The tropical fruit Rambutan, Nephelium lappaceum, is one of Asia’s best known fruits. The Rambutan fruit looks slightly strange at first, encased in a rather tough reddish skin covered with bristly spines but the Rambutan flesh is succulent and sweet. Widely grown throughout S.E.Asia, Rambutan trees can grow to a height of almost 20 meters and can be all male, all female of hermaphroditic.

Closely related to the Lychee and the Longan and Longkong, Rambutan trees bear fruit twice a year but the main season for Rambutan is May to September. Thailand is the largest commercial producer of Rambutans.

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Rambutan fruit is round or slightly oval and once the skin is removed, the translucent fruit has a sweet/sour flavour. Mature fruits have dark red skin with either red hairs or red hairs with green tips, depending on the variety. Unripe fruits have a pinkish/greenish/yellowish skin. Each fruit has a single shiny brown seed inside.

Rambutan fruits should be left to ripen on the trees as they do not keep a long time once picked. If possible, try to buy Rambutans that are still attached to small branches as they will keep a little longer. Rambutans are best eaten fresh but can also be made into jam. Canned Rambutans have also become widely available.

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Other Tropical Fruit

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