lycheesLYCHEE Litchi chinensis

Other names: Litchi, Leechee, Lichee, Lichi.

Intro: The tree was first introduced into Australia in the 1870s by Chinese gold seekers. Chinese tradition is to offer it as a good-luck charm for the New Year.

Lychees are considered by Chinese to be a symbol of romance. Once picked, the lychee does not continue to ripen.

History: Lychees have been cultivated in China for centuries.

Shape: Oval to round, depending on variety.

Weight/size: The fruit are small, about 3.8cm in diameter.

Colour: Leathery, scaly, skin ranging from pink to red. The flesh is semi-translucent, firm and jelly-like. The flesh is wrapped around a shiny inedible brown seed.

Taste: Tangy, sweet and juicy.

Buying/storage: Choose fruit with skin as pink or red as possible. Greenish fruit is under-ripe, whilst brown fruit is over ripe. Fresh fruit can be kept in refrigerator wrapped in plastic for five to seven days and may be kept at room temperature for two or three days. Lychees can be frozen for up to six months.

Preparing/serving: Lychees are best eaten fresh. Simply peel with fingers, then nibble or suck the flesh from the seed. They make a refreshing end to a meal. Lychees can be pitted and added to fruit salads. They are also used in sweet and sour dishes and salads. They make a good accompaniment to pork and duck and can be
dried within their shells.

Variety: Fay Zee Siu, Salathiel, Bengal, Tai So, Kwai May Pink.