Lately, fresh lychees have started to pop up at the Asian grocery store. Beneath the red bumpy skin is a sweet, fragrant, juicy, translucent grape-like white fruit. If you’ve never tried them before, they’re quite the summertime treat.
Fresh lychees are so good as is, I’ve never been able to bring myself to actually use them in a recipe. They have a freshness that the canned version doesn’t quite capture. With such a short season (a few weeks) I must eat them before they’re all gone.
To eat, just stick a thumbnail in towards the top to break the skin (be careful not to squirt juice all over the place) and the rest of the skin should easily be peeled off. I like to eat them as I’m peeling them – watch out for the smooth, shiny, hard pit in the middle.
I also remember eating bags of dried lychees as a kid. Although I haven’t seen the dried lychees at any store for years. The whole lychee is dried with the skin on. When dried, the skin turns a cinnamon-brown color and becomes somewhat brittle and the inside becomes dark brown and raisin-like. They were mighty tasty and fun to eat too.