Tropical Botanic Garden Virtual Herbarium Database
by Noris Ledesma, Curator of Tropical fruit
Copyright © 2007 Virtual Herbarium - All rights reserved
Lychees glow against dark green leaves
The lychee (Litchi
is native to Southern China, where it has been prized for centuries.
Although introduced to Florida before 1880, it is now gaining
popularity here. The tree has a handsome, dense canopy of bright green,
shiny leaves. Under ideal conditions, trees may reach 40 feet high, but
with pruning, they can be maintained at 15 feet. Pruning is used to
establish a strong, permanent structure which allows for easy harvest.
Lychees need full sun. Young trees must be protected from heat, frost
and high winds. They are susceptible to cold.
pink to strawberry-red fruit contrasts attractively with the foliage.
Fruit matures in the spring, about two months after flowering. It must
be allowed to ripen fully on the tree. The average yield per tree
ranges from 20 to 175 pounds. The aromatic, oval fruit is about an inch
in diameter. The thin, rough shell, the pericarp, is flexible and
easily peeled when fresh. The edible portion or aril is white,
translucent, firm and juicy, somewhat like a peeled grape. Inside is a
large, shiny brown seed.
Lychees are most often enjoyed fresh.
The flavor is sweet, fragrant and delicious. Peeled and pitted, they
are popular in fruit cups and fruit salads. They add an interesting
contrast to savory sauces when added just in time to heat thoroughly.
They are low in calories, high in vitamin C and a good source of
Canned lychees can be substituted for fresh. Dried
lychee, sometimes called lychee nuts (although they are the flesh, not
the seed) are chewy and smokey, and cannot be used in place of fresh or
canned lychees. Lychees can be kept for severol weeks under
refrigeration, and will retain their flavor, although not their
texture, if frozen unpeeled.
2 cups orange carambola, sliced
1 cup Iychees, peeled and seeded
1 1/2 tsp sugar
1/3 cup gin
12 ice cubes
1 Tbsp lime juice
carambola evenly between four large stemmed glasses. In a blender or
food processor, puree lychees with sugar, gin, ice and lime juice until
smooth. Pour a few drops of grenadine into puree; stir once to give
marbled effect. Carefully pour lychee mixture over orange carambola.
ladyfingers or thinly cut sponge cake
2 cups peeled, de-seeded and sliced Iychees, soaked in brandy overnight
1 cup whipped cream
a deep mold or glass dish with ladyfingers or sponge cake to form a
shell about an inch thick. Fold lychees into stiffly whipped cream.
Fill mold with mixture and chill.
(Makes about 4 dozen)
1 1/4 pound can of Iychees
8 oz cream cheese
1 Tbsp sherry
Salt to taste
3 Tbsp chopped macadamia nuts
2 Tbsp chopped crystallized ginger
lychees. In a small bowl with an electric mixer, beat cream cheese with
sherry and salt until mixture is smooth. Stir in remaining ingredients.
Stuff lychees and serve.
Lychee Crab Salad
6 ounces frozen crab meat, thawed
peeled and seeded Iychees
crab, lychees and celery and spoon onto plates lined with lettuce.
Garnish with Tropical Dressing (below).
1/2 cup mayonnaise
chopped fresh basil
fresh crushed blalck pepper
minced green onion
Blend all ingredients until
thoroughly mixed. Drizzle over Lychee Crab Salad.
to Stephanie Johnson and J. R. Brooks for crab salad and tropical
dressing recipes, reprinted from Tropical Fruit World, May/June 1990.)