Have You Had Your Lychee Berries Today?
Lychee is a fruit that many do not know about. It’s absolutely juicy and delicious to eat. You can find them in the summer in certain markets; larger health food markets. If you have a chance to taste them, you will see why they are most definitely worth the wait. Lychee berries grow on an evergreen tree reaching 10–28 meters tall, the lychee bears fleshy fruits that are up to 5 cm (2.0 in) long and 4 cm (1.6 in) wide. The skin of the fruit is a pink-red, roughly textured rind that is inedible but easily removed to expose a layer of sweet, translucent white flesh. Lychees are eaten in many dessert dishes, and are especially popular in China, throughout Southeast Asia, along with South Asia and India. The lychee is grown in China, Thailand, Vietnam, Japan,Bangladesh and northern India. South Africa and the United States (Hawaii and Florida) also have commercial lychee production. These fruit typically have a higher price, due to having more edible flesh. Cultivation of lychee began in the region of southern China, Malaysia, and northern Vietnam. Wild trees still grow in rainforest in Guangdong province and on Hainan Island. Unofficial records in China refer to lychee as far back as 2000 BCE. The lychee has a history of cultivation going back as far as 2000 BC according to records in China. Cultivation began in southern China, Malaysia, and Vietnam. Wild trees still grow in parts of southern China and on Hainan Island. There are many stories of the fruit’s use as a delicacy in the Chinese Imperial Court. It was first described and introduced to the west in 1782. The lychee has on average a total 72 mg of vitamin C per 100 grams of fruit. On average nine lychee fruits would meet an adult’s daily recommended Vitamin C requirement. A cup of lychee fruit provides, other minerals, 14% Daily Value (DV) of copper, 9% DV of phosphorus, and 6% DV of potassium (for a 2000-calorie diet). Like most plant-based foods, lychees are low in saturated fat and sodium and are cholesterol free. In traditional Chinese medicine, Lychee is known for being a fruit with “hot” properties (see the six excesses for more details on the definition of heat), and excessive consumption of Lychee can, in certain extreme cases, lead to fainting spells or skin rashes.
Lychees are extensively grown in China, and also elsewhere inBrazil, South-East Asia,Pakistan,Bangladesh,India, southernJapan, and more recently inCalifornia,Hawaii, Texas, Florida, the wetter areas of easternAustralia and sub-tropical regions of South Africa, Israel and in the states of Sinaloa and San Luis Potosí in Mexico. They need a warm subtropical to tropical climate that is cool but also frost-free or with only very slight winter frosts not below -4°C, and with high summer heat, rainfall, and humidity. Growth is best on well-drained, slightly acidic soils rich in organic matter. A wide range of cultivars is available, with early and late maturing forms suited to warmer and cooler climates . They are also grown as an ornamental tree as well as for their fruit. Lychees are commonly sold fresh in Asian markets, and in recent years, also widely in supermarketsworldwide. The red rind turns dark brown when the fruit is refrigerated, but the taste is not affected. It is also sold canned year-round. The fruit can be dried with the rind intact, at which point the flesh shrinks and darkens. Dried lychee are often called lychee nuts, though, of course, they are not a real nut. According to folklore, a lychee tree that is not producing much fruit can be girdled, leading to more fruit production.
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