Rambutan is a cousin to the lychee and the longon. It is sometimes called the hairy lychee. Native to Malaysia, it grows on clusters on an evergreen tree. There are over 50 varieties of rambutan today.
Rambutan comes from the Malaysian word rambout, or hair. The small, approximately 2 inches in diameter fruit is cover in soft spikes. The shell is very fragile, and red to yellowish brown in color. The fruit inside is a juicy, translucent sphere, that contains a single, inedible seed that is flat and almond shaped.
The rambutan has sweet, mild flavor that is very fragrant. It can be slightly sour or acidic. They taste similar to lychees- kind of like a canned pear, and a strawberry combined.
Choose rambutans with a light, reddish brown hue with greenish spikes. Serve them just like you would a lychee. Do not cook rambutans. To get to the flesh- use a knife, to puncture the skin, and then just peel off the shell. Suck the flesh off the seed. They contain vitamin C, iron, and potassium. You can find fresh rambutans from July to August.
© 2012 Chef Jennifer M. Denlinger All rights reserved
Cite me: Denlinger, J. (2012, November 29). Rambutan. Retrieved from: FloridaChef.net