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  Longan in syrup

   

    The longan (Euphoria Longana Lamk), often considered the poorer cousin of the illustrious lychee, origin is disputed. It may be native to the west of Burma or alongside the lychee in China. In Cantonese as well as Vietnamese the name means “dragon eye” because of the fruit's resemblance to an eyeball when it is shelled (the black seed shows through the translucent flesh like a pupil/iris).. It is in these regions that it is planted on a large scale, but also in the rest of South-East Asia.

    Longan is a prolific bearer and can survive brief temperature drops to 25-30F. However, it grows best in a warm subtropical climate. Trees will fully bloom after about three months of cool winter temperatures during which period tree go dormant, and suffer when winters are too warm. Many longan varieties follow a fruiting cycle whereby a good crop year is followed by 1-2 or more bad years. Some commercial varieties have been developed that fruit on a more regular basis.

    Fruits vary in size, but are usually about the size of a very large grape. The seed is small, round and hard, and of an enamel-like, lacquered black. The fully ripened, freshly harvested thin yellow-brown shell is bark-like, thin, and firm, making the fruit easy to shell by squeezing the fruit out as if one is "cracking" a sunflower seed. When the shell has more moisture content and is more tender (due to either premature harvest, variety, weather conditions, or transport/storage conditions), the fruit becomes less

    Longan or lamyai is by a wide margin Thailand's greatest fresh fruit export, beating pineapple, durian, and pommelo in money value. Main fruit season: June - Aug.

    However compared with China, their planted area is a lot bigger. Only: the Chinese eat so much themselves.

    Cultivars and Related Species

    Although there are numerous longan cultivars in Southeast Asia, the cultivar diversity is lower in other regions.

    China: Guangdong, Guanxi, Sichuan, Fukien provinces:

    'Wu Yuan' ("black ball") has small, sour fruit used for canning. The tree is vigorous and seedlings are valued as rootstocks. 'Kao Yuan' is believed to be a slightly better type of this variety and is widely canned.

    'Tsao ho' ('Early Rice') is the earliest variety and a form called 'Ch'i chin tsao ho' precedes it by 2 weeks. In quality, both are inferior to 'Wu Yuan'.

    'She p' i' ('Snake skin') has the largest fruit, as big as a small lychee and slightly elongated. The skin is rough, the seed large, some of the juice is between the rind and the flesh, and the quality is low. Its only advantage is that it is very late in season.

    'Hua Kioh' ('Flower Skin'), slightly elongated, has thin, nearly tasteless flesh, some of the juice is between the rind and the flesh, and the overall quality is poor. It is seldom propagated vegetatively.

     

    Thailand:  

    Biew Kiew - with more consistent production in Hawaii than ‘Kohala’, but still requires cool winters to flower well. Good quality fruit, later than ‘Kohala’. 

    Diamond River (‘Phetsakon’) - A tropical longan which has more reliable production in tropical areas. The fruit is of medium size, good quality and early. 

     Sri Chompoo - with more consistent fruiting in Hawaii than ‘Kohala’, but still requires cool winters to flower well. Large, good quality fruit. 

    Other cultivars include ‘Egami’, ‘E Wai’, ‘Edo’, ‘Edau’ and ‘Tiger Eye’. 

    Dimocarpus longan var. malesianus, the mata kuching, is a subspecies of longan that is better adapted to tropical conditions and especially grown in Indonesia

    The fruit is less sweet as the lychee, has a distinctive musky flavor, juicy and succulent in superior agricultural varieties. Eaten fresh or used in East Asian soups, snacks, desserts, and sweet-and-sour foods, either fresh or dried, sometimes canned with syrup in supermarkets. The seeds of fresh longan can be boiled and eaten, with a distinctive nutty flavor.

    Dried longan are often used in Chinese cuisine and Chinese sweet dessert soups. In Chinese food therapy and herbal medicine, it is believed to have an effect on relaxation. In contrast with the fresh fruit, which is juicy and white, the flesh of dried longans is dark brown to almost black. In Chinese medicine the longan, much like the lychee, is considered a "warm" fruit.

    Packed in can size 20 oz. (w/ diameter x height : 307 x 409 mm.)
    Net weight : 565 gms
    Drained weight : 230 gms