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Mineola, a citrus fruit

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I spotted these in Fairway supermarket, on Long Island, this past weekend ($2.59 a pound). Didn't know anything about them, but they were such fresh, vibrant specimens that I figured I couldn't go very wrong. It peeled like a tangerine, felt tangerine-like in the mouth, but tasted like a lovely light, sweet orange. A Google search revealed that the Mineola is a cross between tangerines and grapefruits, but I didn't detect the grapefruit heritage.

Really delicious and very pretty. I'd love to see these more widely available.

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  1. Hmmm ... isn't Mineola the name of a variety of tangelo, not a separate species of fruit? They've been widely available in California for years -- probably one of the most commonly available varieties in the tangerine genre. I suppose it's possible they've just now made it to Long Island. You're right, though, that they're an excellent fruit that combines a lot of the good qualities of different citrus varieties. I have two in my bag right now!

    2 Replies
    1. re: Ruth Lafler

      You are correct on the name Ruth. there are three main types of tangelos. They are all named after growing regions in Florida; Minneola, Orlando, and Seminole.

      Tangelos are hybrids of tangerines and pomelos.

      1. re: Ruth Lafler

        I had a tree .. no more house I ate hundreds, My mom also has a tree, they are wonderful.
        http://edis.ifas.ufl.edu/CH072
        Yes 1/2 tangerine and 1/2 grapefruit
        Very sweet, great fruit. It is wonderful with fresh fish, shrimp, scallops even chicken and lots of uses. Great with vodka and a little grenadine and a lime. Marinades and salad dressings. I love them.

      2. I thought they were tangelos too. Pretty common on the West Coast of the US too. I have two in my fruit bowl now.

        4 Replies
        1. re: lisaf

          I've been seeing them in most supermarkets on Long Island for the past 10+ years. Sometimes they are referred to as Minneola Tangelos, sometimes just as Minneola Oranges. They always have that distinct cap on the top that makes me think about the "honeybells" that get advertised in the papers in mid-winter. I've been able to get them at Stop & Shop, Pathmark & Waldbaums in addition to specialty grocers like H-Mart. They don't carry them all year round but they are usually available in the winter. And yes, they have the nice tangerine tang although they also have similarities to oranges.

          1. re: PapaT

            I saw them last night at a Pathmark in New Hyde Park @ .66 each.

            1. re: PapaT

              From what I've read online, Honeybells and Minneolas are supposed to be the same thing. However, Minneolas seem to be common all across the country, but folks on the Florida board have stated that Honeybells rarely make it outside their state since they are so coveted. Maybe someone can explain this contradiction. I somewhat suspect that some of what gets labeled Honeybell or Minneola are not the genuine article as I noticed some contain quite a few seeds, but I understand they should be virtually seedless.

              1. re: PapaT

                I have not been home [Queens] in 20 years. You guys have H Marts up there?
                stevelaw1000@gmail.com

            2. I don't buy oranges any more, if I can find Mineola's. They are almost always sweet (and peel much easier) as opposed to oranges that quite often are not sweet and quite often tastless and dry (probably a result of breeding and processing relative to factory farming).

              1. Vandaag zijn de eerste Mineola’s uit Peru bij Agrexco aangekomen. Evenals voorgaande jaren zullen deze Mineola’s vanwege hun uitstekende kwaliteit onder de merknaam Carmel vermarkt worden.

                This Tangerine-like fruit is een cross between grapefruit and the Dancy-tangerine.The Color is bright orange an ist an “easy peeler”. As well as the taste as the Flavour is caracteristic for this fruit,and it comes from Peru its also calles Carmel

                4 Replies
                1. re: verano

                  I'm a Florida transplant who is basking in citrus. Oranges, Grapefruit, Starfruit, Tangerines, all going to waste due to the abundance. I knock on doors, ask if I can pick and I'm warmly welcomed. People cannot give it away fast enough around here.

                  HOWEVER, I have only come across one Mineola tree. It was like the holy grail. And honeybells? Uhhm, NO, you're not getting them outside this state. They are coveted, hidden, savored. You may have gotten a sweet orange, but a true honeybell is a rarity and not even I, the Citrus Baron, have landed a honeybell tree. I've traded a few coveted fruits for honeybells amongst the people who sell a few at the local farmers' markets.

                  Angela, if you got a "light" orange flavor, you either got something besides a Mineola, or got it too early. These are as sweet as honey, with a concentrated orange taste. Picked at ripeness, in February, these things cannot be cut open without literally exploding juice across your kitchen. The batch I had were mostly bigger than grapefruits, and at 2.59 a pound would have been at least $3 a piece. Thank God for vacant houses with fruit trees!

                  http://joshuastreeter.wordpress.com

                  1. re: streetman

                    Many sites on line where you can order honeybells. If I remember correctly the Mineola is the cross between the grapefruit and tangerine, the honey bell is a cross between the grapefruit, tangerine and orange.

                    But regardless, all great.

                    1. re: streetman

                      Minneola tangelos have been around for about 75 years. Honeybells are the same thing, just a marketing gimmick. Sounds like it's working, at least in Florida

                      http://edis.ifas.ufl.edu/CH072

                    2. re: verano

                      Welcome to chowhound Netherlander !

                      Lekkebekka and new herring are my favorites.

                    3. One of the characteristics of the minneola is the nipple at one end, found in many, but not all of them. I have no idea if the honeybells we have shipped to us every year are "real" honeybells or not, but they are fabulous - we juice them, and it's glorious on a cold January morning. We can also buy minneolas, sometimes, and they aren't any more expensive than blood oranges, usually less. It's wonderful.

                      1. You've made me so happy I don't live in New York! I bought some Mineolas two days ago at my local "farmers' market for a dollar a pound (10# for $10). I used one last night by adding the zest and juice to oven roasted beets, along with some butter. Very juicy and delicious!

                        1. I could swear my mom bought these when I was a kid, so at least 25-30 years ago.

                          1 Reply
                          1. re: irishnyc

                            I had them as a kid even farther back...not saying...but according to this

                            http://edis.ifas.ufl.edu/CH072

                            The cross was created in 1931. Honeybell is a marketing name for the Minneola tangelo.

                            Sort of like the way kiwifruit was created for Chinese Gooseberry.

                          2. We can get tangelos in the SFBA without trouble. I made some into sorbet about a month ago and it was great!

                            1. A couple weeks ago I scored some minneolas at a local asian market that showed their grapefruit heritage in an unusual way: their size. These things were as big as grapefruits. By far the biggest minneolas I've ever had. And a steal at $0.50/per.

                              1. Anyone tried Odwalla Tangerine Juice? It's a blend of Tangelo, tangerine and orange juice (the proportions vary according to the season...) Only available in the winter-ish months, but so-o-o worth the $5.00 to $8.00 for the half gallon. Sometimes, Costco even has the gallons for like five bucks, tho I haven't seen it at mine for a while. I remember getting tangelos in the 70's from "The orange Car" in New Brunswick, NJ, a great little actual railroad car that was only open in Winter selling Florida citrus fresh off the train. (God, I am SO old....) adam

                                2 Replies
                                1. re: adamshoe

                                  Wasn't seasonality wonderful? Such a treat to have something like oranges fresh from Florida when there weren't oranges commonly available all year round.

                                  1. re: buttertart

                                    A guy I work with got a huge box of these for Christmas from a Florida colleague and shared them. They were unbelievable - huge, juicy, just magnificent. I don't know what the company was that shipped them. I bought a bag at Trader Joe's recently which were much smaller and not nearly as good -- still, they were good enough. I love mineolas!

                                2. I know this is an older thread but if anyone is still following, are you familiar with the Sumo Orange? I've been hearing alot about them and I'm trying to decide which orange tree to plant in my SoCal yard, Mineola v. Sumo.

                                  Any thoughts?

                                  2 Replies
                                  1. re: ski_gpsy

                                    I had some last winter and they were very good.

                                    1. re: ski_gpsy

                                      Sumos and Minneolas are quite different, so it's really up to you which you prefer. I wouldn't plant a tree that I hadn't tasted the fruit from!