Xiamen's Lychee and Longan fruit seasons

Updated: 08 Aug 2008
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Immediately followed by lychee harvesting season, It is longan fruit season again in Xiamen. You can find street vendors carting them around pushing for their freshly harvested merchandize. Or in supermarkets, fruits & veggies stores, you can find abundant of longan for sale.



Longan fruits are native to Southern China, Tongan of Xiamen is the major longan growing areas in Fujian, its varieties are arguably the best.


The market price of the fruit is around 9rmb per kilo in Xiamen's general market. The price however depends on the grade and if it is beginning of the season, peak season or ending season.

Longans is harvested during mid and late summer and lychees are harvested during early summer. Maturity is indicated through a change in colour. However, this colour change differs. The best practical test is to taste the fruit, which should be quite sweet.

In Xiamen, Longan is the specialty of Tongan. It is famous for its big size, thin husk, thick flesh, rich juice and light sweetness. It was once tribute of feudalism imperials and now is the best fruit purchased by the locals, tourists at home and abroad.


Tongan is one of the six Longan producing areas in China. It now has hundreds kinds of Longan in about 30,000,000 square meters planting area and exports these overseas.


Longan and Lychee



 Lychee is a close relative of longan, it is grown also in the vacinity of Xiamen, around Zhangzhou and other parts of Fujian


The longan's (Euphoria longan) may be native to the west of Burma or alongside the lychee in China. Its origin is disputed. It is in these regions that it is planted on a large scale. Longan is a prolific bearer and thrives in monsoonal regions with pronounced rainy and dry seasons.


The lychee (Litchi chinensis) and longan are some of the finest fruit from South East Asia and Southern China. Although closely related, the ecological requirements of the fruit differ. The lychee extensively grown in the sub-tropical south east, where it has been cultivated for well over a thousand years. The fruit originated either there, or in the ancient kingdom of Annam which is now central Vietnam.


Commercially, there is pressure to harvest prematurely to obtain higher prices or to minimise losses to wildlife. So, before selecting your purchase, sample at least one to find out if they are fully ripe.


Fruit is harvested by cutting off the entire panicle. Longans are best marketed on the fruitstalk, or they should at least retain a short piece of stem. Plucking the fruit during harvest results in skin tears and fruit left on the panicle keeps better.


Longan and lychee fresh are very similar in a can, though lychee can be much bigger

Longan and lychee are premier dessert fruit and are usually eaten fresh. Although longan has a sweet and rich flavour, some varieties are musky, and the taste must be acquired. But ultimately many people prefer longans over lychee.


Canned longans and lychees are readily available. The longan does not require the addition of sugar and retains flavour better than lychee.

 Longan and lychee fresh are very similar in a can, though lychee can be much bigger.


Longan is enveloped in a smooth, beige-brown, leathery skin. The fruits may be kept at room temperatures for only two or three days. Nonetheless the fruit is highly perishable unless special precautions are taken, such as reducing fruit temperature immediately after harvest. They keep better under refrigeration, and when wrapped in plastic. They may also be frozen, but both texture and taste suffer with the length of storage, especially if the freezer temperature is minimal. After thawing, fruit may be used as if they were fresh.



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