A lychee, also known as a litchi nut, is an exotic fruit from china from over 2,000 years ago. The lychee fruit is native to southeastern Asia. It grows in subtropical climates. Fresh lychees are in season from June to mid July.
In the Chinese culture, lychees are offered as good luck charms for the New Year.
The lychee tree is a large evergreen tree. It can grow 50 to 65 feet tall. One tree can produce 200 to 300 pounds of fruit a year.
The fruit it self is 1 to 2 inches in diameter, or about the size of a large marble. The outer coating of the fruit is prickly looking and red when ripe. When unripe, it is green. The outside of the skin is rough. The inner layer, however, is smooth. The flesh is almost transparent and white. Inside, there is a single seed that is brown and shiny. The texture of the lychee is like peeled grapes.
Lychees are very sweet. When ripe, the flavor is similar to a cross between strawberry with a rose and a muscat grape. When unripe, it tastes bland and gelatinous. When overripe, it does not have any flavor.
Once picked, lychees will not continue to ripen. They should be shelled immediately, since they will ferment inside the shell. Lychees may be frozen in the shell. Since fresh lychees do not ship well, they are also canned and dried.
Lychees are high in vitamin C. They also contain potassium, copper, and magnesium.
Flavors for Lychees
Lemon Mousse Pudding with Lychees
1 tbsp butter
1 envelope un-flavored gelatin
1/4 cup water
3 egg yolks
1 cup sugar
1 tsp vanilla extract
1/3 cup lemon juice
grated peel of 1 lemon
24 fresh lychees
1 cup whipping cream
Butter 8 individual dessert dishes. Sprinkle the gelatin over the water in a small saucepan. Heat the mixture, stirring until the gelatin is dissolved. Combine the egg yolks, sugar, and vanilla in a small, heavy saucepan. Cook over medium heat until the mixture thickens slightly and the sugar is melted, stirring constantly. Do not boil or mixture will curdle.
Stir the gelatin mixture into the egg mixture along with the lemon juice, and lemon peel. Refrigerate, covered, for 30 to 45 minutes, or until the mixture is the consistency of unbeaten egg whites.
Break off the outer shells of the lychees, peel back and discard. Peel away the white pulp from around the seed and discard the seed. Reserve 8 lychees for garnish. Beat the cream in a bowl with an electric mixer set at high speed until stiff. Stir half of the cream into the gelatin mixture with a wire whisk until well blended. Fold the remaining cream into the gelatin mixture with a rubber spatula, until no traces of white remain, then fold in the lychees. Spoon the mixture into the prepared dessert dishes. Chill, covered, along with the remaining lychees, for at least 2 hours or until st. Garnish each mousse with 1 of the reserved lychees and sprigs of mint.
© 2011 Chef Jennifer M. Denlinger All rights reserved
Cite me: Denlinger, J. (2011, November 10). Lychee. Retrieved from: FloridaChef.net