Rambutan (scientifically named ‘Nephelium Lappaceumis’) is definitely a very exotic fruit. It’s also a fruit not a lot of people know about.
The rambutan is native to Malay-Indonesian region and other regions of tropical Southeast Asia. It is closely related to several other edible tropical fruits including the lychee, longan, and mamoncillo.
Some experts call it a ‘super fruit’ because of the many benefits it has.
I’ts super high in Vitamin C and a good source of Copper as well!
They’re best when they’re a bright red color but even a little more riper (with some black color) will still taste delicious.
The edible inside is soft but compact and SUPER juicy! Its so juicy you almost have to be careful when you cut into the rind to quickly suck up the sweet juice that may squirt out. It looks like a little sea urchin or some sci-fi alien fruit; it’s sort of fun to eat 🙂
How to Pick and Eat Rambutans
Although rambutans only grow in tropical regions such as Hawaii, Puerto Rica, Costa Rica, Panama, and Southeast Asia, many Asian markets and even some large grocery stores in North America and the UK sell these nutritional powerhouse fruits. If you’re able to find rambutans that are still attached to the branch, go for them as they are thought to have higher culinary and nutritional value than rambutans that have been separated from the branch.
To preserve most of its flavor and nutritional value, the rambutan fruit is best eaten raw. Simply peel off the hairy skin and pop the white juicy flesh into your mouth. But be careful not to eat the bitter seed that is hidden inside the white flesh.
You can also use peeled and pitted rambutans in smoothies and fruit salads, for example as a substitute for lychees. If you have a juicer at home, rambutan juice spiced up with a bit of cinnamon or vanilla is also worth a try.
I purchased my last batch from Safeway at .79 cents each, but Whole Foods also carries the little beauties.
I definitely recommend trying these out if you haven’t already.