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Rambutan FAQs

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 crisp, clean quality and a strawberry sweetness. Rambutan fruit tastes similar to a lychee, but is sweeter, less floral, and some say more tart flavor.

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.

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).

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. Inside, rambutan fruit flesh is translucent white with a watery and jellylike consistency.

Ripe, fresh rambutans have a waxy, scruffy peel that changes color from bright red with green, which grows darker red as it ages. These little buddies are usually picked when green, then ripen once harvested.

Rambutan can be eaten raw, cooked, candied or juiced. Before using rambutan in your snacks and recipes, the fruit must be removed from the peel. To remove rambutan from their peel of waxy bristles, carefully score the peel around the circumference of the little fruit with a sharp paring knife. Then, twist the top and bottom half of the peel gently, and the rambutan fruit will easily separate from the rind.

The delicate fruit can be separated from the pit using a similar method. Score the translucent rambutan fruit carefully around its circumference with a paring knife. Then, remove the pit from the jellylike fruit \ by peeling it carefully away with your fingers.

No, rambutan pits are not edible. Rambutans are considered stone fruit, which means they have a single hard, inedible pit at the center of the fruit.

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

Rambutan fruits are known to be a good source of fiber, copper and vitamin C.

Rambutan Nutrition (100g)

  • Calories: 75
  • Carbohydrate: 16g
  • Fiber: 3g
  • Sugar: 13g
  • Protein: 1g
  • Potassium: 138g
  • Calcium: 8g
  • Vitamin C: 70mg

As if these fruits weren’t magical enough, rambutan trees flower twice annually in July-August and December-January.

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. However, rambutans compliment savory dishes too, and can be found in rice, seafood and meat preparations.

Rambutan fruit’s flesh has a jellylike texture that brings to mind a dense, creamy yet crisp grape. Because of their watery flesh, the flavor has a crisp, clean quality and a strawberry sweetness. While the nuances in flavor give rambutan its own unique taste, the flavors are similar to that of a lychee. Rambutans are known to be sweet, crisp, tart and slightly creamy.

The easiest way to eat a rambutan is in its raw form, straight from the waxy, hairy peel. These sweet little fruits are perfect for confections like jams, jellies, candies, pastries creams and desserts. For a tropical addition to fruit and vegetable salads, add sliced rambutan. Rambutans freeze beautifully for use in popsicles, ice cream and granitas. Delicate rambutan flesh is used as an ingredient in sweet and savory chutneys, sauces, and seasonal food recipes.

Rambutans can be substituted for any recipe calling for lychee fruit! Use fresh rambutan in refreshing beverages from water to tea, juice, smoothies, shakes and cocktails. Pop fresh rambutans into a basic syrup for everyday drinks. 

Chunks of fresh rambutan fruit are a delicious addition to milk tea, iced tea and enhanced waters, and make for impressive cocktail garnishes.

When your FruitStand shipment of rambutans arrives, they may already be ripe. Ripe, fresh rambutans have a waxy, scruffy peel that changes color from bright red with green, which grows darker red as it ages. These little buddies are usually picked when green, then ripen once harvested.

Rambutans can only be stored on the countertop for a day or two, so we recommend refrigerating them to keep them fresher for longer. Fresh rambutan fruits will keep fresh in the refrigerator for about two weeks when stored in a plastic bag or sealed container. Plus, they’re extra tasty when they’re cold!

When freezing rambutans, place whole fruits on a sheet pan with plenty of space between the fruits so they may freeze individually. Then, store them together in a freezer safe bag for up to three months. Don’t worry too much if their color isn’t as vibrant after freezing. The fruit inside will be protected and still taste delicious!

First, your FruitStand fam encourages you to clear the safety of any new fruits or veggies with your veterinarian before offering them your pooch. That said, rambutan flesh is widely believed to be okay for Sparky in small quantities. Just make sure your pet does not eat the seed or peel, as they are inedible and may be toxic.

If rambutan fruit or some of the reddish peel gets on clothing or linens, it can leave a stain. Spot treat the stain with a laundry soap or a stain stick that’s safe for that particular fabric and wash it right away.

In life, a little fruit must fall. If you drop a bit of rambutan on your clothing, table cloth or napkins, first treat the spot with a stain remover that’s safe for that particular fabric. Follow the directions on the product to prevent the spot from setting, and pop the item into the washer as soon as you can.

Rambutan, lychee and longan fruits are easy to confuse at first. After all, all three of these stone fruits have a leathery peel that’s waxy in texture and fits in the palm of your hand. Inside, their jellylike, translucent white fruit seems to pop right out of the peel. Plus, the plants from which they grow are all part of the Sapindaceae, or soapberry, botanical family.

However, these three fruits vary in size, color and flavor. Rambutan is the largest of the three fruits. The flamboyant, hot poker-red hairs with blushes of green are the rambutan’s signature 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.

Even the sweetest smelling fruit can go sour when it spoils. If rambutans go bad, you may smell something a little funky. Discard or compost old rambutans, then clean the area where they were stored with hot, soapy water.

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