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All About Rambutan

Rambutans are spunky tropical fruits that look like red hot pom poms. Similar texture to a lychee, rambutan’s translucent fruit is crisp, juicy and tropically sweet. Rambutan fruit’s flesh has a jellylike texture that brings to mind a dense, crisp, nectarous grape. Because of their watery flesh, the flavor has a fresh, clean quality and a strawberry sweetness.

Your friends at FruitStand look forward to sending you a beautiful package of these extraordinary fruits from our small specialty farm partners. Keep reading to learn all about rambutan!

Rambutans are juicy little tropical fruits that make a striking first impression. About the size and shape of a golf ball in the center, rambutans are a bright, deep red color and completely covered in waxy, rubbery spines. This texture gives the rambutan its signature “hairy” appearance. After all, the name rambutan comes from the word for “hair” in Malay, rambut.

On the outside, rambutans have a red, leathery peel with scrubby hairs. Their skin can have blushes of green, which turn darker red as the fruit continues to ripen. This rind is strong enough to protect the delicate fruit inside, but easy enough to peel away with a simple paring knife (or even your thumbs).

Rambutan fruit’s flesh has a jellylike texture that brings to mind a dense, crisp, nectarous grape. Because of their watery flesh, the flavor has a fresh, clean quality and a strawberry sweetness. Rambutan fruit tastes similar to a lychee, but is sweeter, less floral, and some say more tart flavor. Rambutans are considered stone fruit, which means they have a single hard, inedible pit at the center of the fruit.

Fresh rambutan fruit is often eaten raw as a fruity snack, directly from the prickly peel. Whether raw or cooked, rambutans are popular in Southeast Asian, Carribean and other cuisines around the world in recipes for desserts, cocktails, candies, chutneys and other sweet recipes. Rambutans compliment savory dishes too, and can be found in rice, seafood and meat preparations.

Rambutan is sometimes confused with its Sapindaceae relatives, lychee and longan fruits. All three have a leathery peel with jellylike, translucent white fruit inside. However, these three fruits vary in size, color and flavor. Rambutan is the largest of the three, with flamboyant, hot poker-red hairs that sets it visually apart. Rambutan flavor is believed to be the sweetest, with a creamy texture (although some say lychees are sweeter), while lychees win on crisp sweetness, and longans are the sourest of the bunch.

The rambutan tree, Nephelium lappaceum, grows natively in tropical Indonesia, specifically in parts of Borneo.Today it is cultivated in tropical climates around the world throughout Asia, Africa, North, Central and South America and Australia. Rambutan trees are evergreen, reaching up to 65 feet high and bearing fruit twice per year.

The rambutan tree, Nephelium lappaceum, grows natively in Indonesia, specifically in parts of Borneo. Throughout history, the plant has been brought to other areas of the world where the climate is tropical. Today rambutans grow throughout Asia, Africa, North, Central and South America and Australia.

As if these fruits weren’t magical enough, rambutan trees produce fruit twice annually, from July through August and December through January. Join the FruitStand Facebook Group to be the first to know when we’re shipping these extra special fruits!

Whether a rambutan is certified organic or not will depend on the farm where it was grown. At FruitStand, we only partner with the best specialty farms for exceptional quality of produce. When each harvest is available, we'll tell you whether the fruit is considered organic or conventional.

Rambutans might be some of the most photogenic fruits there are. Snap a pic of your FruitStand rambutans tag us on Instagram @Fruitstandcom for a chance to be featured!

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