Mr. Sun Cho Lee got plenty lychee, but he no give to me. – Keola and Kapono Beamer (1975)
My neighbor Mrs. Lee had plenty lychee on her tree, and she did give to me. A lot.
Maybe she felt sorry for me because her big lychee tree blocks the view outside my window. Whatever the case, I scored. Sweet (literally)!
But what to do with an abundance of lychee during a bumper crop year?
Lychee is best eaten on its own – cold from the refrigerator. But if you have more than you can handle, freeze them to eat throughout summer. When you’re ready to eat, try this technique my coworker, Joann Kealiinohomoku, gave me to peel the rough, scaly skin: Pull the stem out and then peel from the top without losing any layers. Kealiinohomoku says her daughter leaves the bottom skin on to catch the juice and eats the fruit from top to bottom.
No matter how you eat – or peel – this delicious fruit, enjoy yours before lychee season ends this summer.
And if you’re freezing some for later, a cold bowl of lychee sorbet makes a refreshing treat all summer long.
Adapted from Kitchn
2 cups lychee (peeled, seeds removed, and chopped into little pieces)
½ cup sugar (or choose your favorite sugar substitute)
½ cup water
1 Tbsp. lemon juice
Ice cream maker (optional)
If using an ice cream maker, freeze the base for at least 24 hours before making sorbet.
Prepare simple syrup
Combine sugar and water in a small saucepan and simmer over medium-high heat, stirring gently a couple times. Simmer until sugar is dissolved, about five minutes. Remove from heat and cool to room temperature.
Combine fruit and about half of syrup in a bowl and blend using an immersion blender.
*If you don’t have an immersion blender, put the mixture in a blender or food processor in batches.
Blend until fruit is liquefied and no more chunks remain.
Pass through a strainer, using a spoon to force liquid out. Don’t force solids through strainer.
Add lemon juice. Taste to check balance of sweet and tart. Stir in more simple syrup if needed.
Cover sorbet and refrigerate until cold, at least one hour or overnight.
Pour sorbet into ice cream maker and churn until consistency is thick, about 15 minutes.
*If you’re not using an ice cream machine, put the mixture in a bowl and freeze, stirring every 15 minutes for 1 hour or until completely frozen.
Transfer sorbet to freezable container and cover. Freeze at least four hours or overnight until harden.