One of China’s cherished fruits for over 2,000 years, the small (1 to 2 inches in diameter) litchi has a rough, bright red shell. The creamy white flesh is juicy, smooth and delicately sweet. It surrounds a single seed. Native to Southeast Asia, the litchi is cultivated in subtropical regions including California, Florida and Hawaii. Fresh litchis are available from June to about mid-July. Choose those with brightly colored skins free of blemishes. Place in a plastic bag and refrigerate unshelled for up to a week. Shell, seed and eat plain or as part of a fruit salad or dessert. Canned and dried litchis are available year-round. When dried they’re often referred to as litchi nuts because they resemble a nut the shell turns a dark reddish brown and the flesh becomes brown and crisp. They’re eaten as a snack, much in the same way as nuts or candy.