How do you eat it? What does it taste like? How to pick one out?
We answer all your questions about this about this giant piece of citrus that may look like a grapefruit but is actually a pomelo.
It is amazing how many different type of citrus there are. I could spend a lifetime learning about all the different types of varieties.
I have learned that many people believe that all citrus orginated from one of three types - the Mandarin, the Citron, and the topic of today's post - the Pomelo.
To me that's surprising because I knew about the very similar looking grapefruit long before I had ever heard of a Pomelo.
Let's take a deep dive into the fruit and learn what it's all about.
❔ What is a Pomelo?
Since you are probably more familiar with a grapefruit, I will start our discussion of the pomelo with comparing it to a grapefruit. On the surface they look very similar. Both are rather large pieces of citrus. Although I have seen Pomelos that make grapefruit look like a small kumquat!
The fruit has been around for centuries. Doing a simple Google search will give you lots of stories and the different names it has been called.
To define it simply, a pomelo is a type of citrus with a thick pith (that white stuff inside) with segments of juicy fruit, separately by a inedible, tough membrane.
All the Pomelos I have seen have been yellow in skin color with varying degrees of green.
? What Does it Taste Like?
It differs from a grapefruit in that the segments don't have the bitter taste like a grapefruit. If they do have any bitterness it's not nearly as much as a grapefruit. The flavor is like a mild grapefruit.
If you have a problem with grapefruit being too strong, give a Pomelo a try.
? How to Eat
The membrane between the segments are not edible. Your best way to approach the pomelo is just how you would a grapefruit.
Slice the thing in half making sure you cut through the middle part of the fruit. You don't want to cut through the stem end. That will make it hard to remove the individual segments.
Once you have it open, you can either cut the segments out by running a knife or in between the segment and the tough membrane. Or you can use a grapefruit spoon and just eat it right out of the fruit.
You can also zest the pomelo and use it just as you would lemon or orange zest. A lot of people like to make candied zest out of pomelos. They are also often used in salads, particularly Asian themed ones.
? How to Choose
When it comes to citrus, I always give this same advice - the fruit should be feel heavy for it's size. Take a fruit, place in the palm of your hand. How heavy does it feel? Try a couple different specimens. Pick out the one that feels most heavy, it should be the juiciest.
You also want to check for any soft spots.
The skin may have some imperfections but that should not affect the flavor.
? How to Tell When Ripe
Pomelos don't ripen after they are off the tree. They are as sweet as they are going to be. If you are shopping for one you should look for specimens that are yellow without any green. This could indicate they were on the tree longer.
The fruit will turn more yellow as it's exposed to cold temperature on the tree. This is why it usually means yellow fruit has been on long, since it lasted until the colder days of the winter.
This is the same concept that we talked about on the blog before with blood oranges, that get a more red color on the skin in cooler temps.
? How to Tell If It's Bad
Good thing about Pomelos is that they do not go bad very fast. In fact I can't ever remember being in procession of one that went south on me. I have had some on the counter for weeks that were still perfectly fine, although refrigeration will give you more time.
If there is a soft spot, you may be able to cut if off and save the fruit. If the fruit feels light for it's size, it's lost some moisture and probably won't be very good. The fruit could become moldy on the outside and you will have to do your best judgment whether any of the fruit is still good to eat or not. I
If I find an orange got moldy I usually toss the whole thing but with a larger size fruit like a Pomelo you might be able to cut away the bad parts. Do what you are comfortable with.
Just in case you see the fruit spelled "pummelo" it is just another spelling in most cases.
In most grocery stores you are going to just see them labeled as Pomelos, but there are different varieties. For that you need to visit a farmer's market or specialty produce store.
Chandler is the name of a commonly found Pomelo variety. This was one was introduced in the 1960s and it known for it's sweet flavor.
In recent years, I have seen the Valentine Pomelo being promoted on Instagram. This one ripens around Valentine's Day and has a red flesh that comes from it being a cross between a Pomelo, blood orange, and mandarin. I have not tried it myself as of this writing.
This past winter, I discovered the Mato Buntan. It has a strange shape. It's more pointy at the top, sort of pear like. It's sweet with more bitter notes than your standard supermarket Pomelo.
? Try These Types of Citrus
Here are some other types of citrus you should check out: