Strange Fruit

Food, New things

I bought some of the strangest fruit I’ve ever seen yesterday. It’s called a rambutan, and looks like something out of the original Star Trek episode “The Trouble with Tribbles”! Very organic and creature-ish looking, right?

Tribble or sea anemone? Surprise – it’s a fruit!

I had sampled one several months ago, when a chef gave a Tuesday Talk about native Panamanian fruits and vegetables. I remembered that I liked it, and when I saw a guy with a pickup-load of them for sale, I had to get some.

Here’s what I saw on the street corner.

Here’s a description:

In Panama, this fruit is commonly referred to as ‘Mamón Chino’ (which literally means Chinese sucker). It is sold with the fruit still on the branches, like Mother Nature’s lollipops. It is related to the lychee.

Flavor: Delicious, tangy, alien invasion-y, sweet/sour with a grape-like texture
Season: August, September 
How do I eat it? Peel off the red fuzzy exterior, pop it into your mouth and eat/suck around the pit 
Reported health benefits: In traditional medicine in Malaysia and Indonesia (the home of the Rambutan) it is used in diabetes and hypertension treatments. Also purported to boost energy, blast parasites and free radicals and has antiseptic properties

Here’s what the inside looks like….

What’s inside….

I bit through the outer shell just enough to break through it (it’s fairly thick, but pliable), then peeled it back to expose the fruit on the inside. It’s so odd – the fruit isn’t really attached to the shell at all, and lifts right out. The texture is like a peeled grape, and it sort of tastes like a grape, too – sweet, but not overly so.

The fruit has a good-sized seed/pit.

I bought a bundle of these (still on the branches) for a whopping $2.50. After pulling them off the stems, I had a large bag full of fruit. These will make great, healthy snacks for TV watching – they’re sweet and satisfying, low-calorie, and they take awhile to peel and eat. Perfect! And if they deliver the health benefits listed above, that’s a win-win, for sure!

8 comments… add one
  • Sara A. Klehn-Harvey Aug 29, 2019 Link Reply

    Myra, That is definitely unusual looking! It does sound wonderful, though, and healthy. Many thanks to our hungry ancestors for their bravery. Variety is a wonderful thing.

  • Shirley Conaway Aug 30, 2019 Link Reply

    Well I’ve just learned something completely new! Thanks, Myra. 😊

  • Lee Ann Kelley Aug 30, 2019 Link Reply

    If this fruit ever fines it’s way to a grocery store up here, I,m getting some!

  • Bill Eudy Aug 30, 2019 Link Reply

    I am so unimaginative when it comes to diet.

  • Debbie P Sep 2, 2019 Link Reply

    I sooo live reading about your adventures! And opening our eyes to things we have never imagined too! What fun you are having.

  • VC Sep 8, 2019 Link Reply

    This little guy is no stranger to me, it’s also available in Southeast Asia, sometimes I can find them “fresh” at Chinese grocery store here in ATL, most of the time these are canned just like pineapples or tangerines at any Asian grocery store.

    To me it tasted similar to lychee if you had that before…

  • Barb Goltry Sep 20, 2019 Link Reply

    Really interesting, crazy fruit! I suppose the actual pulpy fruit is about the size of a small plum? I think I’ve seen lychee at Gopurum India Restaurant, but have not tried it.

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