widely used method adopted when peeling because you can successfully remove all inedibles without losing the flesh or juice.
DIFFERENT WAYS TO EAT A LYCHEE
Freshly peeled lychee can be eaten raw. It is a delicious snack that can be eaten at anytime of the day. There are however other ways to enjoy a lychee fruit. Other ways people eat lychee are:
Lychees are sweet fruits that are sometimes paired with other fruits to make a fruit salad. Lychee combines with other fruits like bananas, coconuts, pineapples, or mangoes. Lychees can also be eaten with oats.
It is also used in some vegetable salads. One popular salad that includes the lychee fruit is the cucumber lychee salad.
Cucumber lychee salad includes:
- 1 English cucumber,
- a cup of lychee fruit that has been peeled, pitted and halved,
- 3 sprigs of fresh nicely chopped cilantro (reserve the leaves for garnishing when serving),
- juice and zest of 1- 2 limes,
- 2 red diced Thai chilies (remove the seeds),
- 1 teaspoon of sugar
- Rice wine vinegar (1 table spoon)
- Kosher salt
To prepare this salad, cut the cucumber into two halves and take out the seeds. Dice it into nice little cubes. Put the diced cucumber, the lychee fruit, diced cilantro and Thai chilies into a bowl. Add the lime juice, zest, sugar, salt and vinegar and toss properly so all ingredients can combine. Garnish the salad with the cilantro leaves before serving.
The juice from lychee and even the fruit itself is often included in sauces used in some Asian dishes. It is also included in some barbecue sauces used for chicken or fish dishes.
Lychee is used in beverages and desserts. The fruit can be blended with other fruits to make a smoothie. It is also used in making a popular dessert called the Thai coconut milk dessert. Lychee fruits are used in making tea, cocktails and other drinks. Lychee fruit is good for cocktails because they blend well with vodka, sake or tequila.
HOW TO STORE LYCHEE TO PREVENT SPOILAGE
Lychee fruits need to be eaten at least a week after it ripens to prevent it from getting spoilt or fermented. If you have enough lychee and you are sure you can’t eat all at once, you can store the left overs. You can keep them in perforated plastic bags, containers with open lid or dry paper towels and store them in the refrigerator.
Another step to follow on how to store lychee is by freezing it. You can freeze lychee fruits if you know you cannot eat them within one week. Do not peel off the back of the fruits when you want to freeze them. When you’re ready to eat them, put in warm water for a few minutes for it to refreeze before eating.
Lychee is a small, juicy, fleshy sweet fruit that is best enjoyed fresh; it can also be canned. To know how to eat lychee, you must first be able to peel it properly. It is quite easy to peel; just remember to peel it like you would peel an orange and also don’t forget to remove the poisonous seed.