The Citrus Giant
Pummelos are the largest of all citrus fruit. The Pummelo is said to be the ancestor of the grapefruit although it is much sweeter and less acidic than one. Pummelos have been a treasured food in Asia and other regions for many years. This exotic fruit is fairly round or slightly pear shaped. The yellow rind of the Pummelo is thick and spongy and the delicate flesh ranges from pink to rosy in color. The fruit generally has 11 to 18 segments, making it perfect to share!
History of the Pummelo: Its Fruitful Past?
An ancient, exotic fruit, the Pummelo most likely originated in Asia and is the ancestor of the grapefruit. It is historically found in Asia and the Pacific Islands and was brought to Barbados by Captain Shaddock in 1696. Though commonly called the Pummelo, it is also known as the Pamplemousse, Pomelo, Bali lemon, Limau besar, and, of course, Shaddock.
In 1902, the U.S. Department of Agriculture obtained several Pummelo plants from Thailand. Only one of the plants survived the trip, and it was planted in a greenhouse in Washington. The plant’s buds were sent to Florida, California, Puerto Rico, Cuba and Trinidad, but there was little enthusiasm for the fruit. In 1913, a horticulturist from the Philippine government was assigned to collect the best types of Pummelos in Thailand, of which he shipped one – the “Bangkok” type – to San Francisco. Once again, attempts to grow high quality fruit from those plants were deemed fruitless – until the buds were sent to Riverside, Calfornia, and grafted onto two grapefruit trees. Finally, one of the trees bore a very high quality fruit. Ever since, Pummelos have been successfully grown in other areas of the United States.
Did You Know?
The Chinese believe that eating Pummelos brings good luck, so they are popular during the Chinese New Year. Eating a Pummelo at that time is believed to bring prosperity and good fortune to a person.
Choosing a Pummelo
- Select a Pummelo that is shiny and heavy in your hand.
- Make sure that the fruit is firm. Only the bottom center of the fruit should feel soft because the pulp should have opened to cause the center to hollow.
- Smell it – it should have a fragrant scent.
How to Care For and Store
Pummelos can stay fresh at room temperature for up to two weeks. If refrigerated, they can be stored for approximately three weeks, but not more than one month.
How to Enjoy:: Love at First Bite!
Commonly eaten fresh, much like a grapefruit, the flavor of the Pummelo is mild, sweet, and slightly acidic.
- Just like a grapefruit, the Pummelo can be eaten fresh – and it’s even sweeter!
- Dice it with other tropical fruits to make a fruit salsa.
- For a slightly different flavor, add it to smoothies instead of orange juice.
- Mix pummelo juice and pulp with soy sauce and sesame oil for a sweet and tangy sauce to eat over fish or chicken.