What Is This Armenian Mystery Fruit?

published Sep 23, 2011
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(Image credit: Emily Han)

While visiting with a friend’s elderly father, we spotted some unusual, boxy-shaped citrus growing in his yard. He plucked one of the fruits and gave it to us … but we still don’t know what it is!

(Image credit: Apartment Therapy)

Our friend’s dad explained that he used to eat this fruit in his homeland of Armenia but couldn’t find it in the United States, so he grew the tree from a seed sent by a friend back home. According to their family, it’s called “kebet” (our spelling) and the peel is traditionally candied. As you can see in the picture above, it has a thick, white pith. The pulp is tart like a lemon and the peel is fairly bitter but makes a flavorful, fragrant candy.

We contacted Fruit Detective and citrus specialist David Karp, who unfortunately couldn’t positively identify the fruit without seeing the tree and leaves. (We’re kicking ourselves for not taking photos!) Karp says it’s likely a kind of citron or citron-pummelo hybrid, but he isn’t familiar with the name “kebet.”

Does anyone out there have experience eating or cooking with an Armenian “citron”?

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(Images: Emily Ho)