November 27, 2014
Pomelo is a fairly young citrus fruit. It only exists since the 1970s when it was ‘found’ in Israel. So how do you ‘find’ a new citrus fruit? You take a ‘citrus maxima’ and cross it with a ‘tangerine’ – getting an ‘orange’. Cross this again with a ‘citrus maxima’ – you get a ‘grapefruit’. Now we are getting closer. Crossing the ‘grapefruit’ with the ‘citrus maxima’ you will finally get the ‘pomelo’!
Like the ‘citrus maxima’ the pomelo is somewhat pear-shaped, weighing from 500g to 2000g with a diameter of 15-20cm. Pomelos have a sour-sweet, fruity, slightly bitter but refreshing taste.
Where the name ‘pomelo’ comes from is uncertain. Perhaps from the Dutch word ‘pompelmoes’ [meaning citrus maxima] or from pome [apple] + melon.
Nowadays most pomelos come from Israel, South Africa, South-East Asia and China.
Pomelos are almost throughout the year in season. From November to April delivers Israel [mostly green skinned] and Asia [mostly yellow skinned], July to September jumps to South Africa. Particularly abundant is the offer from December to February.
SHOPPING + STORAGE
When shopping you have to watch out because in England and France when asking for ‘pomelo’ you will actually get a grapefruit. In Spain ‘pomelo’ can either be a grapefruit or a pomelo. With ‘honey pomelo’ or ‘shaddock’ you will usually get what you desire!
Quite the reverse to most fruit the pomelo is honey sweet when the skin is already slightly wrinkled. Depending on the variety the skin color can range from a bright green to a pale yellow with a thick white, spongy layer. The flesh is pale yellow to pink. Supposedly the white-fleshed ‘honey pomelo’ is the most aromatic – as it is particularly sweet [it’s the one pictured in all my photographs].
The pomelo matures during storage. Specimens with a smooth skin can be easily stored unopened [at room temperature] for about two weeks. Longer if stored in a cool place.
Pomelo segments are usually eaten raw as a snack or dessert [dipped in chili-salt]. They make a great addition to salads and fruit spreads, as well as chutneys.
Pomelo peel is used to make marmalade and can be crystallized as a sweet treat [sometimes dipped in chocolate]. In Asia it is used in dessert soups or as tea.
If you want to use the rind make sure to get an untreated pomelo and wash the skin thoroughly! Use a sharp knife or potato peeler to slice off thin slices of rind.
The thick, spongy, white skin surrounding the segments can be used for seasoning or is braised. In Brazil it is often used for making a sweet conserve.
Fresh pomelo juice is a popular drink in many Asian countries. It’s one of the ingredients of ‘Forbidden Fruit’ – a liqueur containing honey and brandy. The juice can also me made into a lovely jelly.
The pomelo flowers have no culinary use [as far as I could find] but they are widely used to make perfumes.
HOW TO PEEL
Pomelos have a thick albedo [rind pith] and are subdivided into segments, which are each surrounded by a solid skin [membranous material]. The skin is eatable – but very bitter and needs to be removed!
To get to the tasty flesh cut of the top cap with a sharp knife. Cut through the thick albedo – creating wedges [don’t cut into the flesh segments].
Peel off the skin as thoroughly as you have the patience.
The central axis of the fruit is hollow. So you will be able to wedge your thumb in there to peel the segments apart.
Remove the membranes around all flesh segments [remove as much as possible].
The pomelo has little calories – the perfect healthy snack. I is high in Vitamin C, potassium, manganese and phosphates. The high content of the bitter substance ‘Limonin’ stimulates the bowel activity.
As with grapefruit the bitter substances might interact with medication and could have undesirable consequences. You might wanna consult your doctor to check if your pills [if you are taking any] could interact with the fruit. Eating a pomelo can act positively when having a slightly elevated blood pressure – but be careful when already taking antihypertensive drugs!
Nutritional value per 100g [% of Daily Value]