Monday, April 6, 2009


Last Friday, while on another one of my research missions, I discovered yet another new, locally grown fruit that is available in the tropics. Longans look like rough, scaly brown grapes. I know this doesn't sound particularly appealing, but once you crack through the hard outer shell with your teeth, the fruit inside is not too sweet, refreshing and has the pleasant texture of a soft grape or a lychee. It tastes very similar to a honeydew melon. Because the trees like the hot temperatures and sandy soil we have here, longans are an ideal choice for growing in South Florida. Here is an excellent web site that explains how to plant, grow and take care of longan trees. If you don't have room to plant or if you don't want to wait several years for your longan to bear fruit, I bought mine at Robert Is Here Fruit Stand in Homestead, where they graciously let me taste a sample as I inwardly freaked out about the possibility of the fruit not being washed. To save face, I brushed it off with my hand and bit into the longan, trying not to think about accidentally consuming the tiny red spider I swear I saw crawling in the basket. Eating locally is forcing me to stop being so neurotic about food and look, I'm not dead and I found a new fruit to love!

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