WHAT IS A LYCHEE?
Lychee is a small, sweet and juicy fruit that originates from China and mainly enjoyed as is but has been gaining worldwide popularity & has been popping up as an ingredient in fusion recipes as well.
HOW IS IT USED?
Lychees are usually eaten as is, as a snack or dessert but now that lychees have gained worldwide popularity, it is used more as an ingredient in recipes and cocktails.
To use or eat this fruit, you have to peel the skin off the fruit first. A peeled lychee will be white and slippery to the touch. The flesh of the fruit can be eaten but there is a small dark brown seed in the middle, so be careful not to eat that as it can give you a stomach ache. Discard the seed or grow it as a plant! 🙂
Do not eat unripe lychees, they contain toxins that can make you very sick. Unripe lychee skins are green in color. It is also not a good idea to eat a lot of lychees in one sitting as well, as it is known to give you stomach aches as well.
I personally, have not found a really good lychee substitute. Since lychees are only in season for a few months in the summer, you can substitute it with canned lychee which you can find at an Asian grocery store or online.
WHERE DO I FIND IT?
You can usually find fresh and canned lychees in Asian grocery stores. Fresh lychees are only in season in June and July though so get them fresh while you can! 🙂
To pick sweet and ripe lychees, find the ones that are bright red or pink in color. When you give them a gentle squeeze, it should feel firm and springy. Avoid mushy or very soft lychees, chances are it is either overly ripe (and very sweet) or rotten - so there's a 50/50 chance you'll get a good one. Lychees that are not springy or have sunken in skins usually mean they are dried out.
If you cannot find fresh lychee, you can use canned lychees as well. This would be available in Asian grocery stores or online.
Lychees are very sweet fruit that have a slight floral flavor to them.
Lychees are very juicy fruits that have a very delicate texture to them since their flesh hold a lot of water in it. I would describe the texture to be almost like a very soft grape without it's skin.
These little fruits should be stored in the fridge and last about a week. When storing them in the fridge, keep them in a plastic bag with holes in it, to prevent them from drying out too quickly.
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