Lychee is a fruit with a long history from China, around 1059 AD. It is the only member of the genus Lychee in the family soapberry.
Its name in Chinese means “gift for a joyful life”. In addition, its name is sometimes spelled with many different sounds such as litchi, lichi, leechee, litchi nuts, lizhi, or lichee.
Because of the shape and color of a strawberry, but with rougher skin, it is called “alligator strawberry”.
As a tropical fruit, lichi can be found in most markets in Asia. It is commonly grown in southern China, Taiwan, Vietnam, and some parts of Southeast Asia, where it is subtropical.
Peeling off the outer skin will reveal the soft, white, succulent flesh inside. This soapberry variety can be eaten raw and combined with many ingredients to form many different wonderful dishes and drinks.
Before that, you need to follow this article to know how to choose and peel this fruit cleverly.
What Does Lychee Taste Like?
When ripe, lichi gives off a faint and sweet aroma. Its taste is also not too sweet, sometimes a little bit sour. Some people say it tastes like a ripe grape with a hint of rose. In comparison, others taste it more like pear or watermelon.
However, the combination of sweet and sour tastes has created a unique flavor of lichi. Even if you do not put it in the fridge, you still feel refreshed when enjoying it.
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How To Select Lychee?
The litchi nut season is usually from late spring to early autumn. When the lichee is almost ripe, cultivators pick it immediately. The lichee will ferment if left for too long and not be as fresh. Therefore, you should pick the fruit when it is still fresh and use it within one week.
Observing the peel
The litchi nut ripens when the outer skin is smooth. If the skin is thorny and sharp, it is not ripe. Those lichis may have a sour taste.
You should choose one larger than 1 inch in diameter if buying lychee. The color of the rind is gradually turning from light pink to red. You can also choose a lichi with a pink top and a yellowish-green bottom. At that time, it is ripening slowly, and you do not have to eat it all at once.
Pressing the peel
You can also test the ripeness of the litchi nut by gently pressing the peel. If the rind is hard, the fruit is not ripe. If it sinks a little, it is just ripe. Fresh litchi always has elasticity. If it sinks in too much, the litchi nut is too mature or has begun to ferment.
Litchi, when ripe, will have a light sweet aroma. On the contrary, signs of a damaged lichi are the rind turning dark brown or cracking or exuding liquid, having a sour smell, etc.
If you buy at the market, you can ask the seller to peel 1-2 fruits. The inspection inside will show you how the quality of the lychee is.
When peeled, the stem is white, not bruised, not deep. On the contrary, the fruit is not delicious and should not be bought.
How To Peel Lychee?
The way to eat litchi nuts is also very simple. First, you need to peel off the skin to reveal the white flesh inside. This process usually drains the water inside, so you’ll need a cup or fork to collect it. If you do not want to use your nails, you can use a small knife to peel them.
The edible part of the lichi is the soft white flesh. Inside it will be litchi seeds which are slightly poisonous and should not be eaten. If you use this soapberry to make food or drinks, you can peel off, keep the white flesh and remove the seeds.
If the white flesh is transparent, appears mottled, or turns golden brown, you should not eat it. It may have fermented.
How To Eat Lychee?
Litchi is used in many different dishes and drinks, thanks to its mild sweetness. It can be used as a dessert after a meal like other fruits.
Create delicious dishes
Lichi can become the centerpiece of a cheese plate with mild chevre and cheddar varieties. The lichi’s light taste will balance the cheese’s fatty taste.
When used as a salad, leechee is separated from the white flesh and mixed with other tropical fruits. They are usually banana, coconut, mango, pineapple, and passion fruit sauce. They are cut into small squares and mixed.
Besides, the combination of litchi nuts, cashews, and oatmeal can form a healthy breakfast. It provides many nutritions and helps to lose weight and keep fit.
Some Asian dishes also use lychee juice to balance salty dishes. For example, use this juice to make a sweet and sour sauce. This sauce is commonly used in chicken, fish, and barbecue recipes.
Create fantastic beverages and dessert
Drinks made from the lichi are common throughout the world. It is often a flavor in smoothies, teas, cocktails, milk teas, etc. The white flesh of lychee is also used to decorate cocktails or teas.
This fruit is also a great ingredient to make ice cream or sorbet. This blend gives cream and sorbet a mild aroma and irresistible sweetness.
In the past, lychee was grown in many countries with tropical climates, mostly located in Asia. However, this fruit is also grown in South Africa, Australia, and the US. Several varieties of it have been developed in these countries. Thanks to that, litchi became a popular fruit in many places.
Hopefully, this article provides a lot of information about lychee to you. Then, you know about the origin of the “gift for a joyful life”, as well as how to choose, peel, and combine it to create great flavor in dishes and drinks.