Monday, January 16, 2012

Further Adventures in Produce: The Pummelo

My mom is here to spend some time with us this month, which is why my blogging has slacked off a bit in the last week or so–I’m relying on old familiar favorites to feed our slightly extended family while she’s here.  When we went to the grocery store this morning, though, I told her we needed to find “something unusual” in the produce section so I could, at the very least, keep up with the Adventures in Produce project.  Almost immediately, the two of us spied what looked like an oversized green grapefruit.   The sign below it introduced us to the pummelo.

Also known as Chinese grapefruit or shaddock, the pummelo (sometimes spelled pommelo) is, in fact, a member of the large family of citrus fruits.  They’re in season from November to March, which makes this the perfect time to give one a try.  I really didn’t know what to expect from the pummelo; the signage at the grocery store said they were slightly sweeter and less acidic than grapefruit, and that was about the only information I had on hand when I took one home and cut it open.

My first surprise was how thick the rind turned out the be.  It’s very soft and easy to peel away from the fruit, but given the fact that the pummelo costs $1.98 a pound at my local store, I felt like I paid for more rind than fruit.   The inside portion of fruit is about the same size as a typical grapefruit.

I ate half of the pummelo with a grapefruit spoon, using the sharp edges to cut segments from the fruit.  The fruit itself is firmer and less juicy than grapefruit, although there was still plenty of juice squirting us in the eye.  The other half, I peeled and ate in its segmented slices.

Most of us agreed that it was very tasty–not as painfully tart as grapefruit, but the same general flavor.  The Boy, who is no fan of sour foods, said it was just okay.   My mom pointed out that it would be a good flavor in a fruit salad; since it’s not as sour as grapefruit, it wouldn’t overpower the other elements of the salad.  I think the juice would be a nice component of a salad dressing, or a jam (perhaps mixed with apricots or peaches.)

The final verdict?  We liked the pummelo, but given the cost, it’s not really practical to think about buying it on a regular basis.  For a special occasion, The Girl suggested that the bright green color of the rind  would make a nice bowl for fruit salad or sorbet.  I like that idea, but I’m also wondering if we might want to rethink our Christmas bowl of oranges to include many varieties of the citrus family.  A bounty of citrus might do just as well to illustrate the many blessings that have come to us via the hard work of others.

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One Response to “Further Adventures in Produce: The Pummelo”

  1. 1

    Lily — February 26, 2012 @ 9:01 am

    Im from a country that produces Pomelo fruits! :) I love the smell of the rind — after eating the fruits, the rind could be hung up and used as a natural air freshener until it dries out.

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