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Lychees are tall evergreen trees that produce small, sweet edible fruits that are encased in a pink-red outer shell. Lychee was first cultivated in China around a thousand years ago, but there are unofficial records of the fruit in imperial records that date back to almost 2000 BC. Lychees are usually canned in a light sweet syrup to preserve them.

  • Kingdom: Plantae
  • Order: Sapindales
  • Family: Sapindaceae
  • Genus: Litchi
  • Species: L. chinensis
  • Binomial name: Litchi chinesis

Lychee Trivia

  • Lychee is also known as “Chinese Strawberry” as it originates from China and resembles a strawberry in color
  • Lychees are perennial plants that can survive for more than 1,000 years in optimal conditions
  • Lychees are natural diuretics
  • Lychee is also known as “Chinese Strawberry” as it originates from China and resembles a strawberry in color
  • Lychees are perennial plants that can survive for more than 1,000 years in optimal conditions
  • Lychees are natural diuretics

Lychee Buying Guide

When buying fresh lychees, size is essential. Choose fruits that are more than one inch in diameter. You can check for ripeness by pressing on the skin with your thumb. It should be firm with a little bit of give to it. If it’s too soft, then that piece is overripe.

Another way to check the lychee is to smell it. The sweet smell of the fruit should be present on the shell. If it has no scent, then it’s possibly underripe. If it smells overripe, then it probably is.

Lychees stop ripening after they’re picked, so if you pick unripe lychees, there’s nothing you can do.

Lychee Production & Farming in Texas

Unless you have a greenhouse, it’s almost impossible to get the lychee to bear fruit outside of Southern Texas. Some have managed to have fully grown trees, but the climate doesn’t lend itself to lychee flowering and fruiting.

In Southern Texas, the Brewster and Maurituis variants have been found to thrive and bear fruits.

Lychee production in the United States has been limited so far to South Florida, Southern California, Hawaii, and Southern Texas.


Recent lychee imports from China have shown that over 60% of the tested lychee samples have pesticide residue found on their skins. If you’re lucky enough to have an organic lychee grower in your area, then take advantage of it.


The lychee thrives in sandy or loam soil with a pH level of 5.0-5.5. The lychee needs full sun to develop properly. It can be grown in USDA hardiness zones 10-11.

To keep your lychee plant healthy, don’t allow it to dry out and frequently water it.


Lychees are hand-picked from the trees to ensure that only the ripe ones are picked since they stop ripening after they’re picked from the tree. They are then sent to a packing house to be sorted.

The lychees are sorted by grade. The target market determines the grades, but it is usually done through size and color, with the bigger and more vibrant colored lychees to be sent to the higher tier market.

The lychees are then stored at temperatures between 5C to 10C to preserve their freshness during transport.

Enjoying Lychees

The way to enjoy lychee is pretty simple. Just peel and enjoy the fruit. Take care to remove the pit first before eating as it is said to be mildly poisonous.


Lychees can be stored in the refrigerator for up to a week with no problems. If you want to keep your lychee longer, you can put them in a freezer-safe container and freeze them for up to a year. It can be frozen skin on or skin off. We recommend skin on as not to get freezer burns on the flesh of the lychee.


Lychees are usually enjoyed raw or added to desserts. Lychee is also a popular addition to jasmine tea, where it complements the floral fragrance of the drink quite nicely. Fresh lychee can also be added to fresh salads to give it an extra burst of flavor.

In savory dishes, lychees can be made into glazes or sauces to give it a contrasting taste.


Lychee, a cousin of the longan

  • Carbs
    • The carbs in 100g of lychee are comparable to the same amount of table grapes.
    • Lychees have a glycemic load of 7.6, so this means that this is safe for people with diabetes to consume.
  • Fiber
    • Just like its cousin, the longan, lychees are pretty low when it comes to dietary fiber content.
  • Vitamins and minerals:
    • Lychees are high in Vitamin C as well as copper and magnesium.
      • Vitamin C is a potent antioxidant that reduces inflammation in the body and has been proven to boost the immune system.
    • Lychee is rich in polyphenols, which helps your body burns calories faster. This means that it can help you lose weight.




  • Serving Size: 1 Serving
  • Calories: 125 6%
  • Carbs: 31g 10%
  • Sugar: 29g
  • Fiber: 2.5g 10%
  • Protein: 1.6g 3%
  • Fat: 0.8g 1%
  • Saturated Fat: 0.2g 1%
  • Trans Fat 0g 0%
  • Cholesterol 0mg 0%
  • Sodium 1.9mg 0%
  • Vitamin C 136mg 226%
  • Vitamin A 0IU 0%
  • Calcium 9.5mg 1%
  • Iron 0.6mg 3%
  • Potassium 325mg 9%
  • Vitamin E 0.1mg 1%
  • Vitamin K 0.8mcg 1%
  • Vitamin B6 0.2mg 10%
  • Folate 26.6mcg 7%
  • Magnesium 19mg 5%
  • Phosphorus 58.9mg 6%
  • Manganese 0.1mg 5%
  • Copper 0.3mg 14%
  • Zinc 0.1mg 1%

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