Lychees: Sweet tropical gems

Fresh Lychee season is here! Lychees, also known as Litchi Nuts, have historically been a June-only fruit. However, thanks to advances in farming and technology, as well as additional international sources, the Lychee supply can often extend into late summer.

Frieda’s Specialty Produce is now bringing in Lychees from China and Mexico to supermarkets around the country. The two main Lychee varieties look quite different, and vary slightly in flavor. The Chinese fruits have a pale green skin with a pink blush, a smaller seed, and some describe the fruit as having a slightly muskier flavor than their Mexican counterparts.

Mexican-grown Lychees (Brewster variety) have a rusty pink to rosy red skin and the fruit tends to be sweeter and juicier. The red skin may darken slightly when exposed to air, but this does not affect the flavor of the fruit.

Both Lychee varieties are very juicy and feature a luscious pearly-white flesh that surrounds a single dark seed. The skin has a rough, bumpy texture but is thin and easy to peel. Each fruit is about the size of a walnut.

The best way to enjoy a Lychee is fresh out of hand. Simply peel and nibble the juicy flesh around the seed (don’t eat the seed). That sweet, yet refreshing flavor is unlike any other fruit!