Until I move back to Hawaii and can pick a pomelo from a tree in my own back yard, I have to be satisfied with the ones I buy in the grocery store. The biggest, best, freshest, and cheapest ones are found in Asian specialty groceries since pomelos are a beloved fruit native to southeast Asia.
A couple weeks ago, I was fortunate to find a heavy for its size, smooth skinned, green tinged beauty at Uwajimaya in Seattle. Mine was about eight inches in diameter and weighed in just over two pounds. (Depending on the specific variety, a pomelo can weigh 2-5lbs and range from 4-12" in diameter)
Getting to the sweeter-than-a-grapefruit but more-tart-than-an-orange fruit can be a little tricky, but with the right tools, a little know-how, and a lot of patience, this flagon of flavorful vitamin C can be yours for the taking. Wait…I must backtrack for a moment to the flavor. The pomelo tastes like the two aforementioned citrus fruits because it is related – directly related. The grapefruit (Citrus paradisi) is the bitter baby of the union between Sweet Mama Orange (Citrus sinensis) and the Big Daddy Pomelo. Ah ha!
Now – here’s the how-to. While hands are handy, a citrus peeler works the best to cut through the rind also know as zest or flavedo and uber thick (1/2-3/4") white pith underneath (albedo) without piercing the membrane covered segments (carpels) and releasing all the glorious juices contained in the pulp (vesicles). Got that? No? Yes? Here are a couple pictures to illustrate my point.
Pomelo with rind and most of the pith removed
The remnants of the rind and a pile of the pith
Pomelo split into halves allows access to the good stuff
Before eating, be sure to remove every last scrap of the membrane. It’s yucky. While the segments are luscious, the membrane is just as bitter as that of a grapefruit – maybe more.
Oh...and one more thing. Grab a napkin - or a few. Better yet, get a towel. This is one juicy fruit!
Thank you to the Purdue University Horticulture department for bits of the above info.