Native to Malaysia, this fruit is also grown in Indonesia, the Philippines, and Australia. This particular tree can grow to about 50 – 80 feet high, but it’s not the height that interests me….look at the fruit! Have you ever seen anything like this before??
Rambutan is closely related to the lychee fruit (and I know you remember THIS post, she said sarcastically). And here’s the weird part…there are three different kinds of rambutan (no, that isn’t the weird part, the next part is the weird part).
There is the male fruit, the hermaphrodite functioning as males and the hermaphrodite functioning as females. Wha???
To the peeps in southeast Asia, this little beauty is as normal as an apple is to us, or at least most of us.
Yep. She’s pretty hairy, isn’t she….or he? The word “rambut“ in Malay is ‘hairy’, which you can see on the spiky rind, but don’t worry…if you bit into one of these little jewels there would be no ouchie. They are soft and harmless.
So what do we do with it and how the heck do we eat it: You can purchase the rambutan in Asian/Chinese markets in the produce area. And you want to look for ones with bright red skin, not so much orange or yellow. And don’t purchase if you see they have ‘black’ hairs….in fact, don’t purchase anything in the produce section with black hair on it…..(insert gag here).
Health Benefits: Rambutans are high in vitamin C, plus copper, manganese, and trace elements of many other nutrients such as potassium, calcium, and iron.
How do we get to the good part: Make a cut through the skin with a sharp knife. Note: If your rambutans are very ripe, they can also be twisted open between your hands, and the fruit simply pops out. Next peel away the skin and either cut out the seed inside or pop it into your mouth and have fun spitting the seed out! (they frown on this in the produce department so wait until you get home).
Here’s a beautiful and tropical fruit salad to enjoy! (via)
- YIELD: 1 large bowl of fruit salad
- 1+1/2 cups fresh papaya, cubed
- 1 cup pineapple chunks, fresh or canned
- 1 banana, sliced
- 1 cup mango, cubed
- 1 cup strawberries, sliced or cut into quarters
- 1 cup other fruit, local OR exotic such as blueberries, melon, dragon fruit, lychees, longans, or rambutans
- Garnish: starfruit slices
- FRUIT SALAD DRESSING:
- 1/4 cup coconut milk
- 1 Tbsp. freshly-squeezed lime juice
- 2 Tbsp. brown sugar OR palm sugar
- Stir fruit salad dressing ingredients together in a cup until sugar dissolves. Set aside.
- Place all the fresh fruit in a mixing bowl.
- Pour the dressing over and toss well to mix.
- Pour or scoop the fruit salad into a serving bowl, or into a prepared pineapple boat (as pictured). Garnish just before serving with a star fruit slice.
Star Fruit Tip: To keep starfruit from going brown after slicing, simply drizzle over some fresh lime or lemon juice.