Lychee ginger simple syrup
Growing up in Hawaii we had access to a lot of different types of fruit. At any given time we had mangoes, lychee, bananas, tangerines, pomelo, or papayas growing in our yard. Even when the trees got older and didn't produce as much, friends and family often brought over bags of fruit to share. And while there are definite seasons for each fruit, the nice thing about living in a tropical area is there is always something growing and ready to harvest anytime during the year.
When I moved to Boston I couldn't bring myself to buy any of the fruit that we seemed to get in abundance in Hawaii. However, a couple of weeks ago while shopping at a local Asian market I saw fresh lychee and I couldn't resist. Even though the fruit weren't the bright red I was used to seeing, I decided to treat myself. It'd been years since I had a fresh lychee and the canned fruit just wasn't the same.
|Fresh, not quite ripened lychee|
Unfortunately the lychee really needed more ripening. I let them sit for a week but they never got better - it's hard to match the taste of freshly picked, ripened fruit. The fruit were juicy but the flavor wasn't as great as I remembered. So now I had a bag of lychee that I wasn't compelled to eat but couldn't throw away either.
Then the other night I was at a friend's house and he made the most delicious cocktail, mixing gin or sparkling water with a lemongrass ginger simple syrup and topping it off with a splash of fresh squeezed lime juice. It was delicious! A perfect, refreshing drink for a warm summer evening.
Inspired, I went home and inspected the contents of my fridge and my eyes fell on the bag of lychee. It was an "a ha!" moment. I pulled out the lychee, grabbed some ginger, and went to work.
|Adding the peeled, seeded lychee and ginger to the sugar syrup.|
|Straining the fruit|
The syrup turned out beautifully - the full fruit flavor of the lychee coming through with a nice bite from the fresh ginger. And as an added bonus, steeping the fruit enhanced its flavor. After cooling down in the fridge the fruit made a delicious dessert on its own.
I'm really happy with the results of my efforts. I don't think it'll make it through the end of the weekend.
|What's left of the finished product|