Rambutan: The “Hairy” Fruit

September 21, 2009

This past weekend was the celebration of Rosh Hashanah, the Jewish new year. There are many food customs on this holiday, one of which is to enjoy a new fruit to remind us to appreciate the fruits of the earth and that we are here to enjoy them. Every year the search is on for a fruit that we have never had before — not such an easy task. This year, Andy and I found two new fruits to share with my family. The first is the Rambutan.

Rambutan: The "Hairy" Fruit

The rambutan is the fruit of a tropical tree that is native to Indonesia and Southeast Asia. The literal translation of rambutan is “hairy,” and as you can see, the fruit is covered in “hair.” When we first saw the rambutan we were a little skeptical, as it doesn’t look so appetizing. Luckily there was a gentleman at the supermarket who was buying lots of these little fruits and he explained to us what they are. The outside of the rambutan is inedible, and the inside edible flesh is translucent, with a sweet, mildly acidic flavor — very similar to the Lychee, another tropical fruit.

How to eat the rambutan:

  • Gently cut the rambutan rind in the middle (around the equator).
  • Using your fingers, pull the two parts of the rind apart. You will see the translucent white fruit in the middle.

Rambutan: The "Hairy" Fruit

  • Remove the rambutan from the rind by squeezing the rind until it pops out.
  • Enjoy the fleshy fruit, but be careful of the almond-like pit inside. According to some sources, the pit is mildly poisonous when raw.

Rambutan: The "Hairy" Fruit

As for the nutritional benefits of rambutan, I couldn’t find a lot of information on this, but it does contain a fair amount of vitamin C. And it’s fruit, so what’s not to enjoy!

Stay tuned for the second new fruit I tried this weekend — the Mamey.

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  1. I grew up eating rambutan and lychees – I actually like the rambutan better because they’re larger and you get more fruit out of it! 🙂

  2. Thanks for the information.
    Just bought these at a farmer’s market.
    Seller let us try them, but she didn’t speak English.
    How do you store them & how long will they last?

    Thank you