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Feb 17, 2009 12:21 PM


Okay, so I have a question about Pomelos that has been bothering me for, I am not kidding, 11 years (and I am 23, so this has been torturing me for a large portion of my life). I was in Israel on a group trip at the age of 12 when one of the trip chaperones first introduced me to a pomelo. It was huge, probably about twice the size of a grapefruit, and I think the inside was pink, though maybe it was yellow, I'm not sure. But what really separated it from the Pomelos I've been able to find since is that the "cells" were HUGE. We didn't eat it in sections but rather peeled off a chunk of a few cells at a time and plopped them into our mouth. The taste was delicious and the texture was unmatched. Upon coming home I immediately sent my mom off to find some, which was no easy feat in Connecticut at that time. Since then I have found many Pomelos, but they all disappoint with cells much smaller than in my memory and really not able to be grasped and eaten.

Did I have a special kind of Pomelo? Is it only available in the Middle East? What is it called? Can I find it in California? Anyone?

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  1. Pomelos are very popular especially in Asian cultures - it's especially eaten during the lunar new year, since it sounds like prosperity or something like that. If you go to any Asian supermarket, you should be able to find pomelos - either white or pink flesh inside.

    I see them as bigger than grapefruit, with bigger cells, and sweeter tasting too. We used to peel them,and section them off like oranges and peel off the inner skin in order to get to the inside.

    1 Reply
    1. re: sandrachang

      Yeah, I can usually find Pomelos at good groery stores or ethnic markets, but theyve always had smaller cells than i remember, basically like bigger grapefruits . . ..

    2. The pomelos we have in the SF Bay Area are larger than grapefruit by at least 50%. They tend to be less juicy and more acid than their smaller cousin.

      To give you an idea what one might expect as far as size, there is a family story that one of my aunts put a pomelo skin on the head of her grandfather back in the old country.

      1. Asian markets, particularly Chinese markets, as well as farmers markets, will carry pomelos as long as they're in season. California pomelos are usually available in the fall/early winter time. They do kick arse, but make sure you try the various varieties so you can determine which suits your taste the best. My experience with pomelos is that, unlike other citrus, they don't hold up well if you peel or segment them and let them sit for much longer than 30-60 minutes. The taste really falls off fast. Do like you did in Israel - peel and eat to you heart's content...

        1. I also learned about them in Israel, where I lived for more than a decade. We had them all winter long. I loved them partly because of the novelty, partly for the yumminess, and partly because they don't make you all "sticky" when you peel them, LOL! But the ones I've found locally in New York were not as juicy and sweet as the ones in Israel, unfortunately.

          Over the past few years, they have been coming to NY supermarkets. Sometimes they are spelled "pummelo," and sometimes they are called "pummelo grapefruit." Just this week, they were available at Shoprite. Unfortunately, they were pretty dry and flavorless, so I wouldn't recommend them. I didn't know they were sold at Asian markets but I will look for them there; maybe they sell different varieties.

          Sorry you haven't been able to replicate your original experience! Maybe the solution is another visit to Israel :).

          1 Reply
          1. re: falconress

            Pomelos need a fair amount of heat and sun to ripen properly - much like a good grapefruit. If they're picked too early, they'll be like any other citrus - not worth eating. We seem to be getting pretty crops in SoCal - I don't know where they're from - maybe the desert areas - but when they're in season, they're pretty darned good.

            We've also found that they don't keep very long - at least not as long as we expected. We kept them in a relatively cool part of our home and still couldn't get the last few to last beyond 10 days. I guess the lesson is, if they're good and ripe, enjoy them as soon as you can.

          2. I've found the ones I have had in the US can't compare to fresh picked ones I had in Asia. The ones here are dryer and less juicy with a much milder flavor. I don't know if it's because they are an American commercial strain, or old and have traveled too far.

            1 Reply
            1. re: JMF

              I haven't found Pomelos that match my memories of Israel either. I'm assuming it is either a genetic variation in what is grown here in the States (I'm in FL) but also the soil itself. The same varietal may be able to be grown here due to climate but the soil composition changes flavor profiles as well.