Longons (euphoria langana) are fruits that are related to the lychee and the rambutan.  They are native to South East Asia as well as Southern China.  Their flesh is juicy and translucent white in color.  Their flavor is reminiscent of honeydew and gardenia.  It is sometimes referred to as “pinyin” in Cantonese, meaning dragon’s eye.
Longons are approximately 1 inch in diameter.  They are round, and enclose in a thin brown, leathery shell which gets darker as it ages.  Longons grow in clusters. In the center of their flesh is a large black seed.  The flesh has a texture similar to a peeled grape.
Longons are in season from mid-July to August.  They grow on a majestic tree up to 130 feet high.
Dried longons look lick tawny raisins.  They have a deep smoky flavor.  Sometimes they are used in traditional Chinese medicine. In ancient Vietnamese culture, it is said the flesh of the fruit will relieve snake bite venom.
Longons contain vitamin C, potassium, magnesium, and copper.  They have high saponin content.  It is said to improve your immune system, a supposed antidepressant, can increase iron absorption in the body, and improve oral health.

© 2014 Chef Jennifer M. Denlinger       All rights reserved

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