Rambutan originates from Malaysia/Indonesia and Thailand. Over years the cultivation of this plant has spread to neighbouring countries. Today it is a very popular fruit in all of South East Asia where cultivation now is done in small plantations. In Thailand it is common for house owners to have a beautiful rambutan tree in their garden. Rambutan is today also exported to Europe from Madagascar and Colombia.
Rambutan is about the size of a big Plum. It is easy to recognize the Rambutan due to its red colour and all the soft green/yellow/red hairs on the outside. After harvest, the fruit skin quickly dehydrates. The hairs start turning black. The meat inside remains fresh longer so black hairs are not a bad thing. The meat inside the rambutan is white. In the centre of the meat there is an almond shaped pit. This pit is not suitable for eating.
Rambutan is normally eaten fresh, used with ice cream, desserts or used in the food canning industry. To open up the rambutan you have to use a sharp knife to cut around the fruit. There after the skin is gently pulled of and the white meat is revealed. Remember not to eat the almond shaped pit inside.
Due to short shelf life, Rambutan is only imported by airfreight. Rambutan has to be kept chilled at 10deg. and preferably sealed to avoid dehydration. Shelf life is around 8-10 days. At room temperature shelf life reduces to only 2-3 days.