The rambutan fruit may look prickly, but it’s actually a relative of the lychee, longan fruit, and mamoncillo, and is a great treat!
The Rambutan Tree
Rambutan fruit comes from the rambutan tree, a tropical tree that is native to Indonesia, as well as Southeast Asia.
The tree quickly spread across the world to Central America, Africa, and Asia. However, the widest variety of rambutan trees is found in Malaysia and India.
Between the 1200s and 1400s, the Indian Ocean trade was the main way these trees got around the world. They were introduced to East Africa around this time and quickly became popular.
By the 1800s, the Dutch brought the tree from their Southeast Asian colonies to South America. After this, the plants spread to Colombia, Costa Rica, Cuba, and Ecuador, among other Central American and Tropical American locations.
An attempt was made to grow the plant in the southeastern United States, but the species was unable to grow.
Types Of Rambutan
Some varieties of the fruit include:
- Lebak Buxus
- Aceh kuning
An Evergreen Tree With Spiky Fruits
This evergreen tree typically produces single-seeded berries that are usually between 3 and 6 centimeters long. The outside of these fruits has a distinct red, orange, or yellow skin with tiny spikes, or “spinterns”.
The inside of the fruit, however, is how the rambutan became popular. The flesh is a translucent pale pink or white color. The flavor is reminiscent of grapes and is generally both sweet and slightly acidic.
Known in some instances as the “hairy fruit”, rambutan can be eaten both raw and cooked. Once the fruit is peeled, both the fruit flesh and the seed can be eaten.
A Rambutan Pudding
If you’re looking for ways to use rambutan in your next dessert, check out this delicious rambutan pudding. The recipe calls for canned rambutan, red jelly, milk, and sugar.
Popularizing The Rambutan
In the last two decades, rambutan has become more popular and has been in world news a little more often. In fact, seeds that were distributed by the World Relief-European Union back in 2001 began to produce fruit by 2006, and since this period rambutan production has been on the rise.
The fruit has also been in the news recently as a potential superfood. The fruit is in fact packed with fiber and vitamin C, among other vitamins and minerals.
Medical Applications Of Rambutan
In addition to being a great snack, rambutan also has vitamin-heavy fruit that has several medical uses, as well as applications for beauty.
It’s fairly high in iron content and is often used to treat such conditions as anemia.
The fruit also has some benefits for the outside of the body as well. The water content of the fruit makes it great for treating and hydrating the skin.
Give The Hairy Fruit A Go
If you’ve never heard of rambutan, it’s certainly worth a try. This beloved fruit may just be making its way into popularity around the world, but its medical benefits and sweet taste make it great for easy – and healthy – snacking!