What is longan
How to eat longan? Longan is a tropical Asian fruit that belongs to the Sapindaceae family. Grown on a tropical longan tree, the fruit has a yellow-brown skin featuring a leathery texture. Underneath the skin lies the translucent fruit that resembles lychee. Longan contains a black-colored seed at its core. The circular white flesh of the fruit combined with black seed gives it the appearance of an eyeball – one of the reasons it is commonly known as a ‘dragon’s eye.’
Longan is an ancient fruit utilized as traditional Chinese medicine for centuries across Southeast Asia. It is consumed fresh, canned, dried, and cooked. There are wide commercial varieties of this juicy fruit produced in subtropical and tropical climates worldwide.
What does longan taste like?
Longan tastes similar to lychee fruit and has a sweet, juicy flavor. However, there is a difference. As compared to lychee, longan is less floral. It also has a muskier aftertaste which many people find pleasing.
The texture of the fruit is soft and fleshy, with a thin and delicate skin that can be easily peeled away. The juiciness of the fruit makes it very enjoyable to eat. Apart from this, the fruit has a lovely subtlety and freshness, which is why it works great as a juice. Dried longan has a drier sweetness which is relatively milder.
How to eat longan
Eating fresh longan fruit is very easy. If you have eaten lychee before, you should have no trouble eating longan the same way. Most people enjoy it out of hand as it is considered the best way to consume the whole fruit. Here are some guidelines on how to eat longan:
- Before eating Longan, it’s a good idea to thoroughly wash it as it can get messy due to its juiciness.
- Next, pull the skin of the fruit from the flesh. You can use your fingers to break it in two and then remove the dark seed.
- Alternatively, you can put the sweet fruit directly into your mouth and pop out its seed.
- Another method is to create a tear in the shell by making a small cut near the fruit's stem using a knife.
- The longan seeds inside the fruit are hard as a stone, so be careful not to chip a tooth.
Other ways to enjoy longan
Longan is very versatile. Apart from consuming raw, you can enjoy it in many other ways. Some popular options include making a smoothie, making tea, adding it to savory and sweet dishes in Asian cuisine, etc. Here are your options:
- You will need dried longan to make longan tea. Boil some water and add 3-4 pieces of the fruit. Let it steep for a couple of minutes then you can enjoy your hot tea.
- Longan is an excellent addition to fruit salads or desserts as it can enhance their taste.
- Mix banana and coconut milk with dragon eye fruit to make a flavorful smoothie or ice cream. Depending on your preferences, you can add any fruits you like.
- You can also use longan in your dishes, such as sauce or fry, to balance the taste.
Health benefits of longan fruit
Longan fruit is a nutrient-dense fruit that offers several health benefits. Here are some of the health benefits of longan fruit:
- Rich in antioxidants: Longan fruit is a rich source of antioxidants that help protect your cells from damage caused by free radicals. It also has Potassium and vitamin B.
- Boosts immune system: Longan fruit contains Vitamin C, which helps boost your immune system and supports healthy skin and tissue.
- Promotes healthy digestion: Longan fruit is rich in fiber, which supports healthy digestion and helps prevent constipation.
- Improves heart health: Longan fruit contains potassium, which helps regulate blood pressure and promotes heart health.
- Enhances brain function: Longan fruit contains several B vitamins that support healthy brain function and may help improve memory and concentration.
- Helps in relaxation: Longan fruit has a calming effect on the nervous system and is often used in traditional medicine to promote peace and reduce stress.
Overall, longan fruit is a healthy addition to your diet and can provide several health benefits when consumed regularly. However, like with any fruit, it's best to finish it in moderation as it contains natural sugars.
Longan is a delicate fruit that requires careful handling and storage to maintain its freshness and flavor. Because of their high sugar content, storing longans inside the refrigerator is recommended. Here are some tips on how to keep longan properly:
- Choose fresh longan: To ensure that your longans last longer, select fresh and firm longan without any signs of bruising or damage.
- Store at room temperature: Longans can be stored for a day or two. However, they are best stored in the refrigerator.
- Refrigerate: Store the longan in a plastic bag or airtight container and place it in the refrigerator. Make sure to remove any damaged or bruised fruit before storing it.
- Use within a few days: Longan can be stored in the refrigerator for up to five days, but it's best to consume them within two to three days to enjoy their optimal freshness and flavor.
- Freeze: If you have an excess of longan, you can freeze them by removing the skin and seeds and placing them in an airtight container or freezer bag. Longan can be stored in the freezer for up to six months.
Remember, longan is a perishable fruit, so always use your best judgment and dispose of any fruit that appears spoiled or smells foul.
Where to buy longan
Longan is very common in southern China and Asian countries, but unfortunately, they are difficult to find in other parts of the world. But you can buy them by visiting Asian or specialty grocery stores.
Since fresh longans are so difficult to find in other regions, dried or canned ones are more common in grocery stores. However, remember that these preserved longans usually contain more sugar than frozen or fresh fruit. Generally, fresh longans are a superior choice because they taste the best, and their new flavor makes them so delicious.
If you have not tried the juicy and sweet longan, the above information will encourage you to act. The longan fruit taste may vary depending on the taste buds. Fresh longans are available seasonally, but their canned or dried versions are available year-round in the stores or market. All versions offer various nutritional benefits. Overall, it is worth giving this tasty treat a try. Even if it doesn’t suit your taste, you can still enjoy Longan in several other ways. So what do you think? Leave your comments below. 🙂