Rambutan…..rambu-what???

rambutan(source)

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.

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YepShe’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)

tropicalfruitsaladblog

Ingredients:

  • 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

Preparation:

  1. Stir fruit salad dressing ingredients together in a cup until sugar dissolves.  Set aside.
  2. Place all the fresh fruit in a mixing bowl.
  3. Pour the dressing over and toss well to mix.
  4. 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.

Lychee fruit……….eat more fruit and live to a ripe old age…

Lychee

Ahh…..the Lychee fruit.  No, I didn’t know what it was either so I had to check this baby out!

According to the California Rare Fruit Growers Association (and no, I didn’t know who they were either so I had to check them out too!)  “The lychee is native to low elevations of the provinces of Kwangtung and Fujian in Southern China. Cultivation spread over the years through neighboring areas of southeastern Asia and offshore islands. It reached Hawaii in 1873, and Florida in 1883, and was conveyed from Florida to California in 1897.”

And yes, there are two provinces in Southern China that I hadn’t heard of so I had to check out them also! (you can click on them to learn more)

Back to the Lychee, which translated from Chinese as, ‘gift for a joyful life’.   This sweet, little fruit contains vitamins and minerals and is supposedly so sweet and delicious that the Emperor of Tang Dynast would send his royal guards 600 miles to pick the luscious fruit for his love.

But wait!  There’s more! 

lychee-fruit-250x166(source)

The Lychee fruit contains  on average a total 72 mg of vitamin C per 100 grams of fruit and popping just 9 of these babies will give you your total daily requirement!

BUT THE BEST PART?   This little sweetheart can prevent the growth of cancer cells (according to the Cancer Survivors Network)

Here is more great info!

1.Helps to prevent diseases like cancer. Research and study have proved that this fruit has flavonoids in the pulp which helps to prevent fatal and lethal disease like cancer.  This strawberry like fruit checks the growth of cancer cells in the body and is found to be especially effective against breast cancer.

2.High vitamin C content. Lychee fruit is an excellent source of natural vitamin C. This vitamin is especially important as it is not produced inside the body on its own and need to be replenished with our diet.  Vitamin C aids the body in fighting against cancer and heart diseases.

3.Boost up the natural immunity of the body. Due to the high content of Vitamin C the lychee fruit, boost up the natural immunity of the body particularly among people suffering from fevers colds, and sore throats.

4.Improves digestion. Lychee fruit aids the body in proper digestion of food. This provides better nutrition and boosts up the body health in general.

5.Helps to relieve pain. Lychee fruit has the ability to shrink the swollen glands and relieves pain associated with it. The Chinese have been using this fruit for curing these problems since ancient times.

6.Provides essential minerals to the body. The lychee fruit is a rich source of calcium, phosphorous, and magnesium to the body. It is also rich in proteins that are one of the most important nutrients required for cell development.

Fresh or toffee lychees can be used as a serving with Vanilla Ice cream. It can also be consumed through ice creams, juices and candies. With so many benefits and a variety of use lychee fruit can and should be used as a regular part of your diet. This will help you stay healthy naturally.   (source)

Now, check out this short video of the lychee fruit and how it’s grown!