Wednesday 5 July 2017

Ingredient Insight: Lychees

Lychees are a seasonal fruit originating from China and other countries in South East Asia. They're renowned for their rough skins, revealing a juicy white flesh around an inedible seed. With lychees only being freshly available between June and July, if you see them, get them.

Lychees are quite the versatile fruit. They work great amongst desserts, complimenting slightly tart berries like raspberries and blueberries very well. In savoury dishes, like a lot of fruits, they go well with duck. They compliment spices and are great in salads for a freshness. They can make a soft drink or cocktail that little bit more special with their floral appeal in taste and aroma.

Get your lychees fresh whenever you see them. They normally have a  beautiful pink/red skin, sometimes with a little green. They are fast and easy to peel with your fingers. You are highly likely to get juice on you. Their juicy white, almost translucent flesh is a true delight. You could easily sit and eat these one after another as they are. Containing lots of vitamin C and numerous other beneficial vitamins and nutrients, they are certainly close to being in the realm of being called a superfood. Not without caution though - they are also high in fructose, a natural sugar, which if eaten excessively can be harmful.

They store well so don't feel rushed to use them. I like to keep mine in the fridge until they turn a little brown as it often means the fruit will be a little sweeter. They're also widely available dried or even tinned. However, do check a recipe before using first as dried can't be used as a straight swap in most cases. With canned lychees, do bare in mind they will likely be kept in a sugar syrup so are likely to have lost some taste and gained a lot of sweetness.

For some great ideas of how to use this incredible fruit, check out the sweet and savoury recipes below. There's also a superb drink in there too for a way to cool down with after being in the sun.


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