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Fruit, Vegetables and Gourds
Long Gnun
Long Gnun is a small fruit that Chinese regard with great respect. It grows on trees, and quite often in the wild. The fruit forms large clusters that hang down, and they are harvested by cutting off the small branches that support them. This is one of the few seasonal fruits in Guangdong, and is harvested from mid to late summer.

The fruit can grow up to an inch in diameter, is round or slightly oval, and has a mustard coloured leathery skin. The skin is quite tough, but once split peels very easily. The white flesh surrounds a large black seed or stone, whilst the flesh tastes remarkably similar to Lychee.

Longgnun are usually eaten fresh by simply peeling away the skin and eating the white flesh inside. Remove the central stone in your mouth, Longgnun are very wet and sticky when doing this with your fingers.

To shell, simply remove from the bough and take in your fingers. Place your forefinger and thumb at opposite sides of the fruit - and press fairly hard. They will immediately split open (if ripe).

However, they do have good medicinal properties and act as a tonic. Therefore they are sometimes put into soups, as much for a change as any other reason. Being a seasonal fruit also heightens their stature.

For instance, my wife recently made the soup as featured on our Wax Gourd page. As Mama had brought several pounds of Longgnun with her a few days before, Siu Ying decided to put about 20 of them in the soup. She made 3 pints of it, featuring potatoes, carrots, wax gourd, and some meat.

The Longgnun were delicious and I wholeheartedly recommend you try this next time you are making Chinese soup.
Image: Longgnun - Click to Enlarge

Image: Longgnun - Click to Enlarge

Apart from use in soups, or eating raw, I would also use them as very suitable substitutes for Lychee. They are ideal served with cream, or as something special added to fruit salad.

Wong Pei is an extremely similar fruit which is marginally smaller in general. It looks virtually identical although any associated leaves are different. It has similar characteristics and taste, however the outside skin is soft and slightly furry to the touch, and breaks easily with your fingers. Long gnun is leathery to the touch and does not break too easily.
This information is as supplied by ourselves, and ably supported by our friends and various internet portals.
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