What Does Lychee Taste Like and How to Eat It?

The seed of lychee is shaped like a large-sized raspberry. And the texture of lychee is the same as grapes with a flavor as sweet as citrus and a touch of rose water. Lychees are consumed fresh and they come canned and are even dried like resins. So what does lychee taste like? Time to find out!

Fresh lychees consist of a red husk on the outside, white flesh on the inside, and within that is the brown seed. Needless to say, what’s edible here is only the flesh. If you’re a very curious person and happen to taste the red husk, you’ll see how bitter it tastes and tough it feels.

So now let’s talk about the most important thing…

What Does Lychee Taste Like?

How likely are you to appreciate the sweetness and tartness of the lychee fruit? But first, do you even know what does lychee taste like?

Most people say that it tastes like grapes. So is that true? Well, yes it’s true but then lychees have a slightly acidic and stronger flavor. What about when people say that lychee tastes like watermelon and pear? That is also true because of the blend of tart and sweet.

Lychees are like grapes in many ways, in terms of taste of course. But the former is packed with more floral notes. Most are fond of this but then not everybody appreciates the texture of lychee, along with the large-sized pit in the middle.

These are also the people who don’t mind the fruity taste of lychees when they’re used as an ingredient in drinks. In dishes, on the other hand, lychee is less likable.

Speaking of lychee-flavored drinks, these are bold-tasting. And the fruit can actually taste good in a dish only if it’s used the right way.

Where Does Lychee Come From?

Lychee is a very popular fruit all across Southeast Asia. Very closely linked with longan and rambutan, lychees come from Southern China. They’re sized like golf balls. And when you peel them, the flesh is milky white. When unpeeled, the appearance of lychee is just like a larger version of a strawberry.

Needless to say, the favorable lychee season is a part of America too. It begins in May and lasts for the whole summer season. And there are lychee farms in Florida, Texas, and California. Nevertheless, finding fresh lychees is not an easy task, which is why there are canned lychees available everywhere.

Health Benefits of Lychee

The milky white flesh of lychee is loaded with plant compounds known as proanthocyanidins. And these compounds have the following properties…

  • Anti-diabetic
  • Antioxidant
  • Anti-inflammatory
  • Anti-carcinogenic
  • Anti-angiogenic
  • Cardioprotective

Even grapes, blueberries, and apples contain proanthocyanidins.

Moving on, lychee extracts have also produced some really beneficial effects in various scientific studies. They prevent the formation of cancer cells, boost physical performance, protect the liver, and also inhibit viruses.

Now let’s talk about lychee pulp. The dried version of this offers anti-tumor properties. So there’s just no denying that incorporating lychee into your diet benefits the body in plenty of ways.

But How to Eat Lychee?

One of the most versatile fruits, lychee can be used in all kinds of recipes. But if you wish to savor all of its fruity, juicy flavors, it’s best that you have it raw. Peel the skin and just gobble down the fruit as it is. But just be careful about the seed or pit inside, which you can simply spit out or remove beforehand.

In America especially, lychees are added to all kinds of drinks. Mainly alcoholic ones – martinis, mojitos, and mimosas. It’s also a very commonly used ingredient in ice creams, salads, milkshakes, and smoothies.

The robust, aromatic flavor of lychee combines pretty well with a sour and sweet sauce to make dishes containing meat or fish more delicious. Lychees also add a touch of acidity and sweetness to meat curry recipes.

What Happens If You Eat A Lychee Seed?

Lychee seeds have toxic properties, so it’s best to keep away from them. Make sure to remove them beforehand and then eat the fleshy, milky part of the fruit. The best part is that the pit is quite large, which means very noticeable and also pretty easy to get around.

You first remove the outer skin of the fruit, scoop out the flesh, and then gently open it up to take out the seed.

How to Tell If the Lychee Is Ripe?

When ripe, lychee looks reddish in color with a hint of pink or orange. This is what a ripened lychee looks like, so you know it can be eaten. Another determinant of ripeness is how soft the texture is.

And if the lychees are underripe, they feel a bit hard. But if you’re not sure, then just smell the fruit. They should be giving off a fragrant, floral aroma if ripe.

How to Tell If the Lychees Are Bad?

Don’t go about thinking that lychee has very soft flesh. If the fruit is excessively squishy, then it certainly is way past its ideal ripeness.

Another clear warning sign – brownish or yellowish color once you open it up. The flesh is supposed to be whitish and pearly with a fresh, sweet taste and not funky or sour tasting.

When to Not Eat Lychee?

In case you have diabetes, it’s better to stay away from not only lychee but any other fruit as well that’s packed with such a high sugar content (pineapple, watermelon, etc.)

Lychees should also not be consumed when your tummy is empty. It might lead to hypoglycemia.

Conclusion

Lychees, no doubt, are a whole lot of goodness in terms of how juicy and sweet they are. The perfect summer fruit in America!

In grocery stores, you may also come across the canned version, which is equally flavor-packed. The added benefit here is that you don’t have to go through the trouble of peeling the skin, removing the pit, and then eating. All that is already done indeed. But then if you truly want to savor the sweet and tart flavor of lychee, you better eat it raw and fresh.

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