Pomelo is the Spanish word for grapefruit. But pomelos are not just any old grapefruits!
The pomelo is sometimes referred to as the “original grapefruit” or the “Chinese grapefruit”. One legend has it that the seeds of the pomelo were first brought to the West Indies in the mid-seventeenth century by an East Indian ship captain named Shaddock. Among its other names, the pomelo is sometimes called a Shaddock.
The skin color of the pomelo is very unique, both in color and thickness. The skin is lime-green at the beginning of the season (late fall), but shifts towards a more yellow-ish hue when the colder winter temperatures set in. A pomelo’s skin is very thick, and a huge fruit can sometimes yield only the amount of fruit you would find in a standard-sized grapefruit.
Pomelos are the largest of the citrus fruit. They usually weigh in somewhere around the size of a softball, but some can grow to up to 10 cm in diameter.
A pomelo’s flesh can be white, yellow or a beautiful shade of pink. They contain almost no acid and are therefore very mild in flavor.
From a nutritional standpoint, because pomelos are big fruits, they contain more calories than do other fruits. A typical-sized pomelo (about 600 g without refuse) has 230 calories and 6 grams of fiber.
Pomelos are excellent in salads, can be eaten like a grapefruit, or are often found candied. Pomelos flourish in tropical lowlands, and they love brackish water.
You are hard pressed to find pomelos in the eastern parts of the United States, although they are readily found in California – particularly in Asian markets – through April or May.