2801CS            Lychees     2kg

LycheesSweet lychees, or Litchi chinensis, are tropical delights that offer a distinctive, slightly acidic fragrance and flavour, comparable to grapes. The fruit is covered by a leathery rind or pedicarp which is normally pink to red in colour and rough in texture. A member of the soapberry family, the evergreen lychee trees can reach 100 feet, and produce red or pale orange fruits with a tough and bumpy skin which can be easily peeled. Peeling the fruit reveals a white, somewhat translucent flesh or aril. Each lychee also contains a single, large, inedible seed.

Lychee yields can be pretty impressive, with the average 5-year-old tree in India producing 500 fruits, and a 20-year-old tree 4,000 to 5,000 fruits. One in Florida produced a record 1,200 tons of lychee in a year. There seems to be an important differentiation between two types: those leaking juice and those that don’t, as well as the appearance of the seed. A narrow “chicken tongue” seed may mean a tougher, almost nut-like flesh.

The first mention of lychees can be found in Chinese literature (circa 1059 A.D.), and subsequent research shows that lychee production was prominent in South East Asia in the 17th century before transitioning to French and English greenhouses by the 19th century.  Notably, it is Chinese tradition to offer lychees as a New Year good-luck charm because they are considered a romantic symbol.

Lychees keep well, offering perhaps better-than-fresh quality after a few weeks of storage. They turn brown, which sometimes indicates increased sweetness.

Dried lychees are larger but similar to raisins, and a prized delicacy in some countries. Sealed well, they can be stored for as long as a year. Fresh or dried, lychees can be chopped into fruit or green salads. We also recommend trying stuffing lychees with cream cheese and nuts.

Lychees are rich in dietary fibre, which helps maintain optimum regularity and a healthy weight. One of this fruit’s most plentiful and unique nutrients is oligonol, which contains a number of valuable antioxidants with the ability to fight flu viruses, improve blood flow, and protect the skin from UV rays. In addition, there is medical proof that lychees can relieve coughing, ease abdominal pain, and have a positive effect on tumors and swollen glands.

Lychees are loaded with vitamin C, with a single 100g serving providing 119% of the recommended daily value. High levels of Vitamin B6 vitamins, thiamin, niacin, folate, and copper are also worth noting. All these are vital for carbohydrate, protein, and fat metabolism.

However, it is important to consume lychees in moderation because they contain fructose, which may be harmful to your health in excessive amounts. There have also been reports of allergies associated with eating lychee fruit.

Back to Pick of the Crop
Back to Seasonality