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Longan Dimocarpus longan Lour.

Photo Credit: Ian Maguire

Longans are often mistaken for lychees, as they are very similar. The outside difference is that longans are brown and smooth skinned, while lychees are reddish with bumpy skin.  They both have the appearance and texture of grapes on the inside, and a similar flavor. The main season for longans is July/August, but a small amount of fruit is available throughout the year.



Below are a few tips to help you enjoy your longans at their best!


Selecting fruit

Longans are harvested in bunches, ripe from the tree, and are sold with the stems on. Fruit ordered from our growers will be fresh, of top quality, and ready to eat when it arrives. At the market, look for fruit that is plump, with few or no dark spots, and have a sweet fragrance. Avoid fruit that is cracked or has any mold.


Ripening

This fruit is picked from the tree at its peak when it is fully ripe, and is ready to eat when purchased.


Handling

The peel on a longan is not edible. To remove the peel, simply break the skin with your fingernail, or squeeze the fruit until the skin breaks, then lift off the peel. You will now be able to see the dark seed through the flesh of the fruit, so be careful and don’t swallow the seed!


Storage

Store longans in the refrigerator in a plastic bag or container that is slightly open.  The small opening will help to reduce mold and condensation. The peel may harden a bit, but this will not affect the flavor of the flesh inside.

The fruit will keep for up to two weeks this way.

You can also freeze your longans. Simply place the fruit in a plastic bag or container and store. It is not necessary to peel the fruit to freeze it. Longans will keep about a year in the freezer.


Counts and Weights

There are about 20 longans to a pound.


Nutrition

Longans are low in calories, with one-half cup of fruit contains about 60 calories. They are an excellent source of potassium and vitamin C, and are very low in sodium. Click here for additional nutritional information.


Recipes

The fruit is extremely sweet, juicy and succulent, and is delicious eaten fresh or in fruit salads, desserts and sorbets. You can easily substitute longans for any recipe that calls for lychees.


Below are several recipes for you to try.


Chicken with Longan

10 oz chicken breast, cut into pieces
1   red bell pepper, diced
1 lb. longans, peeled and chopped

Marinade:
2 teaspoons soy sauce
1 teaspoons corn starch
1/4 teaspoon salt

Sauce
2 teaspoons soy sauce
4 tablespoons water
2 tablespoons sugar
1 tablespoon white vinegar
1/2 teaspoon corn starch

Method
Mix chicken with marinade. Let chicken sit while pepper is chopped, longans are halved, and sauce is made. Stir-fry chicken in 2 tbsp oil until done. Add red bell pepper, longan and sauce. Stir well for about 1 minute until sauce thickens. Serve over rice.

Chicken with Longan & Macadamia salad

Ingredients (serves 4)

1/4 cup macadamia nuts

2  chicken breast fillets

lettuce, washed, dried, torn

2 c. longans, peeled and halved, seed removed

2 c. snow pea sprouts, trimmed (other sprouts can be used)

2 Tbsp. olive oil

1 Tbsp. lemon juice

3 tsp. finely shredded fresh mint leaves

Pinch sugar

Cook chicken in small amount of oil until fully cooked. Transfer to a plate to cool.

Combine the lettuce, longans, and sprouts, and place on plate. Place the oil, juice, mint and sugar into a screwtop jar, and shake until blended. Pour dressing over salad and toss to combine.

Slice the chicken and serve with the salad. Sprinkle with macadamias to serve.