Thursday, June 28, 2012

Lychee Season and a Story

Updated 7/6/12 - Just found this pic of lychee 
at the farmer's market last month

A trio of lychee fruits. 

Lychee season is almost pau (Hawaiian for over), but there are still lychee fruits available at the farmer's markets and at Mana Health Foods in Pa'ia.  We've had apparently a really great lychee season - "choke" lychee as they say here, choke is pidgin for "a lot." Lychee season always seems to come and go fairly quickly here, maybe it's only a couple of months - compared to mango season which can last for months and months. 

Lychee fruit, partially peeled. 

I had more lychee to take pictures of, but I ended up eating them. Lychee is a popular fruit that was brought over, I believe, by Chinese immigrants. I know it's especially enjoyed in China and Vietnam, and it's fun to eat. The fruit has a thick, almost scaly skin, that protects it from fruit flies.

Lychee fruit with a seed inside. It looks like an "eye."

True story: Many years ago, DH was invited to a Filipino lu'au to celebrate a baby's first birthday. This is a big deal in Hawaii, and most families hold a lu'au and invite all their friends and family.  Towards the end, the hosts brought out trays of peeled lychee fruits. They told him it was dog eye balls. Since it was a Filipino event, and they had already given him balut to eat, and he had several beers by then, and even ate some dog meat, and other specialties, he believed them, and almost gagged. He says he can never look at lychee the same way again. I grew up eating lychee, so I'm not bothered at all. 

Fully peeled lychee fruit

A friend likes to serve lychee fruit, peeled with a dollop of cream cheese inside. It's quite yummy. But mostly I eat it by itself. It's also available at some supermarkets in the Asian section, in cans, just like canned peaches. Just like peaches, some lychee fruits are really sweet and others are not as sweet. The texture is like a grape, but a little firmer. 

If you have a lychee tree, and are trying to get it to fruit, the Maui Farmer's Union offered some lychee fruiting tips last fall.  Lychee trees grow quickly, but can be fickle. Sometimes lychee trees can "go off" and produce so much fruit, that people will sell lychee from their truck along the highway. Same thing for mangoes. The going rate for lychees is $4 or $5 per lb, but I've seen it for as little as $3/lb, probably because it's been a good season. 


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