Sep 2007

Vegetation Profile: Rambutan


The rambutan is a round to oval drupe 3-6 cm (rarely to 8 cm) long and 3-4 cm broad, borne in a loose pendant cluster of 10-20 together. The leathery skin is reddish (rarely orange or yellow), and covered with fleshy pliable spines, hence the name rambutan, derived from the Malay word rambut which means hairs. The fruit flesh is translucent, whitish or very pale pink, with a sweet, mildly acidic flavor. The single seed is glossy brown, 2-3 cm long, with a white basal scar.

I have somewhat of a love/hate relationship with chom chom—I love them because they’re plump, sweet, and juicy, but I hate them because they’re dirty and make my nails icky. While I generally prefer fresh fruits to canned ones, in the case of chom chom, canned may be superior. I hate debris under my fingernails.

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