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The Luscious Lychee: Why Eating This Tropical Fruit Is Getting Popular in the U.S.

FORT LAUDERDALE, Fla., June 16 /PRNewswire/ -- During lychee season in May and June, fresh lychees are shipped each year from South Florida to markets and grocery stores all over the U.S. where they are sold to eager tropical fruit enthusiasts.

Some South Florida lychee growers, like Bill Mee & Krystal Folino of LycheesOnline.com, use the Internet to promote the growing awareness of this exotic tropical fruit and to offer their fresh fruit directly to the public, both retail and wholesale.

"Originally from South China, lychees are an important tropical fruit outside of the US," says Bill Mee. "I have been growing lychee trees for over 14 years and I have seen the interest inside the U.S. increase steadily every year."

Versatile and easy to cook with, lychees are good as snacks and in desserts, main dishes, side dishes and beverages. The flesh is similar in consistency to a grape, but larger and sweeter. One cup of fresh lychee fruit has only 125 calories, more of the antioxidant Vitamin C than oranges or lemons, about as much dietary fiber as an apple with the skin and is loaded with potassium.

You can tell that a lychee is ripe by the color and skin texture. The most popular variety in the U.S. is the Brewster which, when ripe, is dark pink to red-purple. The bumps on the skin flatten out and get smooth from the swelling with juice and fruit sugars. A typical Brewster lychee is rounded heart-shaped and about 1 1/2 inches in diameter.

"The most popular way to eat fresh lychees is to chill them and eat them by peeling the skin off and eating the sweet, juicy flesh from around the seed," says Folino. "To make your fresh lychees last beyond the short summer season, you can freeze lychees, dry lychees, or make lychee jam, or lychee ice cream."

Lychees are popular in drinks

Lychee Martinis are a hot new trend right now in bars and restaurants. You just add lychee juice or liqueur and garnish with a lychee instead of an onion or an olive.

Lychee wine can be made by either traditional fermentation or by soaking the fresh fruit in wine for a few months for flavored wine.

Dozens of lychee food and drink recipes can be found at http://www.lycheesonline.com/recipes.cfm

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