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Tuesday, September 4, 2007


Common Name: Rambutan
Botanical Name: Nephelium lappaceum
Specimens From: Malaysia

Rambutan is a common fruit from South-east Asia as it is believed to be originated from around the region of Malaysia but is now cultivated in most of the tropical countries, with Thailand leading the production. The name derives from the Malay word, rambut, which means "hair" while the Chinese community call it the "red hairy" fruit. It is the most hairy fruit around and it is usually red but there is a younger brother (cultivar)which is usually smaller in size and has a yellow skin, but it is not so commonly found.

Rambutan is usually eaten out-of-hand. Just use both your thumbs to prise it open as the leathery skin is soft and easily tears apart. Pop the white, translucent flesh into your mouth or just bite it from your hand. But be careful of the single, light brown seed and don't accidentally swallow or eat it as it tastes terrible and should not be eaten.

The flesh is sweet but not as juicy nor as soft as the well-known cousin, "lychee", another red fruit in the same family. It is a nice fruit to eat but the irritating thing about rambutan is that, the skin of the seed usually sticks to the flesh and thereby end up eating the tastless skin as well. Most of the cultivars are not "freestone", only a handful is but it is hard to find!

As you can see from the first photo, the matured fruit is red and it is green when immature but some cultivars come in red skin, green hair(fruit on the right) even when it is fully riped. Do not choose those fruits with dried black hair as it indicates over-ripe and not fresh. It can still be eaten but it is hard, not so sweet and devoid of juice as it had already dried up.

Rambutans are also canned in syrup with the seeds taken off and some canned versions come with the cut pineapple stuffed inside the fruit but not sure if it ever exported to your country.

Rambutan Juice
If you prefer to drink, you may blend your own rambutan juice. Pure fruit juice with no sugar added as it is sweet on its own.

Fruit: Rambutan; Nephelium lappaceum; Sapindaceae.

Other fruits in the same family: Fijian Longan, Lychee, Pulasan, Longan.

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Rolando said...

Sure has an interesting shell.

Fruity said...

Interesting hairy skin. Welcome back Rolando. Cheers

Karin W. said...

Rambutan is imported from Southeast Asia and Indonesia to Sweden, you know.

Sometimes it´s called a "hairy litchy", tastes like European elder.

kml said...

Hard to believe that juicy looking white center is under that prickly looking skin! I will have to look for one in the supermarket.

Seena said...

thanks for visiting Simple and Delicious!
Really loved your site, very informative, will visit again..Have added you in my blog roll..

Fruity said...

Hi Karin:
Great that your country imported this exotic fruit. Guess it must be expensive. Cheers

Welcome aboard. Look is deceiving. Hopefully, your place sells it. feel free to come back again. Cheers from Fruity

Hi Seena:
Great to see you. Glad that you love this site, thanks. I'm sure your place got a lot of exotic fruits too. Drop by again. Cheers from Fruity

Swaruchy said...

Hi...U got an amazing website....I absolutely loved it :-)

Sue said...

Wow, what amazing pictures! I want some...Are there less hairy varieties? I seem to remember some that look like they had haircuts.

Fruity said...

Hi Sirisha:
Thank you for coming down. Glad you like it. Will swing to yours later. Cheers from Fruity

Hi Sue:
Welcome back. Hmmm.. Hairy's cousin is hairless but punky with studs. It is considered as rare fruits coz it's difficult to find it outside his native place. The thumbnail picture on my blog's title, that's him :) Will put up later, it's still in the queue..

Nature Nut /JJ Loch said...

I wonder if they use or used the red in the shell for dyes?

Hugs, JJ

Shirley Twofeathers said...

How cool is this!! Just yesterday I saw a picture of these on a blog somewhere... and I was curious about them and came to see if you had posted about them anywhere but you hadn't.

And now, VOILA! here they are!

Fruity said...

Hi JJ:
No, they used the roots and barks instead for dyes. Cheers

Hi 2 feathers:
Hehe, coz you sent me a telepathic message yesterday :) Cheers

Mom Knows Everything said...

I have seen these before somewhere. I think it was a cooking show. They are pretty neat looking!

Bar L. said...

Wow! I have never heard of any of these fruits, this is so interesting. I like your blog! Thanks for the comment on mine :)

Lisa McGlaun said...

They look like a sea urchin..amazing. said...

Fruity, I wonder if I can find these in my grocery store? I'm in the southern United States. They are so interesting looking. What do they taste like? I love your blog.


A Nice Place In The Sun

Fruity said...

Hi Tammy:
Neat? I thought it should be messy with the hippie hairstyle :) Cheers

Hi barbara:
Welcome aboard! You are always welcomed anytime. Cheers from Fruity

Hi Lisa:
Thanks for dropping by. You got it. It does look similar. Only thing is, they doesn't know how to swim :)

Hi Ann:
Welcome back. How sweet of you and yes, it is sweet, I mean the fruit. It is easier to find it in Chinatown or those Chinese grocery shops or at least, those huge supermart which sometimes carries it but have to wait for the right season.

Lovelyn said...

To add some info, you can actually eat the seed. It's crunchy and taste fine. we have them in our backyard and when teh branches are full of fruits it just bends and sometimes break.

Its a tall tree actually.

Anonymous said...

Now this is interesting in the old USA we don't often see such a variety of fruits other then apples and such...

Fruity said...

Hi Lovelyn:
But I would not support th idea of eating the seeds, especially not when it is raw, as there are traces of alkaloid, a substance that is harmful to our human body. And that is why the seeds are bitter. Boil or roast it before eating if you must.

Fruity said...

Hi Morgan:
Thanks for coming down. I know a lot of places in the States do not carry those exotic fruits but you can still find it in Chinatown or at least, those Chinese-owned grocery shops. Cheers from Fruity

Anonymous said...

I absolutely love rambutans! I first tried them over in Sri Lanka and can't get enough of them! :D

Serena said...

Wow, you have rambutans here! These fruits are available in abundance in Malaysia. When they ripens, the whole tree becomes flaming ChatnChill. ;)

Anonymous said...

Wow, scary looking stuff. Thanks for the comment and kind words one my blog.

Fruity said...

Hi Mel:
Welcome aboard. They are nice but still, there are nicer fruits around. Cheers from Fruity

Hi Serena:
That's a good one, RED! Your place got lots of great fruits

Hi Jeremy:
Welcome and thanks for coming by. Don't worry, this fruit won't bite:) Cheers from Fruity

morinn said...

i love the appearance of this fruit! i've never seen something like that before!

Fruity said...

Hi Morinn:
Welcome, Oh, I thought your place have this hairy fruit, since it's also a tropical country. Cheers

Anonymous said...

I had the pleasure of trying this fruit while in Singapore and it was absolutely delicious! This brings back memories..

Peggy said...

Oh, I just tried a rambutan a few weeks ago... thanks for the neat info!

Mansi said...

Wow, I never knew such a fruit existed!!! great find here,a nd what a pic!:)

Fruity said...

Hi Wendy:
Welcome aboard. Singapore sells plenty of fruits even though they don't grow any of them on the commercial scale..

Hi Peggy:
Yap, I saw you enjoying that hairy fruit in your blog :)

Hi Mansi:
Oh, you mean you have not seen it before! It's very common in Asia but not that easy to find in the States

Momgen said...

Oh i miss that rambutan i use to eat that fruit when i was in Bukidnon.

Fruity said...

Ic, By btw, where's Bukidnon? Never heard of it before

Simon said...

I tried this fruit when I visited Southeast Asia a while back. It tastes good.

Anonymous said...

Just found this misnamed as cherimoya in Pulbix grocery store. thank you for the site as I was able to learn what it is and know how to eat it. It was tasty... thanks

Eric Bronson said...

Well I got some seeds started. I sure hope it doesn't take 5-6 years like 'Fruits of Warm Climates' says. What do you think?

Anonymous said...

The flesh of this fruit is glamorous. wow !

Free Satellite TV

frelwa said...

This article should mention the fruit's common English name - Hairy Fruit. That name is also used by English speakers in Bangkok. The best place to find this delicious fruit in North America is a Chinese grocery.

Anonymous said...

Such a delicious fruit! Tastes so good! I remember eating it in Indonesia when i lived there!

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