pummelo, shaddock,Chinese grapefruit, and jabong
The gentle giants of the citrus world, pomelos have a fragrant sweetness balanced by a mild tartness—think grapefruit with less bitterness.
Round or pear-shaped, with a green or yellow rind and yellow, pink, or coral flesh, the pomelo is a special treat available November through June. In China and Southeast Asia, it’s considered a symbol of prosperity for the Lunar New Year, and it’s easy to see why: Digging through its floral-perfumed skin and thick, spongy pith to uncover the fresh, jewel-like fruit is a little like uncovering a buried treasure.
Whether you eat the segments out of hand or add them to sweet or savory recipes, they’re sure to make you feel prosperous, too.
Grapefruit's predecessor, pomelos have been cultivated in China and Southeast Asia for thousands of years. An English explorer brought the fruit to the Caribbean in the 17th century, but attempts to cultivate it in the United States in the 19th and early 20th centuries were unsuccessful.
A hybrid that occurred naturally in the Caribbean, however, fared better in the U. S.: Grapefruit is the result of cross-pollination between pomelos and wild oranges. New pomelo strains better suited to the U. S. are now grown in California and Florida, and the fruit, no longer in grapefruit’s shadow, has gained a following among American citrus aficionados. The pomelo is also cultivated in tropical and subtropical regions worldwide.
1 pomelo = about 2 lb.
Choose pomelos that feel heavy. Since the exterior color of pomelos can vary widely, the best way to tell if a pomelo is ripe is to choose one that has a grassy, floral scent and feels heavy for its size. Look for shiny, unblemished skin; if it’s puckered or feels dry, the fruit most likely will be, too.
Pomelos require a small but worthwhile effort to get to their fruit, which needs to be cut free not only from the peel but also from the tough, bitter membranes that separate the segments. Once free, pomelo is tasty as is or sprinkled with salt and ground chile—a popular Southeast Asian snack.
In addition to chile, pomelo pairs well with herbs like cilantro, mint, and basil; tropical fruits such as pineapple, coconut, and mango; spring vegetables, including carrots, radishes, and onions; and shellfish like scallops and shrimp.
Heat can make the pomelo bitter, but it can be added to hot dishes at the end of cooking. Try it in pasta, fish, or chicken dishes that usually call for lemon. You can also bake with it, substituting it for lemon in lemon bars (sugar will cut any bitterness). Raw pomelo is delicious in salads of all kinds and in sorbet. And if you can’t bear to waste any part of the fruit, try candying or making marmalade with the pith and rind.
Pomelos keep for up to a week at room temperature and about two weeks in the refrigerator. Once peeled, they should be eaten immediately or the fruit will dry out.