Rambutan (Nephelium Lappaceum) is a very interesting and amazing fruit with a sweet taste, nutrition, and benefits. This fruit is native to southeast Asia. Its appearance seems like a lychee with messy hairs on it.
A friend and family member of Lychee, longan, pulasan and mamoncillo is Rambutan. They all share the same family of Sapindaceae in the family of fruits, Soapberry. The trees of lychee, longan, and Rambutan can go as high as 80 feet.
Fun Fact: In the Vietnamese language, they call it chom chom which actually means “Messy hairs”.
The Rambutan fruit is widely cultivated in Southeast Asian areas like Myanmar, Sri Lanka, Malaysia, Indonesia, Thailand, Singapore, and the Philippines.
Rambutan trees can go up to heights of 80 feet. The trunk is strong and smooth widened from the bottom. The tree contains small flowers and leaflets sets of 4 to 11.
Rambutan means ‘hair’ in the Malay language and that’s where the name is derived from. Its numerous hair lumps refer to the origin of the fruit’s name.
Within this hairy protuberance covering is a rose-white tinted, juicy, translucent, sweet with a bit of sour taste flesh. It just has a single seed that is also more or less oblong or ovoid or flattened.
Taste of Rambutan fruit
The texture of Rambutan fruit seems like lychee but the taste differs as it is a more sweet and creamy texture and has a pinch of sourness in it. The Rambutan fruit has a mildly acidic flavor. If the fruit appears black instead of red or green it is over-ripe.
Fact: These over-ripe black rambutans are mostly consumed by fruit flies and fruit-consuming bats, birds, and flying foxes.
How to eat Rambutan Fruit?
The color of the fruit will tell you a lot about the right time to eat it. If the fruit has attained red color then this means it is ripe now and you can pick it for eating. If the fruit goes black and has black hairs it means the fruit is over-ripe to be consumed.
If you are done with picking the fruit that is ripe and juicy. Just wash it out first and clean it. It is super easy to consume a Rambutan fruit just peel of the outer hairy layer and take out the translucent juicy part and eat it but don’t swallow the seed.
I have seen three ways people use for peeling off the outer coat of Rambutan fruit. The first ones are those who just peel it off by hand using their fingers to tear the covering. Second, are those who just bite on the hairy coat of rambutan fruit without cringing. And third ones are those who are tidier. They use the knife to cut the coating from the center and take out the fruit just to eat it. (I belong to the third party)
Uses of Rambutan Fruit
- This fruit is typically eaten fresh.
- Rambutans are commonly eaten out of hand as they are delicious to resist or wait.
- You can also add it to cuisines like curries, sorbets, ice-creams, and fruit salads.
- Rambutans pureed serve well for smoothies and jams.
- To balance the heat of spiciness, rambutan fruit can be used in curries.
- Rambutan fruits are often consumed canned in raw form.
Comparison between lychee, Rambutans, and Longan fruits
The Rambutans share a similar nutritional profile with lychee and longans. The size of rambutans is the biggest of all among its family fruits. Its taste is a creamy and sweet taste.
The other two are smaller comparatively and differ in taste as well. The lychee is less sweet and often crispier in texture. While longans are under the brown covering that is least sweet and tart in flavor.
The nutritional profile and color of these three fruits are similar despite their appearances.
Many beneficial compounds, vitamins, and minerals are present in Rambutans fruit. A similar quantity of fiber that you find in apples, pears, or oranges can be found in the flesh of rambutans.
Fact: Around 1.3 to 2 grams of total fiber per 3.5 ounces (100 grams)
Antioxidant Vitamin C source
Your body cells are protected by antioxidants against cell damage. A great source of antioxidants, as your body needs to absorb dietary iron. And for this purpose, vitamin C is the antioxidant that is needed. Rambutans fruit is rich in vitamin C.
Fun Fact: 50% of your daily vitamin C need can be met by eating 5 to 6 rambutan fruits a day.
The cells of your bones, heart, and brain need Copper for proper growth and maintenance. As copper plays a vital and significant role in maintaining cell health. Rambutans fruit has a good amount of Copper in it that helps cells stay healthy and growing.
Potassium is a mineral that helps your kidney function properly, your heartbeat soundly and your muscles contract nicely. Rambutan fruit has a good amount of potassium or you can say rambutans are full of potassium.
A healthy DNA duplication and Cell division require folate as it is an essential vitamin aimed for this purpose. Rambutan fruit has it too.
Fact: Physicians recommend at least 400 micrograms intake of total folate daily to the women who desire to expect or conceive as it’s critical in reducing the chances of birth defects.
It has some other health benefits that involve:
Lower Cancer Risk
Free radicals are the waste products of the body and they need to be fought off. Antioxidants consumed help fight these free radicals and protect cells against damage. Rambutans are rich in Vitamin C and also in potent antioxidants that reduce the chances of developing cancer in many individuals. Read More.
Immune System Health
Rambutans helps in several ways to keep the immune system healthy. Vitamin C helps long term healthy circle concerning the immune system. The rambutans are linked with vitamin C converting it to the health of the immune system.
It may help fight infections. There are specific extracts that may help fight viruses. It stops viruses from replicating. It helps your body killing germs more frequently and easily.
A person consuming rambutans on daily basis becomes resilient. The rambutans contain dietary fibers that prevent constipation and preventing impactions. The good bacteria in your digestive system also feeds on insoluble fiber. These insoluble fibers help in handling more complex food in the intestine with more ease.
Vitamin B5 is an essential nutrient for our body. It helps our body convert food into energy. The only source of B5 consumption is food. It can not be created or produced by the body itself. Eating food like rambutans that are rich in B5 can help manage this conversion procedure. Daily intake of 5 mg of B5 is an essential diet portion.
Aid’s Weight Loss
Rambutan just like most of the fruit from its family helps in reducing weight. With the amount of fiber, it comprises and serves us with. It is interesting to note that it marks relatively low in calories. Just around 75 calories and 1.3 to 2 grams of fiber.
It is been reported by Cell and animal studies the peel extracts of rambutans fruit may increase insulin sensitivity and reduce the level of fasting blood sugar and resistance to insulin as well.
- The unripe fruit of rambutan is used as a cure for diarrhea or dysentery as it acts as a febrifuge or vermifuge and is a stomachic, astringent.
- Headaches can be alleviated by poulticing the leaves of the rambutan on the temples.
- Interestingly, the dried rind of this fruit is sold in drugstores of Malaya and is further used in local medicine.
- A remedy for thrush also comes from the same tree. The astringent bark decoction is a curing remedy attained from roots and used as a febrifuge. Read More.
Why not eat the covering and the seed?
In some cultures, People do often consume seeds by roasting them. Roasting reduces the effects of toxicity. But there is no reliable procedure available for roasting seeds in a way to get rid of the toxic nature.
Seeds contain compounds that are toxic and are not identified or classified as edible by anyone (food researcher). There are traces of alkaloids in the seed of rambutan fruit. Saponin and tannin are present in its testa. The fruit rind is also supposed to contain the same toxic tannin and saponin. The taste of the seed is recorded as bitter and narcotic.
Fact Check: The cures, remedies, and treatments are all linked with the compounds extracts of rambutan fruit. These extracts and compounds are present in peel and seed along with other toxicity. These are the parts that are inedible and most people do not eat. The studies that show its effectiveness in dealing with diabetes and infections in the immune system and heart diseases are conducted on animals. So a better suggestion would be to conduct research on humans and then generalize the results based on a factual basis.
The Rambutan fruit is an amazing fruit with a sweet creamy texture. It is similar in its interior to lychee and longan that are also its family members. The tastes and colors of peels vary accordingly. Its hairy outer coat makes it cringy to bite it to peel off the coating.
Besides its rich in nutrients and is very beneficial for health purposes. Its uses are extended to medicinal purposes as well. The peel and seed are considered inedible.
You can eat it fresh out of hand or just make a jam, smoothie, or any sorbet or ice cream out of it. Or maybe just add it as a sprinkle to your green fancy or a simple salad. The aim is to Enjoy!
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