Longan brings exciting and interesting flavors to the mix when it comes to exotic fruit. We understand you have your favorite everyday fruit. Yet, boldly stepping out of your food comfort zone brings new and enticing tastes and textures that may surprise you.
Certainly, everyone’s palate experiences the taste of food differently. The exotic fruit family is not shy of sweetness, fragrance, and juiciness. So, longan is a must-try if you prefer fruit on the sweet side.
Without further ado, let’s learn more about this unusual exotic fruit, where it comes from, what logan fruit tastes like, and its health benefits side effects.
What is Logan Fruit and Where Does It Come From?
Logan fruit is a member of the soapberry family (Sapindaceae). It is related to Lychee and Rambutan but only grows in bunches on tropical trees, not bushes. (*)
Typically, the trees reach between 30 – 50 feet (9 – 15 meters). They can get over 100 feet (30 meters) if grown in the correct soil and climate.
The existence of longan dates back to 200 BC!
It hails from tropical Asia and China. The exact origin is still being determined, but its thought to be the region between Myanmar and Southern China.
Today, the largest producer is China. Other producing countries include India, Sri Lanka, Thailand, Vietnam, Kampuchea, New Guinea, Malaysia, Taiwan, the Philippines, Australia, and the United States.
In the 1900s, longan was introduced to Hawaii and Florida. Over time, crops have been established in California, Arizona, Nevada, Southern Texas, and Georgia.
Despite this rather unpleasant analogy, it is accurate regarding appearance. However, do not let this deter you from eating longan.
How Long Does It Take To Grow Longan Fruit Tree?
Seedling trees can take up to 6 years to bear fruit. If you go with the air-layered route, you can expect fruit within 2 -3 years. (*)
Typically, longan trees bear fruit erratically. So don’t feel disheartened if your tree bears little or no fruit for some years.
However, mature trees in a happy and established environment can bear between 50 – 500 lbs (23 – 227kg) of sweet and juicy fruit.
What Does Longan Fruit Taste Like?
Longan fruit is super juicy and high in natural sugar. Therefore, it is extremely sweet. The translucent flesh is milky white, and the texture resembles a grape. Also, the taste is more or less like a grape too.
If you have eaten Rambutan or Lychee, the taste is remarkably similar, but longan has musky notes. We understand that a “musk” taste can be overpowering. Yet, it is subtle in longan, and the musky notes set it apart from its soapberry cousins.
When you peel longan, you can expect a gently floral fragrance. We would say the taste of longan is closest to lychee.
Of course, longan fruit has its unique taste, but the overall texture and tropical flavor are satisfying and delicious.
They have similar round shape and leathery skin, but the longan has thicker skin and does not have any ridges like the ones you see on lychees.
The flesh of a longan is also much paler than that of a lychee and its flavor is more subtle. Longans can be eaten fresh or dried, while lychees cannot be dried.
Is Eating Longan Good For You? Is It Healthy?
Longan fruit is high in vitamin C, essential for boosting our immune system when fighting colds and flu.
One serving of longan and day almost meets our daily vitamin C requirements.
The RDI (recommended daily intake) of Vitamin C assists in promoting the following:
- Tissue health
- Healthy teeth and gums
- A healthy heart
Other vitamins and minerals include:
- Vitamin B2 (Riboflavin)
In particular, potassium assists with blood pressure control—good news, as longan contains a decent amount of potassium.
Notably, longan is higher in carbs and low in fiber.
Certainly, longan offers fantastic health benefits. We recommend you introduce them into your diet alongside your other favorite exotic fruit. (*)
Longan Fruit Benefits and Side Effects
How To Eat Longan Fruit?
Longan is easy to eat. All you need to do is peel the thin leathery shell. You can do this by creating an opening using your fingernail or pinching the skin to make an opening. Then, peel the shell.
The shell is similar to lychee but less bumpy. It is tan or light brown, and there is a small, smooth pit in the center that needs to be removed before you eat it.
Alternatively, you can pop the whole fruit into your mouth and eat around the pit. If you are a keen gardener, why not save the pit and grow your own tree?
Generally, they grow well from seed, and harvesting longan from your tree is rewarding.
5 Delicious Ways to Enjoy Longan Fruit
Longan is available fresh, canned, or dried. For this reason, you can use them in various recipes and meals, from salads, curries, drinks, and desserts.
We have selected our top 5 favorite dishes to whip up and enjoy!
- Refreshing Citrus and Tropical side salad
Delicious when paired with roast chicken. Let’s go!
- Peel and pit the longans and dice finely
- Peel and prepare one or two fresh limes
- Finely chop some fresh garden mint
- Finely chop some spring onions or purple onions
- Add salt to taste
- Drizzle with extra-virgin olive oil, toss, and serve
- Tropical Fruit Popsicles – The ideal Summer Treat!
- Place a cup of peeled and pitted longans with a few fresh mango slices in your blender
- Add a handful of freshly chopped garden mint
- Blend with coconut milk until you reach a “milk” liquid consistency
- Pour into your popsicle molds, freeze, and enjoy
Terrific Tip: if you do not have popsicle molds, use icetrays. It can get a bit messy with children, but they will have so much fun.
- The Ulitmate Exotic Fruit Smoothie
- Blend coconut milk, longan, banana, and dates. Done and delicious!
Terrific Tip: Add a little coconut cream for extra smoothness
- Longan Overnight Oats
Prepare your overnight oats in an air-tight container for breakfast on the go.
- Place half a cup of precooked oats in the container
- Add a few dry longans
- Add two or three pitted and chopped Medjool dates
- For extra nutrition, add half a teaspoon of chai seeds and flax seed powder
- Cover adequately with coconut milk
- Add a dash of coconut cream for extra creaminess
- Longan Jello – your children will love this!
Prepare lychee-flavored jello. Then, add a few peeled and pitted diced longan. Set in the refrigerator, and serve with vanilla or coconut ice cream. Ideal for a children’s summer party celebration.
Final Fruity Thought
By now, we are sure you have a pretty good idea of what longan fruit taste like and how to incorporate it into your diet.
Be sure to try out one of our favorite dishes above for family and friends to try this sweet exotic fruit.
We would love to know what your favorite longan dish is. Let us know!
Longan Flavor: Exploring the Taste of Longan Fruit
- Ingredients from your favorite recipes
- You can never be too sure when it comes to the taste of a dish – one moment it might be delicious and the next, not so much!
- It all depends on the ingredients you choose, how you cook them and what type of dish you make. All these factors can really impact the flavor of your food.