also known as: litchi, leechee, lichee, lichi, laichi, and more
Usually late May - early June. -- 2014 Season Over
Lychees are most commonly hand peeled and eaten fresh.The translucent white flesh is firm and very sweet--much like a grape. In the center of the fruit is a single seed that should not be consumed. For cooking they are best suited for desserts. They can be dried, canned, and are excellent frozen right in their shell. Lately they have become popular as a martini flavor.
How to Buy
Lychees are available for pickup locally by special order. You can now have them shipped to your home or office in 5 or 10 pound packages.
Storage and Ripening
Lychees are harvested tree ripe. They should be stored in the refrigerator, sealed in a plastic bag for best results. Refrigeration will cause the skin to turn brown, however the inside of the fruit is often unaffected. Store in the refrigerator for up to two weeks, or freeze whole for up to one year.
Erickson Farm specializes in the Hak ip cultivar which is larger and sweeter than most other varieties and has a very small seed. We also have some Brewster and Mauritius trees, the two most popular commercial cultivars. The rough skin is red; darker on the Hak ip and Mauritius and lighter and brighter on the Brewster. Below you can see a comparison between color, size, and seeds of a Brewster and Hak ip lychee.
A Brewster lychee on the left and a Hak ip on the right
Raw lychees are a very good source of Vitamin C and a good source of Copper. On average, 9 fruit will provide an adult's daily recommended vitamin C requirement. One cup of fruit (190g) has 125 calories, 7 of which are from fat.
Origin and History
This unique fruit is native to southern China and related to longan, akee, and rambutan. The lychee is praised and pictured in Chinese art and record dating back to 1059 A.D. Lychees made their way to the continental United States around the turn of the 20th century when Rev. W. M. Brewster imported young lychee trees to Florida. Today most lychees are cultivated in South-East Asia. In the United States they can be grown in Florida, Hawaii, Texas, and California.
Lychees at Erickson Farm