Are Rambutan Seeds Edible?

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Are Rambutan Seeds Edible
Are Rambutan Seeds Edible

Rambutan are a tropical fruit that are so juicy, sweet and delicious. There is no denying that the fruit itself is edible and nutritious, but you may have wondered if the seeds of the rambutan are edible, and if so, how would you eat them? I must admit that although I have eaten rambutan I have never eaten the seeds. I had to do a little bit of research to even find the answer to this question. So here is the simple answer.

Rambutan seeds are edible, but only if they are properly prepared. Raw rambutan seeds can be toxic in large doses due to traces of toxic chemicals such as saponins but are safe from acute toxicity in doses up to 2,500 mg/kg dose. The symptoms of toxicity can include your motor coordination being affected.[1] However, this would require more than just a couple of seeds eaten raw. Roasted rambutan seeds, however, showed no toxicity and can be safely eaten.

So, as you can see, yes you can eat Rambutan seeds but only safe if they are roasted. They taste a lot like roasted almonds when they are roasted. Some say that they also taste a little bitter.

In this article we will also discuss the following:

  • How To Roast Rambutan Seeds
  • Fermentation and Roasting of Rambutan Seeds
  • 5 Reasons Why You Might Roast and Eat Rambutan Seeds
  • Conclusions on Are Rambutan Seeds Edible?

Roasted rambutan seeds are very similar to how you would roast any other nut or seed.

Although edible when roasted, the seeds taste slightly bitter, much like an almond, and may have very mild narcotic properties.

However, it is noted that more research still needs to be undertaken before the roasting process is officially approved as being safe to eat. If you happen to live in Florida and would like to know what fruit trees are best to grow in Northern, Southern and Central Florida then please check out the article: Best Fruit Trees To Grow In Florida

How To Roast Rambutan Seeds

It’s pretty easy to roast rambutan seeds. Just follow these basic steps below
Dissolve some sea salt in some water. Dissolve as much as you possibly can and then pour this liquid onto the raw seeds, being sure to stir thoroughly.

Next, spread these seeds onto a lined baking sheet, and place onto a roasting pan.

Bake at a temperature of 150 degrees Celsius for about 20 – 30 minutes in a pre-heated oven, stirring at the halfway mark. Check them regularly to make sure they are not burning.

After the baking process, coat the warm seeds with some olive oil and a few shakes of the sea salt and then leave them to cool. They will soak up all that goodness of the olive oil and sea salt and then look like the perfectly roasted rambutan seeds that they are.

To flavor or not?

If you want to add a little flavour then you will need to add some herbs after or before the roasting process. A little garlic powder is a nice seasoning to add, but remember the nicer the taste the more you will eat.
The one thing you will need to be very careful of is burning – it’s pretty much literally only a minute or two between perfect and slightly burned seeds.

I also found this recipe online in a research paper that shows you the process of Fermenting and Roasting Rambutan seeds.[2]

Fermentation and Roasting of Rambutan Seeds

The fermentation process of the rambutan seeds was performed on seeds which were covered by small amounts of the rambutan fruit pulp. It’s the fruit pulp that helps with the fermenting process. Essentially just eat the fruit and leave whatever pulp is sticking to the seeds. Don’t wash the seeds.

The rambutan seeds were transferred into small plastic baskets, which were previously lined with some banana leaves.

After filling the small baskets with some of the fresh raw rambutan seeds, the baskets and seeds were then covered with some more banana leaves for approximately 6 days. Just give the seeds a little shake every 3 days.

On the 6th day of the fermentation process, the banana leaves cover was then opened and the rambutan seeds inside were stirred with a wooden spoon.

After the fermentation time was sufficient, we allowed 6 days, the rambutan seeds were then carefully roasted at a temperature of 150 °C for 30 minutes.[2]

Again if you prefer a little oil you can then cover the seeds with a little olive oil and sprinkle a little sea salt over them. However, to get the natural nutty seed taste of the rambutan seed we suggest you leave off any other seasoning.

In saying that, I like to add a little tamari soy sauce rather than sea salt.

Why would you want to be eating Rambutan seeds in the first place? Well, this article wouldn’t be complete without stating the reasons for eating the Rambutan seeds and what sort of benefits and nutrition you can expect from consuming them.

Just before we look at the benefits, I found some interesting information about planting trees around a fire hydrant. This would include your Rambutan Trees if you have some. To find out how close you can plant these trees to a fire hydrant please read the article: How Close Can You Plant a Tree To a Fire Hydrant? Now, back to reasons for eating Rambutan seeds.

5 Reasons Why You Might Roast and Eat Rambutan Seeds?

5 Reasons Why You Should Eat Rambutan Seeds
Reasons To Eat Rambutan Seeds
  1. The seeds are an abundant source of fats at 38.9%. The major fatty acids are Oleic acid (40.45%) and arachidic acid (36.36%). It is interesting to note that The rambutan seeds contain a fairly large number of oils along with essential fatty acids, both unsaturated and saturated.

    The main fat is oleic acid, which is an omega-9 fatty acid, the benefits of this fatty acid have been well documented. It is known that these acids can: reduce blood pressure[3]; increase good cholesterol levels; and reduce the risk of developing ulcerative colitis or UC[4]

    Arachidonic acid is also present in rambutan seeds in good quantities. This is an omega-6 fatty acid and also has a number of different benefits. Arachidonic acid has been known to increase protein synthesis which can result in enhanced anaerobic capacity and lessen the inflammatory response to training.[5] Because of these effects, it is often sold as a supplement for bodybuilders to improve recovery time and increase the size of the muscles.
  1. The amount of protein and carbohydrate are 12.4% and 48% respectively. So Rambutan seeds also appear to be a good source of protein.
  1. Rambutan peel and seeds have antioxidant and antibacterial activities, however, more potential antioxidant activities were found in the peel extracts more than in the Rambutan seed extracts.[6]
  1. Higher antioxidant activity can be achieved from the fermentation process and can be enhanced further by also roasting the seeds as described above. 

    However,  the appropriate fermentation process should not be longer than 6 days, as outlined above, which results in efficiently increasing the phenolic compounds of the Rambutan seed fat.[6]
  1. The final benefit of eating Rambutan seeds are nutritional benefits. Below, in the table, we give a summary of the nutritional composition of Rambutan seeds.[6]
Composition (Rambutan Seed)Quantity (100grams)
Iron0.34 mg
Calcium9.58 mg
Manganese1.06 mg
Magnesium12.3 mg
Potassium84.1 mg
Zinc0.17 mg
Phosphorous16.6 mg
Sodium20.8 mg
Vitamin C59.4 mg
Vitamin A<40 IU
Total Sugars17.2%
Riboflavin0.05 mg
Thiamin<0.01 mg

Conclusions on Are Rambutan Seeds Edible?

So, what can we conclude about eating Rambutan seeds? Well, due to the chances of toxicity of Rambutan seeds, unless properly roasted, you are probably better off eating other nuts and seeds to get your dietary protein and fats.

Many other nuts and seeds also have many antioxidant activities and mineral and vitamin compositions comparable to or better than Rambutan seeds that can be safely eaten raw.


Juan & Raquel

We are Juan & Raquel, the guys behind Fruit Information. We've been interested in fruit over the last few decades and have been busy with improving our knowledge of the different varieties. I, Juan, have been almost a fruitarian for over a decade and almost solely living on fruits as my main dietary intake. My wife Raquel has worked on a fruit farm and also worked in a nursery and seedlings shop. She is a very experienced and knowledgeable farmer. We have recently undertaken a new Dragon Fruit farm with friends.

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