Rambutan (Nephelium lappaceum) is a fruit native to Southeast Asia. Rambutan got its name from the Indonesia word for hair because the golf-ball-sized fruit has a hairy red and green shell. Its unmistakable appearance is often compared to that of a sea urchin. The fruit is related to the lychee and longan fruits and has a similar appearance when peeled. Its translucent white flesh has a sweet yet creamy taste and contains a seed in its middle. Rambutan is very nutritious and may offer health benefits ranging from weight loss and better digestion to increased resistance to infections.
The following nutrition information is provided by the USDA for 1 cup (150g) of canned rambutan, packed in syrup, and drained.
Sugars: (not specified)
Rambutan is rich in fiber, vitamin C, and copper and contains smaller amounts of other nutrients. Its peel and seed are also full of nutrients but are generally considered inedible. Rambutan is a good source of soluble and insoluble fiber, which can prevent constipation and improve symptoms of certain gut disorders. Rambutan is low in calories, yet rich in water and fiber. This combination may prevent overeating and keep you feeling fuller for longer – both of which can lead to weight loss over time. Various compounds found in the rambutan flesh and peel may strengthen your immune system and help fight infection.
You ought to remove the skin before eating it. To do so, slice the middle of the outer skin with a knife, then squeeze from the opposite sides from the cut. The white fruit should pop free. The sweet, translucent flesh contains a large seed in the middle, which is generally considered inedible. The seed can either be removed with a knife or spat out after eating the flesh. The flesh can add a sweet flavor to a variety of recipes, ranging from salads and curries to puddings and ice creams. The flesh of the rambutan fruit is safe to eat. However, its peel and seeds may be toxic when eaten raw or in very large amounts.
The pericarp or fruit walls are used medicinally in Java as they are high in tannin and saponin. In Malaysia, the roots were used to treat fever and the leaves for poulticing. The bark was applied as an astringent for tongue diseases.