What Is an Ugli Fruit?

published Apr 30, 2008

While we believe in buying local and buying in season, we sometimes allow a splurge on an exotic unknown from another part of the world. This week, it was the ugli fruit we saw at Whole Foods. Here are our impressions of this big citrus fruit from Jamaica…

We had heard of the ugli fruit (sometimes known by one grower’s name for it – uniq) but had never tried one. Their bright orange skins and fat teardrop shapes were very appealing, so we picked just one up (at $2.99 each they were an investment!).

The ugli fruit was found growing wild in Jamaica, and it is believed to be a hybrid of grapefruit and tangerine, and perhaps pomelo. It is indeed a rather ugly fruit – mostly green and wrinkled until it is fully ripe, when it turns orange like ours.

It’s available from December through April, and sometimes in the fall.

We cut it open and found two heart-shaped halves with enormous segment of citrus inside.

The peel is very thick and soft and peels away easily. It almost falls away from the juicy segments.

The segments tasted almost exactly like ripe navel orange, sweet and juicy.

The skin around the segments is a little thick for our taste, though – almost unpleasantly papery.

If these grew in our backyard (in Jamaica!) we would gladly eat them. But frankly, we would prefer oranges from Florida over these at this point, especially at $2.99 each.

(Images: Faith Hopler)