Wednesday, September 2, 2009

Fruit du jour - Longan "Dragon Eyes"

Longan (Dimocarpus Longan) is tropical Asiatic fruit native to southern China and also found in Indonesia, Malaysia, Viet Nam, Sri Lanka and the Philippines. The longan is named as "dragon eyes" because of its resemblance to an eyeball when it is shelled. The translucent flesh of thr fruit allows the balck seed to show through like a pupil or iris. The fruit has a shiny, small, black, round and hard seed. When fully ripened, the fruit can be easily opened by squeezing it out. The fruit is a cousin of the lychee but the longan has a mocha-brown color while the lychee has a red rind. Both fruits though, has bark-like skin and are extremely sweet.

Since this juicy and succulent fruit is very seasonal, most of the time it iscanned with syrup being sold in supermarkets. When in season, it is ingested raw as a desert, snack or an ingredient for soups and sweet-and-sour foods. In the Philippines, its more famous cousin, the lychee, is used in sherbets as an accompaninment with the Buco Sherbet. Longan can be used as a substitute, too. In Chinese medicine, it is believed to have an effect on relaxation. Thus, it is considered as a "warm" fruit.

The fruit is in season now. You can see it on fruit stands (a kilo is Php 80 - 90.00) or even in your backyard in the province. Most people barely gives attention to this sweet fruit but once initiated, they instantly fall in love with the fruit.

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