The region of La Axarquía, in Malaga, is now the only area in Europe where Dimocarpus longan or longan, also known as dragon's eye, is grown. This exotic fruit, of Asian origin, has been introduced in Europe by the prestigious Institute of Subtropical and Mediterranean Horticulture (ISHM), which already successfully introduced the cultivation of other tropical fruits in the region, such as avocados, mangoes or, more recently, litchi.
The cultivation of longan in Spain will allow the consumer to obtain a fresher fruit, harvested practically overnight, and therefore with a better flavor. Longan is not easy to transport, as it deteriorates rapidly, so there are few stores in Spain able to offer it. In fact, imported fruit is usually consumed canned or dehydrated.
Unlike litchi, longan trees are much more productive; an aspect that producers are very interested in. The fruit can be left unharvested on the tree without its quality being affected. But why should we start eating longan, when the fruit is so foreign to our diet? We likely won't experience a craze for this exotic fruit, as in China, where it is the second most imported fruit, with 603,000 tons per year, but there are powerful nutritional arguments in its favor to give it a chance.
Source of vitamin C
Longan is a delicious fruit that has a bit of a sour aftertaste, but with sweet tones. It stands out for its high content of vitamins A and C, in addition to minerals such as phosphorus, iron, copper, potassium, zinc or magnesium. It also has a significant amount of iron and is rich in fiber.
As for its use, its versatility allows it to be consumed in sweet and savory salads. "It can also be used in rice and vegetable dishes. Moreover, it is relatively easy to can and to elaborate juices or liqueurs with it," explains the website of the Exotic Fruit Box company.