Rambutan is a very sweet fruit containing a good deal of water and sugar when picked fresh from the tree. Because of the sugar content, they tend to spoil very quickly once removed from the tree and if left for a day or two. Usually, rambutan, when picked fresh from the tree will need to be consumed within 3 days before they begin to shrivel and decay. So that raises a few questions about how to preserve them for longer periods of time and still maintain their freshness. The first question we will tackle is Can You Freeze Rambutan?
You can freeze rambutan fruit either whole with the skin or just with the flesh to enjoy at a later time. Frozen rambutan will need to be consumed within 3 months, but can keep as long as 6 months if cryogenic freezing methods are used. Rambutan can be frozen with or without the rind or skin, however, freezing with the skin still on offers a measure of protection for the fruit inside.
It’s best to flash freeze the rambutan on a baking sheet in the freezer, making sure they are spread apart, then transfer them to airtight bags or a container to store in the freezer. This ensures that they are not frozen together, making it hard to pull them apart when needed.
In this article we will discuss the following in further depth:
- How to Freeze Rambutan
- How Do You Refrigerate Rambutan?
- How To Keep Rambutan Fresh For 12 Days Without Freezing or Refrigeration
- How to Store Rambutan Fruit For 2 Years While Still Maintaining Nutritional Content
Below is a table on the lifespan of Rambutan if kept fresh, in a refrigerator or a freezer.
|Room Temperature||Refrigerator||Vacuum Sealing||Polyethylene Bags*||Freezer||Cryogenic Freezing||Flash Freezing*|
|Whole Unpeeled Rambutan||1 – 3 days||2 weeks||4 weeks||12 weeks||3 months||6 months||Not Recommended|
|Peeled Rambutan||2 hours||2 weeks||4 weeks||Not Recommended||3 months||Not Recommended||2 years|
|Canned Rambutan||Expiry Date||Expiry Date||Not Recommended||Not Recommended||Not Recommended||Not Recommended||Not Recommended|
How To Freeze Rambutan
Frozen peeled Rambutan when thawed can be a little mushy and watery, however, they still make very good smoothies. They still taste good if you prefer to eat them, but I like to throw them into the blender with some bananas and coconut water.
- Place the fruit into a bowl or a large strainer and clean with some running water
- Peel and remove the Rambutan skin by using a knife to cut into the skin and with your fingers pull the skin off
- Lay the peeled Rambutan onto a tray ensuring they are separated so they don’t freeze to each other
- Place the tray into the freezer for 30 minutes or until the fruit is frozen
- Place the frozen rambutan fruit into freezer bags. Ensuring the bags are not overfilled
- Remove as much air as you possibly can from the freezer bags
- Date the bags and place into the freezer
Be sure to check out Flash Freezing method below near the end of this article to keep the fruit in your freezer up to 2 years.
How Do You Refrigerate Rambutan?
Rambutan can be safely stored in the fridge for 2 weeks and still maintain its nutritional value and flavour.
- Wash the Rambutan thoroughly with water
- You can either peel or store the Rambutan whole with the skin (The skin can help protect the fruit inside keeping it firmer for when you decide to eat it
- Place into zipper-lock bags, removing as much air as possible
- Store in the refrigerator for up to 2 weeks
- Use Vacuum sealing to store in the refrigerator for up to 4 weeks
For tips on if you can refrigerate Jackfruit please take a look at this article: How To Ripen Jackfruit
How To Keep Rambutan Fresh For 12 Days Without Freezing or Refrigeration
The time frame from picking Rambutan fresh from the tree until it begins to decay and spoil is only 3 days. The hairy spikes shrivelling is the first apparent sign that the fruit is deteriorating.
Soon after, the rambutan fruit begins to lose its firmness, the skin then becomes a brownish colour and/or mouldy spots also appear over the fruit, and the flesh inside starts to become water-logged with a sour flavour. The flesh inside will begin to ferment and rot.
The freshness of Rambutan fruit can be extended a little by applying fungicides and packing the fruit into perforated polyethylene bags. Storing the rambutan fruit in the sealed polyethylene bags at 10º C with a 95% humidity has kept the rambutan fruits in a fresh state for up to 12 days.
However, longer periods of time do require freezing.
A better method to keep your Rambutan fresh for up to 12 weeks is to vacuum seal them either whole or peeled.
It is easy to do at home with a cheap vacuum sealing machine that can be bought locally or online.
Vacuum sealing your rambutan will keep them fresh and preserve their nutritional value for up to 2 weeks longer than if you just left them in the refrigerator.
However, it is important to properly prepare them as the presence of anaerobic bacteria will flourish in vacuum-sealed bags. But consuming within 2 to 4 weeks should be ok. Proper preparation involves peeling and cleaning with running water.
How to Store Rambutan Fruit for 2 Years While Still Maintaining Nutritional Content
Ripe Rambutan can be frozen whole with the seeds and stored for up to 6 months if using the cryogenic freezing method at –80 Celcius. They can then be stored in a freezer at – 20 Celcius.
However, most will not have access to Cryogenic freezing and a better easier method can be used keeping the fruits nutritional value locked in for 2 years.
Below is the method for Flash Freezing the Rambutan Fruit.
- Peel and wash thoroughly the Rambutan fruit
- Place the pieces of fruit onto a tray ensuring none of the fruits are sticking together
- Place this tray into the freezer for 30 minutes allowing the fruit to freeze
- Vacuum seal the frozen fruits in vacuum-sealed bags and store in the freezer for up to 2 years
Vacuum sealed, flash-frozen fruits can last for a number of years without losing any flavour or any of the nutrients.
When ready to consume, just remove from the freezer and thaw, they should taste just like the day they were picked.
It is always best to eat Rambutan fresh right from the tree as soon as it is picked, and will last for a few days.
However, refrigeration is very good to extend life by two weeks and freezing can satisfactorily extend life by 3 months while still maintaining the flavour and nutrition.
Flash freezing and vacuum sealing is the best way to store Rambutan fruit if you need to keep it for longer than 3 months. This will also preserve the flavour and nutrition of the fruit.
 Rambutan. p. 262–265. In: Fruits of warm climates. Julia F. Morton
 Tropical Fruit: Rambutan Process
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