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.


rupag said...

I was at the oriental grocery store yesterday and picked up a freshly flown in bunch of I LOVE LOVE LOVE Lychees...

When we lived in Malaysia and later in Singapore I ate them by the kilo's....but last summer I was in Kolkata (my maiden visit) and boy..oh..boy those lychees beat any I've ever eaten...our driver an older Bihari gentlemen and I placed bets that we would each find the largest juiciest lychee .....almost everyday we had a jury (MIL/FIL/HUBBY/MAID and others at breakfast) deciding yesterdays winner! I won some and lost some...but we scoured the city trying to beat each other and needless to say I shopped a bit too much, but all for a very good cause :))

gs said...

hello rupag
lychee is a fruit to die for. during my visits to singapore,i never tire of eating lychees. and when the fruit is off the market, i settle down with a lychee icecream. kolkata is fantastic city. the right time to visit kolkata is during dec to feb. what were your first impressions?

rupag said...

As a die-hard second generation Mumbaite......I totally fell hard and fast in love with Kolkata!!!!!!

I never thought any city in India could ever beat Mumbai and I have visited/stayed in MANY cities in India, until of course Kolkata happened. If I were to ever move back to would be a tough choice to decide whether to live in Mysore or Kolkata....well maybe not, I think Kolkata would be the place as I really can't see myself relocating to Mumbai anymore... :((

I've heard that during Durga pooja the whole city is in constant state of hurried activity or as some put it ~ total chaos, but the month I spent there was wonderful...and BTW did I mention the shopping??? I spent every last rupee I had and then did namaskaram to evey visiting mama/mami hoping they would give me a few more rupees that I already knew what to spend on ;))

Lulu said...

who knew that bihar had a redeeming factor?!!

gs said...

hello rupag
mumbai and kolkata are two cities with a lot of character and history.though i live in mumbai,my frequent visits to kolkata leaves me satisfied.well,i think it is making the best of both the worlds :)

gs said...

lulu,there are a few more like mangoes and chikkoos besides some other non-fruity is not a minimum state as all hope is not lost.