Pomelos (citrus maxima), along with citrons and mandarins are one of the primary ancestors of all citrus fruit. It is also the largest citrus fruit – pomelos can weigh up to almost 5kg and get as large as up to almost 30cm in diameter!
CHARACTERISTICS OF THE POMELO
Despite its similarities to grapefruit (itself a hybrid of a pomelo), pomelos are sweeter and have only a hint of the bitterness that grapefruit are usually associated with. So what else distinguishes pomelos from other citrus fruits?
- The exaggerated portions of the pomelo make it unique in the citrus family: they can range from 15cm to 30cm in diameter.
- Pomelos display a greenish yellow to an orange tint, similar to grapefruit.
- The flesh of the pomelo is typically white, but can also be a light pink.
- The membranous material around the segments are typically discarded as it is bitter and considered inedible.
HOW TO PEEL A POMELO
The peel of a pomelo can be up to a few centimetres thick, so peeling one is no easy feat! Here is a step-by-step guide of our favourite way to get to a juicy pomelo!
1. Using a sharp knife, cut the cap of one end of the pomelo: you should cut through a couple of centimetres, and depending on the size of the pomelo you may not yet reach the flesh!
2. Starting from the cut end, made vertical incisions to the other end of the pomelo, a few centimetres apart from each other. Peel the rind off the fruit – this may feel like digging your fingers into styrofoam! The pomelo will still be covered in a lot of white membrane.
3. Pull the pomelo apart, and separate the segments. Working on each segment, peel away the tough and bitter membrane.
4. Serve the juicy pulp of the pomelo whilst fresh.
INTERESTING FACT: CULTURAL SIGNIFICANCE
Pomelos are known to be native to south and southeast Asia. Did you know that in China, where pomelos have been grown from around 100 BC, they symbolise good luck and prosperity? You will find them everywhere you turn during the Autumn Moon Festival and Chinese New Year!