Lychees and More

All this writing about my trip to China got me thinking about some of those foods I enjoyed while I was there.  One of those is the sweet and tropical tasting lychee fruit.  As luck would have it, the commissary carries these Chinese treats.  Now, I had enjoyed these prior to China, but they were easy to enjoy while there because they have a tough outside skin that is peeled off, making it one of the only fruits considered safe to eat.

Let me introduce to you the LYCHEE...
They are so tiny and cute.  If you look here you can get a good idea of their size.
So, what is a lychee:
The fruit is covered by a leathery rind or pedicarp which is pink to strawberry-red in color and rough in texture. A greenish-yellow variety is not grown in California at present. Fruit shape is oval, heart-shaped or nearly round, 1 to 1-1/2 inches in length. The edible portion or aril is white, translucent, firm and juicy. The flavor is sweet, fragrant and delicious. Inside the aril is a seed that varies considerably in size. The most desirable varieties contain atrophied seeds which are called "chicken tongue". They are very small, up to 1/2 inch in length. Larger seeds vary between 1/2 to 1 inch in length and are plumper than the chicken tongues. There is also a distinction between the lychee that leaks juice when the skin is broken and the "dry and clean" varieties which are more desirable. In some areas lychees tend to be alternate bearers. Fruit splitting is usually caused by fluctuating soil moisture levels.

Lychees have been grown in China for more than 2000 years. Get to the fruit by piercing with a fingernail, peeling back half the skin and squeezing out the fruit. There is a single large seed in the middle.


How to Select
Choose lychees with red shells that are heavy for their size. Brown patches indicate sweeter fruit.

How to Store
Refrigerate lychees in a plastic bag for up to 10 days.
 
Nutrition Benefits
Low in fat, cholesterol free, sodium free, excellent source of vitamin C.

One thing you should know is that these exotic little fruits pack in the vitamin C.  Yes I know I just shared that from the fruits and veggies more matters website, but it really doesn't express just how much vitamin C is here.  For the most part I eat kiwis for my vitamin C, which is another good source.  Many people think citrus when they hear vitamin C, but there are so many other great and exotic sources for the super duper antioxidant vitamin C.  Lychees are a fantastic source.  I looked up the data on http://www.nutritiondata.com/ and found that 1 piece of fruit contains about 6 calories and 11% of your vitamin C needs for the day.  So, in just 9 lychees you basically have 100% of your vitamin C for the day in only 54 calories...and when you finish eating them you will probably feel as if you just went on a vacation.

So, while it has a tough red outer shell, the inside is a delicate white flesh.
But be careful, there is one dark pit inside.
So, next time you are shopping for produce, check out your seclection of exotic fruits and hopefully you can find some lychees to enjoy.  If your local grocer doesn't carry them, consider checking for an Asian market in your area.

Also as a result of my week long posts on China, I didn't share any of my good eats from last week, so here is one dinner Ryan and I enjoyed mid-week.  I was going for quick and easy, but well balanced and high in flavor.  So, here is what I pulled from the shelves.  Gotta love the Trader Joe's products that I still have.  I am slowly eating through them as I don't want them to ever runn out.  So I went with an Indian (boil in a bag!!!) entree, wild and basmati rice pilaf, and in that plastic bag is the leftover fresh broccoli from last weeks cream of broccoli soup.

Looks good in the picture.  I love Indian food, so I am happy to eat it anytime.

I broke out the rice cooker, which i think I have only used one other time since we moved here.  I am in love with this $12 little machine.  Not only is it a rice cooker, but it has an additional tray for steaming veggies.  But, I forgot how long it takes to steam veggies and so it was ready a few minutes after we actually started eating dinner, but that was ok.
Put in the raw...
and out comes perfectly steamed, still slightly crunchy, not mushy, beautiful broccoli.
The end result was a nice looking and super delicious meal.  Look at that whopping serving of veggies.
Since I had some left over rice, the next day after the gym I was looking for a snack and came up with this idea.  I reheated some rice and then topped it with the rest of my "crab" aka surimi aka pollock imitating a crab aka whatever it is I think it is delicious.
Yesterday we had a Mexican themed dinner to go to and so I offered to make a 6 layer bean dip.  My 7 layer has jalapenos and I decided to skip them as it was a party for all ages and I personally like it with out.  So here is my bean dip line up, starting with the vegetarian refried beans at the bottom, some salsa, guacamole, light sour cream, cheese and black olives.  This is my easy party dish.
Gotta go with the Mexican cheese blend, although I am not quite sure what makes it Mexican other than the color gives it a Mexian American restaurant feel.
Topped with chopped olives...
I love these loaf pans since I prefer to do my dip this way over a 9x9 cake pan.  I can make thicker layers this way and I like the final presentation.
That is it for the eats, but I wanted to leave you with a picture of the moon from last night.  When I first attempted to take this shot the moon was not covered by clouds.  After playing with the settings on the camera, the moon was covered in clouds, but I still like this shot.  Living on an island gives you some of the best sunrise shots and also moon scenes as the sky is not polluted with light and you can see everything, not like in a big city.
QUESTION:  Have you ever tried a lychee?  Do you prefer a sunrise or a sunset view?

11 comments:

Abbys Vegan Eats said...

I first had lychee juice at a really awesome Malaysian/Singaporian restaurant in Pittsburgh. At first I though it was a tad sweet, but it grew on me!! I did not realize how great it is for us.. love the fact that it has so much vitamin c! Thanks for the info.

I like sunrises(at the beach) NOT when Im going work. lol

Happy Sunday!

Mari said...

Those look so interesting! and yet yummy at the same time lol

I love love love sunsets!

Beth said...

the HMart in Catonsville always has lychee and o occasionally I'll get in the mood and go pick some up. I always think they have a tea-like aftertaste.

I'm an east coast girl, so I have to say sunrise.

Mer said...

oooh yummy dip!! I have never heard of a Lychee. My spell checker is telling me it's not a word though and that makes me wonder about you...makin' things up :)

Soooo, I made cous cous salad today for a dinner party tonight. I know, who has a dinner party on a Sunday? Apparently our friends do. LOL! Maybe this counts as your home-made weekend? It's cous cous (obvi) cucumbers, tomato, red onion, toasted pine nuts, kalamata olives, feta and a red wine vinaigrette dressing that Matt made :) I get points for that right??

PS - wish you could come to TMBG on 3/12!!!

Rachel said...

Yea!! Tmbg! Mer, I got to get my tix soon!

I love lychees haven't had them in a while though. Kiwis also have more potassium than bananas!

Julie said...

hmmm i dont think i would be a fan of the lychee texture...but ive never had so who am i to judge!

i want your brock steamerrrr

melonshots said...

i adore lychees!! SO good!!!

Nicole, RD said...

I don't think I've ever had a lychees, but it looks something similar to a mystery fruit I had in Paris! Hmmm!

Sunrise or sunset? Man, toughie. I was going to say sunrise since I'm a morning person, but there's something about eating dinner outside in the fall, summer, and spring during sunset that I just love. I look forward to those dinners more than anything!

Chow and Chatter said...

love lychee, wish they were easier to get can get them in cans as well

Simply Life said...

Oh so fun - thanks for introducing me to a new product!

Andrea@WellnessNotes said...

I have eaten things made with lychees, but I have never bought them and eaten them. Thanks for the info! I'll have to look for some...

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