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Everything You Need to Know About Pomelos

This giant citrus fruit is native to Southeast Asia, and is thought to have originated in Malaysia, where is continues to grow abundantly. Pomelos are less popular in other parts of the world, primarily because it takes 8 years for the seeds to flower and bear fruit, but they can usually be found in Latin or Asian grocery stores, and some major supermarkets.

Like grapefruits, pomelos vary in colour, size and shape. The can be close to cantaloupe size and even grow to be as large as a watermelon. They boast a very thick, soft rind that range in colour from yellow to pale yellowish-brow to pink. The light yellow to coral pink flesh can be juicy or slightly dry, and range from a spicy-sweet flavour to something that’s more tangy and tart.

Pomelo Varieties

While there aren’t a lot of varieties of pomelos, hybrids of the fruit arise easily, with the most familiar being the tangelos, a blend of tangerines and grapefruits or tangerines and pomelos.

Pomelos and its hybrids often have a greenish tinge in the peel and flesh, even when ripe. In fact, the colour of a pomelo’s flesh can vary from light yellow to lime green to orange and even dark purple. Some fruits even have a dark green peel and yet the flesh is ruby red and sweet.

How to Select and Store Pomelos

When buying pomelos, don’t be fooled by their softness. This is not a sign of being overripe, it’s just that the skin is so thick, that’s what you feel when you squeeze, not the flesh itself. Look for fruit that’s heavy for it’s size, blemish-free, and sweetly fragrant.

Pomelos can be stored in the refrigerator for up to a week.

How to Peel and Eat a Pomelo

Once peeled and segmented, a pomelo can be consumed as is. Use them anywhere you might use an orange or grapefruit. Pomelos are best eaten raw or broiled.

To peel a pomelo, utilize the simple following steps or watch our short how-to video:

  1. Like any fruit, give it a quick wash.
  2. Cut a ½-inch “cap” off the top end of the pomelo. Usually this is slightly tapered.
  3. Score the skin, cutting approximately ½ inch deep. Cut vertical slices down the sides of the pomelo to create quarters. Doing this makes it easier to remove the thick skin.
  4. Start at the top where you cut the “cap” and firmly pull the peel away from the fruit, working one quarter at a time.
  5. After you completely remove the peel, you’ll be left with a smaller piece of fruit covered in a white pith.
  6. Using the end of the pomelo with the dimple, pull the fruit away into pieces, like you would orange segments.
  7. However, unlike an orange it is not recommended that you eat the segment membrane or skin. Instead, remove the flesh which easily pulls away. This inner flesh is the part that is delicious to eat!

Note: Pomelos have large juicy cells but this process is surprisingly dry. You will not have juice dripping all over as you would if you did this with other citrus, like oranges or grapefruit.

Pomelo Tips

  • The best time to buy pomelos is in the winter, between November and March.
  • They are available in Latin and Asian markets and some major supermarkets.
  • Pomelos are also know as pummelo, shaddock, Chinese grapefruit, Thai grapefruit, and West Indian pomelo.
  • Only eat the flesh inside each segment. The pulp and segment membrane is bitter and is not recommended for consumption
  • Pomelos are delicious raw but can also be grilled!

Pomelos go well with

Pomelos Go Well With

  • Protein: chicken, crab, fish, scallops and shrimp
  • Produce: avocado, onions, pomegranates, salads, spinach
  • Spices and Seasonings: chilli powder, ginger, lemongrass
  • Other: coconut, maple, peanuts

Suggested flavour pairings include:

Pomelo + pickled ginger + fish

Pomelo + salt + chilli powder

Pomelo Serving Ideas


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