Is it an orange? It is a mandarin? When it tastes this good does it matter? Learn about the Sumo Citrus mandarin. Where to find it and when to find it.
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In the produce aisle it's time to go big or go home.
That must mean it's now time for Sumo Citrus season.
Let out a scream that it's finally here.
Per usual we are going to help you track them down and answer your most frequently asked Sumo Citrus questions.
- 🍊 What is Sumo Citrus?
- 👅 What Do They Taste Like?
- ❔ Do They Have Seeds?
- ❄️ When is the Season?
- 🚜 Where Are They Grown?
- 💲 How Much Do They Cost?
- 💸 Why are They So Expensive?
- 🌳 Can You Buy a Tree?
- 🔔 Are They the Same as Honeybells?
- 🛒 Where to Buy
- 📧 Sign Up for Our List
- 🍋 Other Types of Citrus to Buy
- 🍬 Sumo Citrus Fudge
- SUMO Citrus Fudge
🍊 What is Sumo Citrus?
Sumo Citrus is the marketing name for the Dekopon mandarin. The name comes from the knob on top of the fruit that resembles a sumo wrestler. This is also a nod to their Japanese roots.
The Sumo is easy to peel like mandarin but is the size of a Navel orange, in fact it's the largest mandarin I have ever found. You can often can peel them in one piece. The skin is lumpy, not smooth like a Navel.
A lot of people like to cut Navel oranges in wedges and then just eat and suck out the juice. Sumos are so easy to peel and the white pith comes off pretty easy so I don't see any reason to slice them at all.
They were created over many years through natural plant breeding. They were not genetically modified in a lab.
RELATED - To learn more about the origin of Sumo Citrus, read our post "Sumo Citrus - From Tree to Your Hands"
👅 What Do They Taste Like?
What is so great about them? It's all about flavor! While I wouldn't say the flavor is unique, Sumo Citrus have a rich, mandarin flavor, that has a good balance of sweet and sour notes. Hands down they taste better than any other mandarin out there.
The texture is very tender and juicy without being messy. When you separate the segments your hands stay clean.
❔ Do They Have Seeds?
No, Sumo Citrus is seedless. It may be possible to find a random seed or immature seed every once in a while.
❄️ When is the Season?
The best time to find Sumo Citrus is January through mid April
When Sumos were first being shipped, fruit was reaching stores first in February. Now you can them pretty much right after the ball drops in NYC on New Year's Eve. The season lasts longer now than it did years ago as more trees have come into production increasing supply.
I have found them still hanging around in as late as near the end of April. Last year their final shipment went out the week of April 9th.
There are now some Sumo Citrus that are imported from Australia.
🚜 Where Are They Grown?
The fruit started off in Japan. The Dekopon that are marketed as Sumo Citrus are grown in the central part of California mainly in the San Joaquin Valley. They are also grown in Australia.
💲 How Much Do They Cost?
The price I see most often is $3.99/pound. I have seen them for a dollar more and a dollar less. I have seen both Kroger and Trader Joe's price them per fruit instead of by the pound.
💸 Why are They So Expensive?
You are likely wondering why are they so expensive? The reasons are legit. They are harder to harvest and grow than other mandarins and oranges. The "knob" on the top of the Sumo can easily be damaged, so they have to harvest into small bins, instead of large crates like they do with other types of citrus. This increases the labor cost.
In 2022, I started seeing smaller fruit in 2-pound bags at Sprouts for $5.99 a bag.
🌳 Can You Buy a Tree?
Sorry they are not available for purchase. The link I shared above will also address this issue.
🔔 Are They the Same as Honeybells?
While they make share some similarity in appearance, Sumos and Honeybells are not the same. Honeybells are a Tangelo - a cross between a mandarin and a grapefruit. The taste and texture is very different. Sumos have a lighter colored orange skin as well. Honeybells are very popular in the state of Florida.
Sumos are not the same as a Minneola either, which is fact the same fruit as a Honeybell but grown in a different regions like California and Arizona.
You should be able to recognize the difference easily, even though I have seen grocery store screw this up.
🛒 Where to Buy
The list of locations below are stores that are expected to carry Sumo Citrus or have in the past. The independent stores may be missing from this list as they are harder to track.
Kroger has gone pretty big on them before, so make sure you if you have a Kroger store or Kroger owned store nearby that you check it out. Whole Foods is pretty good about stocking them throughout the season. They usually have them on sale at some point. Sprouts is another store that creates big displays of them from time to time.
For specific store locations, see the comment section below. You can help me with that by leaving a comment and letting us know where you found them.
- Bristol Farms
- Central Markets
- Cub Stores
- Dorothy Lane
- Gelson’s Markets
- H Mart
- Hannaford Market
- Jewel Food Stores
- Jungle Jim's International Market
- Market Street
- Nugget Markets
- Publix Supermarkets
- Save Mart
- Shaw’s Supermarkets
- Shop Rite Stores
- Sprouts Farmers Market
- Star Market
- Stop & Shop Supermarkets
- Trader Joe's
- The Fresh Market
- United Supermarkets
- Weis Markets
- Whole Foods Markets
- Zion Markets
📧 Sign Up for Our List
Want to always know when Sumo Citrus hits the store or any other fun, flavorful fruit varieties? Sign up for our Seasonal email list below.
🍋 Other Types of Citrus to Buy
Looking for some more unique and/or flavorful citrus like the finger limes in the photo above, give these varieties a try.
- Lemonade Lemons
- Valentine Pomelo
- Ojai Pixie Tangerines
- Cara Cara Oranges
- Heirloom Navel Oranges
- Blood Oranges
- Meyer Lemons
🍬 Sumo Citrus Fudge
No reason to just toss out the peel and it's zest, it can be used just like you use any orange or lemon zest. Want to know a really fun way to use it? Make fudge! I have a very simple to make fudge recipe that you are going to just love.
For further instructions, check out our Sumo Citrus Fudge post.
- Line a 8 x 8 baking pan with wax or parchment paper. You can pray the paper with a little bit of oil to make sure it doesn't stick (optional)
- Place the sugar into a food processor. Process for 30 seconds until the sugar is fine.
- Combine sugar, milk, and butter in a medium sauce pan. Heat the pan to just melt the butter, then bring to a boil over medium high heat.
- Boil for 5 minutes, do NOT stir during this time.
- Remove from the heat. Stir in the white baking chips and food coloring. Keep mixing until it completely melts. It may look like it won't fully melt but just keep stirring.
- Stir in the juice and zest.
- Quickly place into your 8 x 8 pan. Smooth out with a spatula.
- Allow to complete cool to set up before cutting.