If you've ever seen a rambutan before, you would think it looks like nothing you would ever want to eat. It looks kind of like a strawberry, but instead of seeds, there are wild hairs or feelers popping out of it. It honestly looks like an evil strawberry. But actually, rambutans are a very unique and interesting Asian fruit that has many benefits.
Rambutan fruits are found on trees that are actually called rambutan trees. These are normally found in the Indonesian region in southeast Asia but are starting to pop up in Australia and some tropical countries in Central America. These rambutan trees have clusters of these fruits in bunches from 10-20. The fruits are plum sized and have a wild looking exterior that wraps around a smooth and shiny white sphere. This looks almost like a skinless grape honestly. The word rambutan actually means hairy so it's pretty self-explanatory. If you've ever wondered about buying fresh rambutans, you can find them at most Asian markets in North America. You want to pick out the ones that have bright red skin. A little green, yellow, or orange is okay on them, but if they are blacker, than they aren't any good anymore. Rambutans have lots of interesting features but the first thing you need to figure out is how to eat these things.
Although the outer exterior of these fruits may look diabolical, the spines on the outside are actually quite harmless and can be peeled back rather easily. After pulling these aside, you can peel the red skin off of the rambutan with a fingernail just like you would with a regular orange. Everything else after that is good to go, just make sure you don't swallow the pit in the middle. A rambutan tastes like a smooth and fruity grape mixed with a flavor of strawberry and can be inserted into any tropical fruit salad. The discussion of rambutans vs lychees have often been discussed and the answer is that they are very capable of being substituted for each other.
Not only are rambutans tasty, but they also have some cool health benefits as well. Rambutans contain a similar amount of total fiber that you would find in apples, oranges, or pears. This fiber is half soluble and half insoluble which helps promote healthy digestion and may aid in weight loss. Rambutans are also rich in Vitamin C. Just 5 to 6 rambutans can make up 50% of your daily vitamin C needs. Rambutans also contain other helpful nutrients such as copper, potassium, iron, and zinc that give your cells a boost.
Besides eating rambutans straight up, there are some killer combinations that you can make with these exotic and mysterious fruits. If you want a cool and refreshing drink, this rambutan mojito is sure to do the trick. If you're in need of a nice summer dish, then this rambutan curry is a delicious dish to surprise your guests. If you're looking for a nice dessert with some wild flavors, then this cardamom ice cream with mango and rambutan crumbles sounds absolutely amazing.
If you can get over your fear and uncomfortableness regarding rambutans, then this fruit could be a unique addition to your cooking rotation. Mastering these evil strawberries will impress your friends and family and open the door for even more exotic foods for you to experiment.