For those unaware, lychee is a tropical fruit that is native to China. Visually, it looks somewhat like a hybrid of a raspberry and a strawberry. Generally, it’s about the size of a walnut.
Lychees are sweet with a little citrus flavor in them. It has a nice balance of sweet and tart flavors, and the texture is somewhat squishy, like a grape. The actual fruit is juicy and almost translucent in appearance.
While lychee may look similar to raspberries and strawberries, its texture is probably similar to a grape and the taste itself is similar to Elderflower.
How to Eat a Lychee
The first thing you’ll notice about the lychee is that the skin is hard, tough, and scaly. There is a reason it is sometimes referred to as an alligator strawberry.
The skin is not to be eaten.
Thankfully, the skin, while tough, is fairly easy to remove. Carefully peel it off to expose the fleshy fruit inside.
You’ll probably also want to remove the seed at this point. Inside the lychee is a seed, similar to the pit in an avocado. Don’t eat the seeds, they are mildly toxic.
After you remove the seed, you’re left with a beautiful, translucent fruit that smells floral.
What to Do With Lychee
While lychees are wonderful on their own, the most popular ways to serve them are in cocktails and desserts.
Since fresh lychees are generally only available from June to September, summer cocktails are a popular way to incorporate lychee.
Lychee martinis, for example, are made similarly to a dirty martini. Bartenders use lychee juice and garnish and fresh lychee. It’s sweet and syrupy, yet light enough to be refreshing.
In addition to martinis, lychees are also used to make mojitos. A popular lychee mojito consists of strawberries and mint. Mint is classic in a mojito and its cooling notes go well with the sweetness of the lychee.
The sweet, tartness of lychees pairs well with ginger, which has a bit of a peppery flavor. The spiciness of the ginger cuts the sweetness and makes for excellent desserts. Some popular ones are lychee ginger cheesecake, lychee and ginger sorbet, and lychee and ginger pavlova.
Can I Store My Lychee
Since fresh lychees are only available for a short time each year, you might be wondering if they keep.
Lychee doesn’t have a particularly long shelf life.
They will last for less than a week in the refrigerator. If you want to freeze them, do so as soon as you get them, so they are freshest. They should last in your freezer for about 8-10 weeks.
While fresh lychees are often difficult to come by, you can also get canned lychee.
Canned lychees are available to purchase year-round.
With canned lychees, they will likely be sweeter than fresh, since they are usually canned in syrup, similar to peaches.
You might also find they have a softer texture than when fresh.
Fresh lychees have a wonderful sweet, tart flavor. They are juicy with a texture not unlike a grape. However, fresh lychees are not always easy to find.
That said, canned lychees are available year-round, you don’t find a sweeter flavor and a somewhat softer texture.