Good Question: Identify This Mystery Fruit!

Good Question: Identify This Mystery Fruit!

Faith Durand
Jun 17, 2008

Here's a fun question from reader Mila. She says:

Hi, Kitchn. While at the market on Sunday, I came across this very interesting fruit. At least I think it's a fruit. Having never seen this, I picked up out of curiosity. When I asked what it was, I had trouble understanding what the owner said. The woman in line behind me told me she had never seen it herself.

So here you have me, puzzled and hopeful of your help. An oval shape, with rough/textured brown skin/shell. The flesh is a transparent very much like that of a grape. Again, hope you or your readers can help. I'm pretty new to Kitchn and am glad to have found it.


Mila, we're so glad you found us, and yes, we can be of help. This mystery fruit is....

....a lychee!

The lychee is a tropical tree native to southern China, and also found in southern parts of the US, India, Southeast Asia, and the Philippines. The fruit is a drupe (definition here). It's rather like a pomegranate seed in that there is an aril of flesh surrounding a large nut or seed. That seed in the center should not be eaten.

These fruits have a highly perfumed taste - almost like roses. They are sweet and juicy, and while they appear often now in couture pastries and jellies, we prefer them straight. We often bought these when we lived in Florida, breaking them off the twigs they came on, and splitting the slightly spiky skin open with a spoon. Delicious!

Store in the fridge to keep them fresh. Lucky you, Mila!

Related: In Season: Fresh Dates

(Images: Reader Mila - thanks for the gorgeous photos, Mila!)

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