Dried Longan (long nhãn) is a tasty snack often used in sweet dessert soups as well as a herbal medicine with a relaxation effect. Learn how to dry longan fruit at home with your oven.
What is Longan
Longan (nhãn in Vietnamese) is a tropical tree with edible fruit native to Vietnam. The fruit has a bark-like thin shell and a hard black seed. The flesh is juicy, sweet and succulent once the fruit is ripe.
In Vietnam, longan fruits are harvested in summer, around July and August. My mom just sent us kilos of it (1 kilogram is a little over 2 pounds), and there’s no possible way for me to eat it all since the fruit has a very sharp sweetness. So I decided to oven-dry them, and you can watch how to do it in the video below.
Watch How to Make Dried Longan at Home
Dried longan is called long nhãn (meaning dragon’s eye) or nhãn nhục in Vietnamese. Traditionally, it is made by sun-drying fresh longan. In Vietnamese culture, the dried fruit is believed to have health benefits such as reducing stress and treating insomnia.
While the fresh fruit is too sweet for my taste, the dried one has a very pleasant sweetness and fragrance as well as a deep flavor. The fresh one has a white flesh but the dried one has a beautiful dark brown color. We love to add it to many Vietnamese sweet dessert soups (such as this lotus seed sweet soup with longan) or to winter melon tea.
It is best to choose longan fruits with thick, firm and juicy flesh. In Vietnam, depending on the region, the fruits can have thin and watery flesh, which isn’t great for making dried longan.
Before dehydrating longan, you will need to remove the shell and seed without tearing off the flesh too much. It’s totally possible by using a small paring knife with a sharp tip. I strongly recommend watching the video to understand how to do this.
Making dried longan isn’t a quick project so do it when you have a lot of free time. It probably takes me an hour to remove the shell and seed for 2 pounds of longan fruits. Then drying will take 3-4 hours depending on how thick the flesh is.
Using oven is a great way to dehydrate fruits. I have a convection oven and dry the fruits with fan on at low temperature. Convection blows hot oven air around the fruits so that they can dry more quickly and evenly. If you have a conventional oven, you may need to add more cooking time and rotate the baking tray once in a while. Or you can try increasing the oven temperature slightly by 10-20°F. You can read more about how convection oven works here.
If you like to eat dried longan and has a lot of fresh longan on hand, I hope you will try oven drying it at home. It is much better (and cleaner) than store-bought and you can assure that there is no chemical stuff added to it.
I’d love to hear what you think about the dish, so please feel free to leave a comment and a rating if you have tried it. New recipes are added every week so let’s connect on Facebook, Youtube, Pinterest and Instagram for the latest updates. You can find my collection of Vietnamese recipes here.
How to Dry Longan Fruit
- 2 lbs fresh longan fruits (you can dry more or less fruits as you want)
- Peel off just a bit of the shell at the top of the fruit.
- Push the tip of the knife into the flesh where it meets the seed.
- Move the knife in a circular motion to separate the flesh and the seed.
- After one full circle, use the knife to push the seed out.
- Peel off the remaining shell.
- Preheat your oven to 215°F (or 100°C) with fan on. Arrange the flesh of longan fruits on a wired rack over a baking tray.
- Dry them for 3-3.5 hours. The exact time depends on the thickness of the flesh. Start checking regularly after 3 hours. Remove longan from the oven once it is dry and dark brown (or even almost black) in color.
- Store dried longan in a tight jar or sealed bag in the refrigerator.