Rambutan ~ Exotic Fruit of Southeast Asia


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The rambutan is a fruit considered exotic to people outside of its native range. To people of Malaysia, Thailand, the Phillippines, Vietnam, Borneo, and other countries of this region, the rambutan is a relatively common fruit the same way an apple is common to many people in cooler climates.

The word "rambut" in the fruit name 'rambutan' is Malay for 'hairy,' and refers to the spiky golf-ball-sized fruit’s hairy red and green shell.

It grows in a tree that can reach up to 80 feet in height and thrives best in tropical climates, such as in Malaysia and Indonesia.

The fruit is related to the lychee (lie chee)  fruit and has a similar appearance when peeled. Its translucent white flesh has a sweet, juicy yet creamy taste and contains a seed in its middle.

The rambutan fruit is rich in many vitamins, minerals and beneficial plant compounds. Rambutan is carb rich fruit that provides manganese, copper, vitamin C, magnesium, and potassium. Like most fruits and vegetables, it is virtually free of fat and sodium. Only 7 calories each! 

Its flesh provides around 1.3–2 grams of total fiber per 3.5 ounces which is abut 4 fruit. ~ similar to what you would find in the same quantity of apples, oranges or pears. Rambutan is a good source of soluble and insoluble fiber, which can prevent constipation and improve symptoms of certain gut disorders.

It’s also rich in vitamin C, a nutrient that helps your body absorb dietary iron more easily. This vitamin also acts as an antioxidant, protecting your body’s cells against damage. Eating 5–6 rambutan fruit will meet 50% of your daily vitamin C needs.

To remove the skin, slice the middle of the outer skin with a knife, squeeze from the opposite sides from the cut. The white fruit should pop free. Personally, I just peel with my fingers!

Where to find? I have been getting mine the past few weeks at Trader Joes! 

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