Mighty Life List
Apr 7 2009

Mighty Life: Taste 1,000 Fruits, Longanberries

I’m reading The Fruit Hunters, which is surprisingly fascinating. I’ve always been interested in fruit, but when this book pointed out that there were tens of thousands of varieties, I decided to add “Taste 1,000 fruits” to my life list. Isn’t that satisfyingly mythological?

A Thousand Nights of Sweetness
The Girl Who Tasted a Thousand Fruits
“Bring me one thousand fruits, and a toe from each of your virgins!”

Having grown up in California and traveled in Asia and Indonesia, I’ve already tasted a few hundred fruits (apple varieties alone will get you halfway there), but now I’m picking up interesting produce wherever I go.

These are Longan Berries, which I got on Clement St. in San Francisco. They’re native to Southern China, and are believed to help with relaxation.

They’re kind of like litchis. They have a thin, dry peel, and the interior has the texture of a peeled grape.

The taste is complex and sweet, a lot like a litchi. My friend gave a spot-on assessment of the lingering flavors when he said it reminded him of fresh paint, though not in an unpleasant way.

They’re called “dragon eyes” because, as you can see, they look like eyeballs.

There’s a lovely, smooth-shelled pit in the middle. According to Wikipedia, you can boil and eat the seeds, though I didn’t try that. I trust Wikipedia, but I’d be pissed if I accidentally poisoned myself on the word of some guy typing from his mom’s basement.