Spanish limes/Chinese longan

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Longans and Spanish limes

“If you always do what you always did, you will always get what you always got!”-Mom

This is just one of many mantras I heard from my wonderful mother growing up. I love trying new things anyway but sometimes I need a little extra push! When I’m craving crisp grapes, sweet cherries, juicy pineapple, or the always versatile banana I must remember there’s more to this world! This trip to the market I bring back Spanish limes and longan fruit.
  Native to the Caribbean, Spanish limes go by many names. Mamoncillo, quenepas, genip, and limoncillo are the most common. This small round citrus fruit is about the size of an olive with a thin hard shell. Inside the shell is a large seed with a pulpy sweet membrane surrounding. The flesh is orange to salmon in color. Since the seed takes most of the mass of a Spanish lime they are sucked until the pulp is gone. The fruit can be sweet or sour. Despite the name the taste is not like lime to me and more like a tangerine or the Tang drink mix.

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Spanish lime

  It’s common to enjoy these fruits with a sprinkle of chili powder, salt, and lime juice. The seeds can be roasted and salted for a snack. Spanish limes have great citrus flavor and help curb appetite but I think a little too much work to prepare any dishes from it. Be careful eating these despite the light color of the fruit it stains a dark brown.

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Longan fruit or dragon’s eye fruit is native to southern China and I’m surprised to actually find them fresh and not canned or dried. Nicknamed the dragons eye for the translucent flesh and dark seed with white spot resembling an iris. The longan shell is reddish brown and thin with a smooth bark like skin. The fruit is shelled by squeezing like a sunflower. Each 100-gram serving contains just 60 calories but with 3 ounces of water, so they help you keep thin and hydrated throughout the day . The longan has a crisp, juicy texture like a firm ripe white grape but a mild sweetness something like a cantaloupe.
Traditional Chinese medicine holds that longan fruit is a great aphrodisiac, relaxant, and skin tonic as well. The fruit is high in iron making it great for blood production. They give a relaxing effect to the nerves and are shown to enhance the nerve function, lower irritability and reduce fatigue. The benefits are a plus but you can eat these like crazy just because too! Definitely a new favorite of mine, I encourage you all to give the longan a taste test whenever you come across these little market gems!
Let me know what you think! If you like this please “like” it! – FC

 

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