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Lychees -- how to pick the easy peeling ones [split from Manhattan]

(Note: This thread was split from the Manhattan board at: http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/7863... -- The Chowhound Team)

Somewhat off topic but I've been noticing that for lychees, the ones where the skins/shells peel right off and don't stick are much sweeter. Do you know of any way, just by looking, of determining which ones have skins that'll separate easily?

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    1. I've noticed the same thing. I like to think I can tell by sort of picking them up and seeing if the skin feels a bit loose when I lightly squeeze them, but my success rate isn't actually all that high. I'm not even sure if that's just a sign of ripeness or if it's more like the different between cling and freestone peaches.

      1. Thinking about it, I don't really recall any that are that resistant to peeling once you get through (bite through in my case) the outer shell.

        1. My experience has been that the fresher they are, the easier they peel.

            1. I always try to purchase ones with the strong red color, and not ones that have yellow or green in them. Works for me..

              1 Reply
              1. re: fourunder

                I think I generally went for the ones that were more red but will try to get only the ones with the strongest red color and see if that works.

              2. We had fresh lychee yesterday and the Chinese woman who brought them said the trick was to snap the stem off sideways and it would be no problem to peel. That's what I did and it came off easily, the woman next to me did it another way and hers looked like a badly peeled HB egg.

                2 Replies
                1. re: escondido123

                  It's not the difficulty in peeling.They all peel pretty easily. It's that the sweeter ones have the inner skins that don't cling as much. If you buy 3-4 lbs (I did this with approximately 9 lbs over several purchases), peel em, and separate them into two piles, one where the inner skins don't cling as much to the fruit and one where it does cling a bit more, the ones in the first pile (where the skins don't really cling) are almost all going to be sweeter than the ones in the second pile. I just wanted to figure out if there was a way of doing the sorting prior to buying them. I forgot to mention I've been doing this with the type that has the smaller more elongated pit.

                  1. re: SomeRandomIdiot

                    That makes me assume the ones that peel easier are the truly ripe ones, so since you can't see which ones peel easier maybe the trick is to find out what signifies a ripe lychee.