Why It’s Time To Try Pomelos

published Jan 8, 2015
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(Image credit: jaboo2foto)

We’re knee-deep in citrus season, and my taste buds couldn’t be happier. Along with stocking up on grapefruit, clementines, and tangerines, I started the year by trying a new to me fruit – pomelos. They’re are the under-appreciated giant of the citrus family. Pomelos may look like over-sized grapefruits, but here’s why they’re their own wonderful creation — and certainly worth a try.

For the past few winters I’ve walked through the produce section of the grocery store staring at the bowling-ball sized pomelos, feeling intrigued and tempted to bring one home, but too intimidated by its size to actually do it. What on earth was I going to do with such a large fruit?

Now that I know what rests inside the thick yellow-green pith, I only wish I tried it sooner!

(Image credit: Megan Gordon)

What Exactly Is a Pomelo?

Also referred to as pummelo, pamplemousse, and shaddock, pomelos originated in Southeast Asia. They are the largest of the citrus fruits, and most closely related to grapefruits. The large size makes them appear intimidating, but they’re not at all.

These oversized round citrus fruits have a textured rind ranging in color from yellow to green, with pulpy fresh that’s creamy white, bright pink, or somewhere in between. Pomelos also have a much thicker pith than other citrus varieties. Like many of its relatives, pomelos can vary between being filled with seeds, to having very few or no seeds.

But, the real question is, what does it taste like? This is the thing I love most about pomelos, and why I’m also glad they’re in my life. I think you’ll enjoy it too! Pomelos are like a mild version of grapefruit. They’re sweeter and don’t carry a that occasional harsh bitter tang.

Tips for Buying a Pomelo

The best time for pomelos is between November and March. So, right now! You can find them in Latin and Asian markets, as well as most grocery stores. Look for pale green to yellow fruits that feel firm and heavy for their size. Blemishes are okay, but void soft fruits with dull color, ones that look dried out, or give easily to pressure.

Stored in the refrigerator, pomelos can last up to a week.

(Image credit: Emily Han)

The Best Ways to Eat a Pomelo

Next to the wonderful flavor, what I’ve come to love about eating pomelos is that it feels like an adventure. It takes work to get to the sweet, pulpy flesh. Though once you do, the reward is deep satisfying and worth every second of your efforts.

After removing the thick rind and peeling the membrane from around the segments, pomelos can be eaten out of hand, tossed into salads or salsa, used in a marinade, made into jam, or juiced for a cocktail. Enjoy them any way you eat your favorite citrus fruits.

Don’t forget about the peel! You can candy it, or use it to make marmalade.

Try these pomelo recipes!

Have you ever tried a pomelo? What’s your favorite way to eat it?