I always enjoy giving our guests an element of surprise with a meal, it creates a fun memory. Imagine the surprised looks you would get if you served a rambutan to them.
Picture their face when they first glance at this golf-ball-sized fruit that is covered with spiky long hairs. It almost looks like a strange reddish tumbleweed!
When you pick out Rambutans, look for vivid red ones. Choose ones that are formed with both the shells and the hairy spikes looking fresh and dark red in color. Sometimes the ends of the spikes are still green, which is just fine. Rambutans don’t stay at their peak condition for very long, even when refrigerated. They should, therefore, be eaten during the peak period when they’re still firm and fresh. Even the ones that seem under-ripe should also be eaten right away. This is because once picked, rambutans do not ripen any further; they just rot. The shriveling of the hairy spikes is the first tell-tale sign of deterioration. Shortly after, the fruit loses its firmness, the shells become brownish and/or moldy in spots or all over, like mine are starting to do, so I better hurry up and make something with them!
Here is an idea to get your family and friends immersed in a new experience. Hand them each some Rambutans and a small knife to open their own.
Tell them to cut open a rambutan, use a small paring knife to make a shallow cut around the fruit like you would an avocado. With one hand, lift off the top half of the shell exposing the flesh. With the other hand, squeeze the globular aril-covered seed out of the other half shell. There is one seed in the center which they should discard as it is bitter.
Now have them taste one of the fruits. Tell them not to worry, it's like eating a green grape without the skin and just a bit sweeter. Then have everyone continue opening enough fruit that they each have 1/4 cup of fruit. After everyone is finished, head back to the kitchen and whip them all up a Rambutan Pineapple & Strawberry Smoothie.
Rambutan Pineapple and Strawberry Smoothie
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- 1/4 cup rambutan peeled & seeded
- 1/2 cup pineapple fresh
- 1/2 cup strawberries
- 1/4 cup vanilla ice-cream
- 1 cup ice crushed
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- Place all ingredients in a blender and process until smooth.
- Serve in a tall glass with the shell of a rambutan open 1/2 way on the edge of the glass
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