What the Heck is a… Longan

Description: The lychee’s lesser-known cousin, the longan, is a tropical fruit native to Southern Asia that grows on trees 20 to 23 feet tall. They’re spherical in form, with a fragile, smooth, cream-brown skin covering a translucent ball of white flesh that looks like a teardrop. 

Flavor Profile: Longans are very subtly flavored, similar to a grape. They’re sweet, with a gentle aftertaste that’s vaguely reminiscent of caramel. They are also quite juicy and have a pleasant chewy consistency. 

Super-Longan!: A member of those nutrient-rich foods known as superfoods, longans contain iron, magnesium, phosphorus, potassium, vitamins A and C, and antioxidant gallic acid. 

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Here There Be Dragons: Longan is nicknamed the dragon-eye fruit—not because the Khaleesi on Game of Thrones favors them but instead because it resembles an eyeball in that its black seed shows through the fruit’s translucent flesh like a pupil. 

Purported Medicinal Properties: In traditional Chinese medicine, longans are used to improve eye function, relieve stress and give skin a glow. They are also called euphoria fruit, used in traditional Chinese medicine tonics for sexual health.