Ranging in size from an olive to a small plum and spherical to ovoid in shape, Longans have a thin rough-to-prickly brown easy to remove shell called a pericarp covering its grayish-white translucent pulp. In the center of the juicy flesh is a large smooth jet-black seed with a white ovoid characteristic mark. Having a flesh reminiscent of a peeled grape, the flavor is wonderfully sweet and often described as a mysterious tasting blend of musk, spruce and gardenia.
Longan is available from winter through spring.
New Longan varieties offer a better ratio of pulp to pit and many are "freestone".
Longan is an excellent source of potassium and vitamin C, and is very, very low in sodium.
Poach Longan in light sugar syrup. Peel and pit; use the same way as lychees or pitted cherries in dessert soups, smoothies, fruit salads, cocktails and sweet-and-sour dishes. May be paired with other Asian fruits or mushrooms. To store, keep refrigerated. Freeze fruit in airtight container for longer storage. Thaw just before using but leave fruit slightly frozen for best texture.