A hairy strawberry or chestnut was the first thing that came to mind when I saw the rambutan fruit.
I had never seen it, tried it or heard of it before. Some of the fruits that I now enjoy whenever I can get them and previously was unaware of are Fuchsia Fruit and Sabras Cactus Fruit.
This little fruit is native to Malaysia, and Indonesia and growing in popularity throughout the world. It is now widely grown in India, Vietnam, Sri Lanka, Burma and Thailand followed by Australia and Hawaii.
There are very few places that don’t import it now thanks to worldwide travel and demand.
With more and more people being adventurous in both visiting countries and trying exotic dishes, this has all helped to highlight the unusual rambutan fruit which is classed as one of the most exotic fruits in the world today.
About the Fruit
The name rambutan stems from the Malaysian word for hair “rambut” and it certainly was a wisely chosen one.
The fruit grows on the rambutan tree which may grow up to 12 m high and is commonly grown in gardens throughout Asia and Indonesia.
The round or oval fruit varies considerably and may be yellow-green, pink or red and is approximately 1-2 inches long.
This fruit tree has two harvesting times a year, end of June to August and again in December/January.
Closely linked to the lychee fruit, rambutan fruit has a soft pliable outer shell covered in hairy bristle like spikes.
First impressions are that it is bigger than a lychee but once the outer shell is removed, the fruit is in fact smaller in size.
A soft, juicy milky-white fleshy fruit, translucent and grape like in texture, it has a slightly more acidic taste than that of a lychee or Chinese gooseberry as it is also known as.
Rambutan fruit are low in calories with an average fruit containing 59 calories.
Extremely low in fat they contain a small amount of protein with the majority of calories coming from carbohydrates.
This soft little fruit is rich in vitamin C. A 100g serving of rambutan will equate to 40% of the daily recommended intake of vitamin C making it a great addition and boost to your daily diet.
It is also a source of niacin (B3), iron, phosphorus, calcium and fibre.
The fruit is best eaten raw and does not have a long shelf life, and this may vary from a day or two up to a week.
If you want to extend this life, place this fruit into a perforated bag and keep it in the fridge.
To open the fruit follow this easy video which shows how to cut around the outer shell easily with a knife and pop out the fleshy rambutan.
Rambutan fruit may be used in many dishes and drinks.
A tropical fruit salad, smoothies, cocktails, deserts, yogurts, jams, jellies, chutney, syrups, soup and salsa are some of the ways to use this fragile little fruit.
You could confidently substitute it in most lychee recipes for something different such as a stir-fry or savory dish.
How to Eat
Salad With Rabutan
Vietnams Cai Be Floating Market
- Rambutan Martini Cocktail Recipe
- Tropical Fruit Salad in Kaffir Lime Leaf Syrup | Cook (almost) Anything at Least Once
With Rambutans, Mangoes, Lychees and Longans.
- Rambutan Gelato | Salty Seattle
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