In Hawaii, the decline of sugarcane plantations has led to a burgeoning specialty fruit industry, and antioxidant powerhouses like rambutans, lychees, and longans are now favored crops. The rambutan, also known as hairy lychee or hula berry, is a tropical treat when summer's lychees aren't in season; their season runs from September through March. They might even be better for you than green tea; rambutans have higher levels of the antioxidants flavanoids and anthocyanins, both of which are believed to reduce risk of chronic diseases and cardiovascular problems. They also contain lots of iron and calcium. Look for rambutans in Asian and other specialty markets, and handle them with care—they're fragile and keep only a day or two at room temperature. If you won't be eating them right away, place the fruits in a perforated plastic bag and refrigerate. To enjoy them, simply peel and pop into your mouth, or add them to a fruit platter; you can cut the top half of the skin off to reveal the fruit, leaving the bottom half of the skin as a decorative holder.
Photo: (cc) Edsel L/flickr