Thursday, April 27, 2006

The lychee (Litchi chinensis) is Dessert Fruit

Lychee (Litchi chinensis)Dessert FruitThe lychee (Litchi chinensis) and its relatives are some of the finest fruit from South East Asia. Although closely related, the ecological requirements of the fruit differ. The lycheees are the most popular Chinese dessert fruit, and is extensively grown in the sub-tropical south east, where it has been cultivated for well over a thousand years. The fruit originated either there, or in the ancient kingdom of Annam which is now central Vietnam.

The lychee is a distant relative of the akee. Lychee seed contain parts of hypogynies like those found in the akee. They, and presumably the seed of near lychee relatives, are toxic and should never be consumed.

Lychees may be dried within their shells. The sun dried lychee is well known as lychee-nut and this was the only form in which lycheees were available prior to about 1950. In taste and texture these are similar to a date. Canned lychees are readily available.
Lychees are harvested during early summer. Lycheees are premier dessert fruit and are usually eaten fresh.

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