The Best Way To Prepare And Eat Rambutan

You can purchase rambutans canned and in syrup — some might even come stuffed with pineapple.  Having them on hand and ready to eat might make them considerably less finicky to enjoy, but if you have access to the fresh fruit itself, you'll find that underneath its rather prickly-looking exterior, rambutan has a sweet, juicy heart of gold. 

The name of this red, hairy, golf ball-sized fruit comes from the Malay word for"hairy" — or "rambut" — and it can be found in Southeast Asia's tropical countries, including Thailand, Malaysia, Vietnam, Indonesia, and the Philippines, as well as in Central and Latin America. The rambutan tree is happiest when it is in temperatures between 71 to 86 degrees F, and it's said that a few days in colder temperatures of below 50 degrees F will end with the demise of this evergreen plant.

There are said to be more than 200 different varieties of rambutan available, which explains why these fruits can differ slightly in both taste and color. Some fruits have skins that are bright crimson, while others have more of an orange tinge. Regardless of the color of their skins, rambutans all have thick, creamy white flesh that is both juicy and sweet, even as some varietals may be a bit more tart.

Ways to consume rambutan

Rambutans are related to lychees and longans, which should give you a hint as to how to consume them when they're fresh. To tackle a rambutan, start by cutting into its thick flesh — which is easy to do, because despite its rather intimidating-looking texture, this fruit isn't actually prickly. The cut should be made deep enough to go through the fruit's skin, making it easier to squeeze and allowing its juicy, edible interior can come through. If you want to remove the pit before eating your rambutan, you can do this by making a cut into the flesh and giving it another gentle squeeze. Unfortunately, there is no way of knowing whether the pit is attached to the fruit's flesh or if it is a freestone — as such, there is no guarantee that the seed can be so easily removed. 

But that shouldn't keep you from enjoying the fruit, because you can cut the flesh away from the pit anyway. Once you've done that, rambutan can be enjoyed as is, tossed in a fruit salad, or mixed in with other fruit to make a smoothie. This versatile fruit can also be turned into jam or iced sherbet, and if you're looking to consume something with an edge, it can be blended, mashed, or muddled and then made into a tropical alcoholic cocktail. 

Fresh or canned rambutan may be purchased online.