One of China’s cherished fruits for over 2,000 years, the small (I to 2 inches in diameter) litchi has a rough, bright red shell. The creamy white flesh is juicy, smooth and delicately sweet. It surrounds a single seed. Fresh litchis are available from June to about mid-July. Choose those with brightly colored skins free of blemishes. Shell, seed and eat plain or as part of a fruit salad or dessert. Canned and dried litchis are available year-round. When dried they’re often referred to as litchi nuts, because they resemble a nut, the shell turns a dark reddish brown and the flesh becomes brown and crisp. They’re eaten as a snack, much in the same way as nuts, or candy.
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