Ingredient Name: Longan (Dried)
Traditional Chinese Name: 龍眼; (lóngyǎn)
What is this?
- A small, round fruit found in Southern China and Southeast Asia
- The longan (“dragon eyes”) is so named because the fruit resemblesan eyeball when it is shelled (the black seed shows through the translucent flesh like pupil). The seed is small, round and hard
- For drying, the fruits are first heated to shrink the flesh and facilitate peeling of the rind. Then the seeds are removed and the flesh dried over a slow fire
- The longan is a close relative of the lychee
- In Chinese medicine, the longan, much like the lychee, is considered a “warm”or “heaty” fruit
- Dried longan can keep in a sealed jar at room temperature for several months
- It can also be frozen to extend its shelf life
How do I prepare it?
- Rinse well before use
- Dried longan may also be soaked in water to soften before usage. Using hot water will speed up the softening process
- Dried longan are great for sweetening Chinese soups and in Chinese desserts
Where can I buy this?
- You can purchase dried longan in most Asian supermarkets
- Chinese pharmaceuticals will definitely carry dried longan
- Fresh longans
What is the cost?
- Dried longan are relatively inexpensive
- Dried longan is considered to help with relaxation and insomnia
- Many Chinese believe longans can be used as a blood tonic, to nurture the heart and to add luster and beauty to the skin. Hence, it is a popular ingredient used in postpartum confinement food and soups
- Some also believe the longan to be an aphrodisiac
- The longan is considered to be a heaty fruit and needs to be eaten in moderation