Thursday, July 10, 2008
i love lychee
lychee has been one of my favourite fruits from childhood. and like all good things in life, they don't come easily. lychee has a short season and if you have missed it you have to rest content with the tinned stuff. its crimsoncoloured skin hides a lovely translucent white juicy flesh which when you consume gives you a heavenly feeling. recently during my visit to kolkata i was lucky to find plenty of lychees on sale on the roads. i bought a big bagful.
lychees originated in india and are mainly grown in bihar,especially in muzzafarpur district along the river gandak,thanks to its agro-climatic condition. searing heat this year destroyed much of the crop. the burst of heat was immediately followed by rains. a double disaster for lychees.i came across an article which said that israelis have an innovative technology that can help increase litchi life span by keeping it fresh for atleast a month after they are plucked in full ripe condition. i hope our government buys the technology to boost the production and improve its availability. last year we exported about 100 tonnes to the middle east,canada,russia and the netherlands. this year we might not reach even a third of that.export requirements are stringent. lychees have to be delicious and must have a diameter of six centimeters to be exportable!.
lychees are oval in shape, have a brittle leathery skin with a light pink to deep red colour and a small seed. they are incredibly juicy,very aromatic and give forth a delightful burst of unbelieveable flavour. one can make a 101 things with lychees. sorbet,fruit salad,and even ice cream with ginger.also known as chinese cherry, lychees are very popular in south asian countries. according to some horticulturists,they resemble the muscat grape. in china, honey is harvested in large quantities from hives near lychee trees.lychee seeds are credited with analgesic qualities.
lychees are also considered to be a symbol of romance. a chinese poet had wrritten about lychees thus: all flavours here are joined, yet none is master; a hundred diverse tastes, blend in such harmony no man can say, that one outstrips the other; soverign of sweets, peerless, pre-eminent fruit, who dwellest apart in noble solitude.
i could not think of a better tribute to my favourite lychee.