Lychee, Ugly to Look At, Delightful to Taste
Marty Martindale

Lychees look like rough, prickly-surfaced, tiny tennis balls, anything but edible. Once it’s bestlycheeinkish-dark red, dull skin is removed, you will find a white, translucent flesh surrounding a dark brown pit, the lychee’s seed. Structurally, it reminds one of eating a cherry. Lychee (a.k.a. litchi, leechee) fruit gives a taste described as agreeably sweet, yet satisfyingly tart, chewy and juicy. At the end of this, we have included a link to a recipe for Lychee Martinis.

As is so often the case, the U.S. has been slow to adapt a taste for lychees, while the Asians, for centuries, have used them in main dishes, snacks and in bowls, over ice, as dessert. The Chinese meaning for lychees is “gift for a joyful life,” and they are sometimes known as a Chinese Cherry.

Available canned or dried, the dried lychee fruit then becomes lychee nuts though never classified as a nut. Fresh is the favorite way to consume lychees.

The lychees have a history going back to 2000 BC in China and India. Today, the fruit is cultivated worldwide in most mild climates.

Lychee fruit is rich in vitamin C, copper and folate. They should be eaten in moderation, however, as eating more than 6 or 7, especially for diabetics, can cause hypoglycemia.
Lychees are best ripened on the tree, not after picking. Always choose lychees which are firm, rough-skinned and a deep-red to brownish color. They should never be mushy or split.

Store lychees, wrapped in moist paper towel, in a perforated plastic bag in your refrigerator for 3 to 5 days.


Lychees are frequently eaten out-of-hand like bananas after their skin and pit is removed.

When used in cooking, add them last to preserve flavoring.

  • Cereal topping
  • Coolers
  • Crepes
  • Fruit compote
  • Good with cinnamon, ginger, cumin, nutmeg
  • Jam
  • Pancakes
  • Salad
  • Sauce of lychee, raisins and onion
  • Stir fry
  • Trail mx
  • Waffle

Below are foodsites with lychee recipes.

Marty Martindale

About Marty Martindale

Foodsite Magazine and Marty aim to help the cooking-challenged avoid dependence on others due to lack of cooking knowhow. We concentrate on quick breakfasts, portable lunches and “good-4-u” night meals. With readily available web translation, the magazine explains separate foods, a little of their history, their nutrition, suggested “go-withs,” serving ideas and links to foodsites with recipes.

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