The GlobePreneur lifestyle can be very challenging. But we have the opportunity to savor exotic foods around the world. Our GlobePreneurs Love series brings you a ‘taste’ of some of the amazing experiences, fruits and cuisines from different corners of the globe.
I like to travel to Asia to enjoy the tropical fruits, while undertaking business and travels. What are your favorite tropical fruits? One of my favorite fruits is the rambutan (‘Nephelium Lappaceumis’), which is native to many countries in Asia, such as Malaysia and Indonesia. It has also been grown in Australia, the Americas and in places of warm weather.
Rambutan season generally occurs twice a year, usually from approximately June to August and December to January. In Vietnam, rambutans cost approximately USD$1.50 – 2.00/kg when in season.
They are also available in Asian markets in the U.S., Australia and other Western countries (for approximately USD$2-5/LB, depending on your location). We can also purchase them as canned fruits, which may be convenient, cost effective when they are not in season, especially in their non-native countries.
The Difference Rambutan, Lychee and Logan Fruits
The rambutan is similar to its ‘close relatives,’ the lychee and the longan fruit, especially with its transparent-whitish flesh and the seed in the middle. While they are similar, the outer cover or shell sets these three fruits apart.
The rambutan fruit can be easily identified because of its green and red spikes that resemble hair. In fact, the name “Rambutan” comes from the Malay word for “hair.” There are also difference in nutritional values, which will be discussed in later articles.
How to Eat Rambutans
Rambutan fruits are usually eaten raw, sometimes freshly picked from the tree. Simply remove the skin by lightly pinching the fruit until the peel breaks in the middle. Discard the peel and eat around the seed in the middle. You can also use a knife to separate the flesh from the seed.
Health Benefits of Rambutans
The rambutan fruit is a conglomeration of vitamins and minerals, all encased in a sweet and juicy little package.
Rambutan fruit benefits include:
- High Vitamin C Content – The fruit’s high Vitamin C content helps keep our immune systems healthy.
- High Fiber Content – The high fiber content of rambutan aids the digestive system in food metabolism, preventing constipation. It is also low in calories, which helps promote weight loss and restrain sudden hunger pains.
- Antiseptic Qualities – Rambutan is famous for its antiseptic properties that help the body fight off infections. The fruit also contains high amounts of antioxidants, which makes it both antimicrobial and anticarcinogenic.
- Alleviates Intestinal Parasites – According to traditional Chinese medicine, rambutan can help expel parasites in the gut because of its anti-fungal properties.
- Contains Phosphorus – Rambutan is a good source of phosphorus, which helps in bone formation and the maintenance of your bones and teeth.
- Contains Gallic Acid – The rambutan rind contains a high amount of gallic acid, which functions as a free radical scavenger. This compound helps prevent cancer and oxidative damage.
- Good Source of Copper – Even though the body needs only a limited amount of it in the system, copper works together with iron in keeping your blood vessels, immune system, bones and the production of red blood cells at peak condition.
- Good Source of Iron– This is useful for the maintenance and the production of red blood cells.
Uses of the Rambutan Fruit and Plant
Different parts of the rambutan tree/plant can be used in lots of ways. Here are some examples:
•Rambutan leaves can be used for basic hair care.
The leaves can be used to treat fever as well.
•Rambutan seeds can be used to uplift your skin.
The seeds can also be used to help patients with diabetes – it helps maintain your blood sugar at healthy levels.
What are your favorite fruits from Asia? Are you a rambutan fan?