When lychee season rolls around, you may be curious about what these fruits taste like. We'll tell you everything you need to know about the flavor and texture, plus how to eat them and add them to your recipes.
Let's get started...
What Does a Lychee Taste Like?
The lychee (also spelled litchi) fruit is native to China and looks very similar to the rambutan, another small, reddish fruit. However, the rambutan is covered in long "hairs" and tastes different from lychees.
Whereas rambutans are sweet and sour, lychees are simply sweet with a distinct floral taste. They have hints of fruits you may recognize, including pear, grape and strawberry.
The outer shell of the lychee fruit is rough like dino skin. It's the inner flesh you want to eat. The texture of this fruit is light, delicate and water-rich.
It's similar to a grape in its squishiness, though a little firmer than that. It's a juicy, thirst-quenching fruit that's deeply satisfying in the summer months when it comes into season.
What Happens If You Eat a Lychee Seed?
Lychee seeds are inedible. Because there are some known toxins in the seeds, you'll want to cut them away from the fruit and toss them.
Fortunately, the seeds are large, so they're easy to spot and get around. Just peel the outer skin off, scoop the inner fruit out, gently pry it open and pop the seed out.
How Do You Know When a Lychee is Ripe?
As they ripen, lychees go from bright green to a reddish color on the orange or pink side. Look for these colors when determining when the fruit is ready to be eaten.
Underripe lychees are hard, but ripe lychees are just a tad softer. They should have a little bit of give, but if you're still not sure, smell them. They should smell beautifully floral and fragrant.
How Do You Know If a Lychee Is Bad?
A lychee is not like a pear—it shouldn't be that soft. If your lychee fruit does feel squishy, it's probably well past ideal ripeness.
If you cut into a lychee and find that it has a yellowish or brownish tinge, this is another sign that it's gone bad. It should be pearly and whitish and taste sweet and fresh, not sour or funky.
Lychee Serving Tips
Ready to try lychee fruit? Watch these videos to see a couple of ways you can work lychees into your smoothies and desserts.
This tropical coconut and lychee tapioca pudding is divine with creamy coconut milk.
Here's what you'll need:
- Coconut cream
- Lychee syrup (you can get this in canned lychees)
- Quick-cooking tapioca
- Lime zest
If you like green smoothies, try this refreshing lychee, mint and bok choy recipe.
Here are the basics:
- Fresh mint
- Bok choy
- Coconut water
Lychee is a sweet, floral fruit with notes of pear and strawberry, and its juicy, grape-like texture is as phenomenal as its flavor. Add the fruit or the juice to smoothies, sauces and sweets. This is one of the most perfect summertime dessert fruits, so get ready to use lychees in fruit tarts, vegan ice creams and more.