ECUADOR: Fresh Lychee Nuts

Fresh Lychee Nuts

Fresh Lychee Nuts

If’ you’ve never seen a fresh lychee nut in your life, you’re in for a treat today. As the mango season closes here in Ecuador, one might think to oneself, “How will I ever be able to wait until next December?!”

But then in waltz’s the incredible fresh Lychee nut – also known as “Rambutan” (rahm-boo-’than):

Fresh Lychee Nuts Up Close

Fresh Lychee Nuts Up Close

When I saw fresh Lychee nuts, my first thought was, “OMG! These things look like me on a bad hair day!”

My second thought was , “OMG! These things are so CUTE!  I think we should name them all!!!”

Fresh Lychee Nuts Up Closer

Fresh Lychee Nuts Up Closer

This past Saturday, I went to the local outdoor market in the town down the road from me. I saw all kinds of things I had never seen in an outdoor market: quail eggs, hanging bloody fresh meat and you guessed it! Fresh Lychee Nuts!

I had only seen lychee nut fruit in some Chinese desserts and I must admit I had always found them pretty tasteless and a bit slimy. But FRESH is a whole other ballgame! They are incredibly soft and sweet and fragrant.  You can suck on them for an hour getting every last bit of soft pulp from around the seed in the middle.

In fact, I’m sucking on this one I took a photo of below right now as I’m writing this blog post for you!

Fresh Lychee Nuts Inside

Fresh Lychee Nuts Inside

Fresh Lychee Nuts Inside

Fresh Lychee Nuts Inside

Fresh Lychee Nut

Fresh Lychee Nut

Fresh Lychee Nut

Fresh Lychee Nut

I never knew such a delicious thing existed.

I bought 25 of them for one dollar.

Wow.

Cheap thrills for sure!

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More on Lychee nuts from Wikipedia:

Lychee is the sole member of the genus Litchi in thesoapberry family, Sapindaceae. It is a tropical and subtropical fruit tree native to the Guangdong and Fujianprovinces of China, and now cultivated in many parts of the world. The fresh fruit has a “delicate, whitish pulp” with a floral smell and a fragrant, sweet flavor. Since this perfume-like flavor is lost in the process of canning, the fruit is usually eaten fresh.

An evergreen tree reaching 10–28 metres tall, the lychee bears fleshy fruits that are up to 5 cm (2.0 in) long and 4 cm (1.6 in) wide. The outside of the fruit is covered by a pink-red, roughly textured rind that is inedible but easily removed to expose a layer of sweet, translucent white flesh. Lychees are eaten in many different dessert dishes, and are especially popular in China, throughout Southeast Asia, along with South Asia, India and parts of Southern Africa.

The lychee is cultivated in China, Sri Lanka, TaiwanThailandVietnamJapanIndiaBangladeshPakistan,Nepal and parts of Southern Africa. China is the main producer, followed by India. (I guess Wikipedia doesn’t know yet that Ecuador produces them too!)

The lychee has a history and cultivation going back to 2000 BC according to records in China. Cultivation began in the area of southern China, Malaysia, and Vietnam. Wild trees still grow in parts of southern China and on Hainan Island. There are many stories of the fruit’s use as a delicacy in the Chinese Imperial Court. It was first described and introduced to the West in 1656 by Michael Boym, a Polish Jesuit missionary (at that time Polish–Lithuanian Commonwealth). (Those Jesuit’s are so smart!)

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