We are endlessly delighted by the seasonally-evolving mix of citrus at our farmers' markets. Last week, we became acquainted with the citrumelo, an orange-grapefruit hybrid. Another hybrid popping up at our late winter-early spring markets is the juicy tangelo, a cross between a mandarin and grapefruit.
Tangelos are juicy, complex in flavor, and are often distinguished by deep red-orange skin and a knob at the top. They may be accidental or deliberate hybrids of any mandarin orange and the grapefruit or pomelo, so there are many variations. The two main varieties, Orlando and Mineola, are both derived from the Duncan grapefruit and Dancy tangerine. Mineolas, also known as Honeybells, are especially prized for their intensely sweet-tart flavor.
Tangelos tend to be very juicy and are wonderful for eating out of hand – just be sure you have a napkin handy! You can also use the juice and zest as you would oranges or mandarins. Here are a few recipes that showcase the fruit's rich color and flavor:
When shopping for tangelos, try to taste a sample, if possible. Fruit picked too early in the season may be more tart than sweet. Choose fruit that is heavy for its size. Avoid fruit with soft spots or puffiness, which could indicate over maturity. Store at room temperature for a few days or refrigerate up to two weeks.
• For more information on Los Angeles area farmers' markets, visit Farmernet.com
Emily Ho is a writer, recipe developer, and educator. She lives in Los Angeles, where she teaches classes on food preservation, wild food, and herbalism. Emily is a Master Food Preserver and founder of LA Food Swap and the international Food Swap Network.
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