If you enjoy strolling along fruit rows in grocery stores, high chances are that you have spotted lychees due to their red color and textured skins.
However, you may wonder how these fruits taste as they appear exotic compared to other fruits like mangoes and oranges.
So, what does lychee taste like?
Lychees are sweet but have acidic and aromatic undertones.
That said, this bold taste may be overwhelming if you eat lychees alone.
However, these fruits pair well with green salads and are rich in essential nutrients like vitamins and antioxidants, which boost the immune system.
This article answers the question ‘what do lychee taste like?’ and gives an easy lychee recipe.
In addition are tips on picking out these fruits and the nutritional benefits and side effects of ingesting lychees.
What does lychee taste like?
Lychee’s flavor has a ray of tones; sweet, bitter, sour, salty, and floral.
At a range of one to ten, lychees are an eight-sweet.
On the other hand, their level of sourness is tolerable and consequently pairs well with citrus fruits like lemons and lime.
Unripened lychees are pretty bitter; ensure these fruits are fully ripened before purchasing them.
That said, lychees aren’t naturally salty; however, some salt may be added during processing and canning.
Lychees also have a delicate rosy taste which is pretty intriguing and luxurious.
Therefore, if you have been gambling on whether to try these fruits, this might be a sign that you should.
That said, these fruits have a pit that you should take out before tasting.
Are lychees fruits?
Lychee is a fruit with three layers; red skin, white flesh, and a large brown pit.
The fleshy part is the only edible section of this fruit.
Although the outer skin protects the delicate inner parts, it has little bumps that are uncomfortable to chew.
On the other hand, lychee seeds are rich in a toxic component known as hypoglycin; you should always remove them before eating.
This fruit is closely related to rambutans and is native to tropical and Southeast Asian regions.
However, it’s recently also grown in warm places in America like Florida and Hawaii.
The lychee season starts in late spring, around May, and proceeds through all summer to early fall.
Therefore, if you prefer fresh to canned fruits, this is the easiest time to get them.
How to eat lychee
Below are the best ways of eating this luxurious fruit.
- Raw – Eating lychees raw is the best way to experience their flavor fully. Moreover, raw lychees still have a more natural flavor than the canned variety, which is processed and stored in fluids that may alter their taste.
- In salads – Aside from enhancing taste, these fruits also add nutritional benefits to your green and fruit salads. Add them to your salads like any other fruit, and the results may amaze you.
- As desserts – Incorporate lychees into your smoothies and milkshakes to make delicious desserts. You could include them in your wines and beverages to twist them up and make them more interesting.
- In curries and dishes – The mix of sweet, sour, and rosy flavors makes these fruits perfect for some curries and dishes like duck, chicken, and meat soups. Make a sauce including lychees, then add it to these curries for an ultimate taste upgrade.
Tips on peeling lychee
Lychee flesh is quite delicate; you may want to understand how to peel it properly, especially when preparing these fruits for drinks like martinis.
In this regard, below are the steps of peeling this fruit.
- Hold lychee in your fingers and press it using your thumbnail to make a crack. Although these fruits’ skin appears hard, it’s pretty brittle.
- Peel back the skin. If the fruit is ripe, the whole skin should come off once or in a few pieces.
- Make a straight cut into the opaque white fleshy part and remove the seed. If the flesh has any brown coloring or some spotty patches, it’s probably fermented and unsafe for ingestion.
Lychees’ nutritional benefits
Aside from adding a bold flavor to your meals, lychee is also rich in essential nutrients that boost the immune system.
Some of them include:
- Epicatechin – Besides regulating blood sugar levels, this nutrient also reduces cholesterol levels, enhances insulin sensitivity,y and promotes heart and brain health.
- Vitamin C – Vitamin C enhances immune system functioning, strengthens bones, and repairs body tissues. It also helps absorb iron, improves brain function, and lowers the risk of heart disease.
- Vitamin B2 – This nutrient is essential for proper energy supply and helps digest carbohydrates, proteins, and fats. Vitamin B2 also helps treat illnesses like red blood cell aplasia, burning feet syndrome, and muscle cramps.
- Potassium – Potassium enhances muscle and nerve function. It also manages the heart rhythm and metabolizes proteins and carbohydrates.
- Copper – This compound helps the body generate red blood cells. Additionally, copper enhances the immune system and promotes nerve function.
- Proanthocyanidins – Proanthocyanidins are essential in protecting the heart as it helps fight cardiovascular diseases. It also protects the skin from sun damage, strengthens bones and improves vision.
- Fiber – Fiber is crucial for a healthy digestive system. This nutrient promotes bowel movements by increasing your stool’s weight. Additionally, fiber lowers cholesterol levels and regulates blood sugar levels.
- Protein – Proteins maintain and increase muscle mass. They also improve kidney health and strengthen bones.
Lychee caramel recipe
- 300gm of sugar
- 100 gm of lychee
- 1 pinch of nutmeg
- 400ml of coconut milk
- 6 eggs
- Heat the eggs, nutmeg, 100gm sugar, and coconut milk, then strain and add lychees to make the custard.
- Melt 200gm sugar in a pan until it turns brown, then add the cup of water and mix to form the caramel
- Pour caramel into baking molds, then pour the coconut mixture on them.
- Bake at 160F for about forty minutes.
- Check if they have cooked through by poking them with a toothpick or fork.
How do I tell if my lychees are ripe?
Unripe lychees are more bitter and sour than their ripe counterparts and less enjoyable.
In this regard, below are guidelines for choosing ripe lychees each time you go grocery shopping.
- Check lychee skin – Ripe lychees have somewhat flat surfaces compared to their counterparts. Therefore, avoid the ones with super bumpy skins as they are unripe.
- Check the color – These fruits get red skin with a pinkish hue when they ripen. That said, lychees don’t ripen after being plucked off the tree. Thus, don’t buy unripe fruits expecting them to ripen with time.
- Press gently – Ripe lychees give in a little when pressed. Therefore, avoid buying the tough ones. On the other hand, if the fruit is too soft, it might be overripe.
- Check size – Unripe lychees are less than an inch in diameter. In this regard, always choose the ones with bigger diameters as they are ripe and sweet.
Proper storing of lychees increases their lifespan.
At room temperature, these fruits stay fresh for two to three days in your pantry.
However, when peeled, you should consume them within six hours; otherwise, they start to rot.
You can store these fruits in the fridge for seven to ten days or five days when peeled.
That said, lychees stay in the freezer for about six months.
However, storing them that long may diminish their taste.
Below are some tips on handling lychees to increase their shelf life.
- Don’t cut off their stems – Lychees start to rot when you cut off their stems, and that’s why grocery stores leave them attached. In this regard, store them in the same way.
- Avoid storing lychees in air-tight containers – The warmth in air-tight containers will make lychees start to ferment. You should also avoid plastic bags as they have the same effect.
Flavors that go with lychee
Below are some flavors that pair perfectly with lychees’ sweet and sour taste.
Risks of eating lychee
Eating lychees on an empty stomach is dangerous as it could lead to encephalopathy, which could escalate to brain damage, coma, convulsions, or even death.
These fruits also reduce blood sugar levels hence lethal for diabetic people.
That said, you should consult the doctor before eating lychees as some people may get allergic flare-ups after ingesting them.
Some of this condition’s symptoms include:
- Swelling of the lips
- Throat swelling
- Skin rash
- Loose motions
Comparison between lychees and rambutans
Rambutans are as red as lychees but have spiky and hairy skins.
These fruits are also larger and have a firm flesh compared to lychees.
In addition to that, their flavor is creamy and hence more mellow than lychees’.
That said, these fruits are as versatile as lychees.
You can use rambutans in fruit salads, marinades, smoothies, jellies, and ice cream.
Rambutans are also native to Southeast Asia, and their flesh is the only edible part.
Frequently asked questions(FAQs)
What’s the taste of lychee boba?
Lychee boba is sweet due to these fruits’ flavor.
This drink is exciting and comprises milk, bubbles, and lychee.
Do longans taste the same as lychees?
Longans don’t taste the same as lychees.
This is because they are more tart.
Therefore, they are the best alternative for those put off by lychees’ sweet flavor.
Lychees have a unique and bold taste.
Moreover, these fruits are rich in essential nutrients that will promote your general well-being.
In this regard, get some the next time you go grocery shopping to try them out.