We grow two different varieties of longan (Dimocarpus longan), the Cambodian “Mien” variety and the Thai “Yu Huot” variety.
Though the fruits have a sweet taste and large size, we were advised by retailers that the seed was bigger than their customers preferred. Consequently, we planted the “Yu Hout” variety from Thailand due to their sweet meat with a small-sized seed. The trees grow exceptionally well in our well-drained soil and pH levels.
We have also found success with the growth of our longan due to our company made organic fertilizers, flowering, and fruiting formulas. We have been fortunate that our longan trees have fruited prior to our rambutan trees, but are aware of the often alternate years of fruit bounty known in the industry.
We have been aggressive in our spacing of trees even though longan is known to live many years and grow to 6 meters tall with a canopy radius of 6 meters.
Not just for eating
Native to China and India, commercial longan (Dimocarpus longan Lour) is an economically important crop in a number of countries of the Asia-Pacific Region.
The Chinese named it “Dragon’s eye” because of its white meat and black seed in the middle. The Longan and its close relative the lychee (Litchi chinensis), are similar in taste and contain Vitamins C and Vitamin A as well as phosphorus and calcium.
There are claims among some people in China and Thailand that the taste of longan equals or is superior to that of lychee. Many Asian countries eat longan fresh and use it for Buddhist prayer days.
Longan can be frozen, canned, or dried. Longan fruit can be frozen in its skin in airtight containers. Upon thawing, the fruit can be used in a similar manner as freshly picked fruit without any loss of quality.
The fruit can be canned in its own juice with no added sugar because the longan flesh contains a high level of soluble solids. For canning, cultivars with large fruit and small seed are preferably used. Canned longan retain their individual flavor better than lychee.
Try this recipe
½ Cup tapioca pearl
1.5 Cups fresh coconut milk
1/3 Cup sugar
¼ Teaspoon salt
1 Teaspoon pure vanilla extract
1 lb Fresh longan, peeled and seeded (approx 1 Cup longan pulp)
1 Tablespoon toasted sesame seeds
Soak tapioca pearls in hot water for 2 hours, rinse under cold water and drain.
Pour coconut milk into a small pot; add tapioca pearls, sugar, salt and vanilla extract; stir and simmer until tapioca is tender. Add longan pulp, stir well, and remove the pudding from the heat. Serve warm or chilled.