Lychee nut fruit sure are pretty but what can I do with them?
While the lychee nut fruit is called a nut, it is actually a fruit with a seed. It originated in provinces of China dating back to 1059 AD. Once you peel off the hard shell, you have a sweet, crisp, and juicy flesh with a “signature scent” of floral perfume. The seed is not edible and slightly poisonous.
Lychee is high in minerals, vitamin C, and folate; and such a sweet treat with only six calories!
It pairs well cinnamon, ginger, or honey. The lychee enhances fruit salad and salsa. You can use it as a garnish for cocktails, add it to hot and savory dishes, and even stuff the fruit with mixed minced nuts, honey, ginger and soft cheese.
Our favorite at Key Culinary Tours is the Lychee Martini.
¼ cup sugar
¼ cup water
1 cup drained canned lychee (15-20, from a 16-20 oz. can), use fresh lychee
2 tablespoons lemon juice
6 oz. (3/4 cup) vodka
1 ½ oz. (3 Tbsp) orange-flavor liqueur
Heat sugar and water in saucepan over high heat, stir until sugar is dissolved. Set aside to completely cool to cold. (You can make this ahead of time or use prepared simple syrup.)
Puree lychees with simple syrup and lemon juice in a blender.
Force the mixture through a fine sieve. Discard solids.
Fill a cocktail shaker halfway with ice. Add lychee puree, vodka and liqueur.
Shake and strain into martini glasses,
Garnish with a whole lychee.
NOTE: You can store lychee nuts in the refrigerator in a slightly opened container for up to one week, or freeze the whole fruit unpeeled. There is even a produce vendor at the Sarasota Farmers Market that had fresh ones on hand!