Today, I’m thinking about lychees.
I’m sorry I don’t have many pictures to accompany this post, we ate before I sorted out the camera (some sort of complication to do with camera / card compatibility) – so I’ve hit the Creative Commons search (thanks due for the lovely lychee creative commons attribution sharealike pic to sugree which reminds me of hot climes http://www.flickr.com/photos/sugree/3748122647/)
His Nibs and I had our heads turned by a basket of lychees at the continental supermarket the other day. Thankfully its only a couple of kilos (about a quarter of the size of the basket of longons that I once bought on a whim driven by a fond memory of Thai longon orchards).
So a couple of days in of happy munching we were disappointed to find that the lychee shells were starting to blue fuzz (forgive me the inept nounifying). Now as lychee shells are almost like egg shells we decided that the fruit would be OK as long as we acted soon (did you notice the love food, hate waste logo on this site?). But what to do with nearly 2 kilos of lychees at short notice? Apart from fruit salad, lychees and icecream (I didn’t have either the inclination, time, freezer space or ingredients to make lychee icecream or sorbet) we were a bit stumped.
The first was a no-brainer; lychee, strawberry and banana smoothie. And delicious smoothies at that. Each contained about 10 lychees, about 4 strawberries and a half a banana. You get a pleasingly pink drink to sink.
The second use was thanks to a recipe that took a while to find. Lychee jam. I drew on a recipe for lychee and rosewater jam by Kavey (on Kavey Eats) and tweaked it a little to fit the available ingredients. My recipe for Lychee strawberry and elderflower jam was just enough for one jar. It consisted of 500g chopped fruit (mainly shelled lychees, but including about 10 strawberries) , a glug (I know, not very scientific, perhaps a couple of tbsp?) of real elderflower cordial, 300g preserving sugar and about a tbsp of lemon juice.
Cook up the ingredients until you have something with softish lychee lumps which looks like it will set (I don’t try the set test when I use preserving sugar by and large as the pectin is almost guarunteed to do the job). Place into a sterilised jam jar and put on a lid. The combination of the lychee and elderflower is quite floral and reminiscent of turkish delight – its very sweet so its not one that you’d want a lot of – but its an interesting change, and a good emergency use of half a kilo of lychees, should you find yourself in that sort of dilemna.