There are thousands of fruit varieties that are grown all over the world. Therefore, it is understandable that you may need clarification on different varieties, especially tropical fruits.
Most are familiar with a lot of tropical fruits but there are some which just don’t ring the bell. If you are here because that’s how you feel about mangosteen and lychee, you are at the right place.
Mangosteens and lychees have pretty much the same culinary uses. They can be used interchangeably in most recipes. However, they both have very unique flavors. Therefore, it is difficult to say which one is better than the other. I personally cannot seem to decide which one I like better.
Let us start with the basics.
What is Mangosteen?
Mangosteen is a small purple fruit that has a tropical flavor and edible seeds. Its size is the same as that of a regular-sized orange.
It is also known as Mongosteen.
What is Lychee?
Lychee is a small juicy fruit that looks like a strawberry on the outside.
It has bumpy red skin that you can easily peel.
- Mangosteens are sweet and juicy. They have a tropical flavor that is in my opinion a combination of pineapple, peach, strawberry, and acacha flavors. Additionally, they have a fruity aroma.
- Lychees are also sweet and juicy. The flavor is very similar to that of pears and grapes. I actually love it because of the grape-like taste.
The origin of lychee can be traced back to China and the origin of mangosteen can be traced back to Asia.
Currently, the nations that harvest mangosteen include; Philippines, Malaysia, Thailand, and Indonesia. Lychees are grown and harvested in China, Southeast Asia, and India.
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How to use lychee and Mangosteen
Lychee has tough outer skin. Therefore, you need to peel it before use. Peel lychee the same way you peel grapes. Once peeled, the outer skin will reveal a white interior pulp.
You can use a serrated knife to peel lychee. However, if it is ripe, all you have to do is tear off the end of the skin and push the fruit out.
The fruit usually has a large seed that is not edible. Remove and discard it before using the fruit.
On the other hand, mangosteen should also be peeled before use. The skin will reveal white internal flesh that you can pull apart the same way you do with your oranges.
Unlike lychees, mangosteens seeds are edible. They have a very soft texture, and you will barely notice them when enjoying the fruit.
What to do with lychees and mangosteens
Mangosteens and lychees are basically used the same way. You can eat them by themselves or add them to fruit salads.
If you want a classic dessert, stuff them with cottage cheese and serve it as a salad with salad dressing. Add some nuts or mayonnaise for an amazing flavor.
You can use mangosteens and lychees in cooking. Since both of them are sweet, they are a perfect addition to muffins, puddings, smoothies, ice cream, and sorbets.
When you use these fruits to garnish your desserts, they look mouthwatering and taste even better.
The good thing with mangosteens and lychees is that they both hold up their texture when used in cooking.
Additionally, you can use them in both sweet and savory dishes. I normally add a handful of lychees to salty black bean sauce to balance out the flavor.
Other interesting lychee uses
Throughout history, people have used lychees for medicinal purposes. Since it has high dietary fiber content, it helps maintain weight. Additionally, it is packed with vitamin C which protects the body from infections including colds.
People also use the skin of the lychee to make tea which fights off diarrhea and treats smallpox. In India, lychee seeds are ground and used to treat various stomach ailments. The bark of the lychee tree is used to treat sore throats as well.
There is scientific evidence that lychee plays a role in treating abdominal issues, coughs, swollen glands, and tumors. Some doctors recommend using lychees in instances when the testes are inflamed
Despite this information, you should consult with your doctor before using it to treat any medical condition.
Can you substitute lychees with mangosteens or vice versa?
The simple answer is yes.
You can use lychees and mangosteens interchangeably. The flavor profiles are slightly different, but they will not have a major effect on your dish.
So if you ever run out of lychee, use mangosteen and vice versa.
In case you do not have either in stock, you can use other substitutes. Rambutans, longans, and grapes will substitute lychees and mangosteens perfectly in most recipes.
How to store mangosteens and lychees
Mangosteens can be left on the kitchen counter. They will stay fresh for approximately 3 days. If you want them to last longer than three days, store them in a cool and dry place.
The pantry would be an ideal place to store them. When stored this way, they will last for up to two weeks. I don’t recommend freezing or refrigerating mangosteens for the simple reason that they will lose their texture and become unappealing.
On the other hand, you can store lychees inside the refrigerator. Simply wrap them in a plastic bag and place the bag inside the refrigerator. Stored this way, lychees will stay fresh for approximately 7 days.
You can store them at room temperature as well but be warned that they will start going bad after the third day.
If you want lychees to last for much longer, freeze them. Do not peel the skin before freezing, just freeze them as they are. They will stay fresh for approximately 6 months.
Both lychees and mangosteens are tropical fruits that you can enjoy by themselves or use in your recipes. Lychees are very popular in Western countries. You can either buy them fresh or canned.
I believe that mangosteens are much easier to deal with since they are bigger in size.
Lychees are smaller in size so you may find the peeling process a bit cumbersome. Other than that, they are both amazing tropical fruits that taste amazing.