The Lychee (Litchi chinensis), also spelled Litchi, Laichi, Lizhi and Lichu is the sole member of the genus Litchi in the soapberry family Sapindaceae. It is a tropical fruit tree native to southern China. It is also commonly found in Madagascar, India, Bangladesh, Pakistan, southern Taiwan, northern Vietnam, Indonesia, Thailand, the Philippines, and Southern Africa.

The fruit is a drupe, 3–4 cm long. The outside is covered by a pink-red, roughly-textured rind that is inedible but easily removed. The inside consists of a layer of sweet, translucent white flesh, rich in vitamin C, with a texture somewhat similar to that of a grape. The center contains a single glossy brown nut-like seed.

There are many different cultivars of lychee, some of them have light red shell with very sharp edges, some have skin dark red in colour but not so sharp, there are also lychees with dark green spots. Some variations of lychee can be also seedless.

Lychees are most relished fresh, out-of-hand. Peeled and pitted, they are commonly added to fruit salads. Freshly picked lychees keep their color and quality only 3 to 5 days at room temperature. The red rind turns dark brown when the fruit is refrigerated, but the taste is not affected. Lychees can be also dried together with skin. The skin loses its original color, becomes cinnamon-brown, and turns brittle. The flesh turns dark-brown to nearly black as it shrivels and becomes very much like a raisin. Dried fruits can be stored in tins at room temperature for about a year with no change in texture or flavor. Lychees are also sold tinned in sugar syrup.

Your thoughts…

  1. Oh I love lychees Margot; sweet & juicy. Your pictures are very pretty. I didnt know they could be dried too; fancy that! :idea:

  2. I’ve had lychee once and did not like it, it was canned. I’ve never seen or had it fresh. I wonder if it would taste different.

  3. I spotted your gorgeous photo of a lychee on Tastespotting. I just took photos of fresh lychees today for my next blog post. I love their sweet delicate parfume flavo – so good. It’s nice to see someone else likes to do write-ups of wonderful fresh and natural foods.

  4. Lychee are one of my favorite fruits, beautifully captured!

  5. Cool! It looks like an eyeball! I’m going to keep an eye out (no pun intended) for these at my farmer’s market.

  6. i love lychee. fresh and canned.
    in indonesia, we whip up a quick refreshing dessert by just serving canned lychee with ice. ^_^

  7. Thank you for all the comments! :)

    Cynthia – I like lychees fresh, tinned ones are tasteless to me, like most of the fruits in syrup… just sweet, but I have never tried dried ones… maybe I will have to try to dry them myself one day ;)

  8. You know, I’ve never had fresh Lychees, but I’m willing to bet I’d love them; they look and sound similar to Cuba’s Mamoncillos. Well, I’m on a quest for Lychees.
    Your mouthwatering pictures speak volumes.

  9. I ate lychee in Brazil , in December. I love it. unfortunately never saw fresh here, only caned :roll: Miss this flavor

  10. I have only tried fresh lychees once Margot *blush*

    Lovely photo Margot as always – Rosie x

  11. I love lychee as well as rambutan. Too bad, rambutan is so expensive here

  12. They are really delicious, especially fresh…

    Rosie – I had them only twice ;)

  13. Great photos! I rarely see them fresh and it’s been ages since I’ve had any. Good primer!

  14. Oh I LOVE lychees! Haven’t had one in ages – thanks for reminding me :) In South Africa my favourite fruit yoghurt had chunks of lychee in it.

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