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Is there anyplace locally to buy Honeybells? Or something equally sweet and juicy?

chompie Jan 28, 2013 09:05 PM

I see honeybells on TV and they look so brightly colored, sweet and juicy but I am not about to have a case shipped from FL. I just want to try one..
I tried CA mineolas or temples which are supposed to be the same breed but the one I got was sour, fibrous, and lacking in flavor or color.. Are the honeybells really that good? I would love to try something with very low acid and high sweetness...

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  1. c
    cherrytomato Jan 29, 2013 04:38 AM

    They are amazing. I got two cases from Harry & David as a gift and went through them so quickly. I was then checking Russos and Whole Foods but have not seen them there. Honey Bells are super sweet and very very juicy. I also love Cara Cara oranges that they sell at Whole Foods and Cocktail grapefruit
    that I find at Russos. Cocktail grapefruit have a lot of seeds but they are super juicy and sweet.

    2 Replies
    1. re: cherrytomato
      Ruprecht Feb 4, 2013 04:45 AM

      Also a fan of Cara Cara, which we discovered last year and seem to be excellent no matter where we have gotten them (WF,Russo's,StopNShop)

      1. re: Ruprecht
        Jenny Ondioline Feb 9, 2013 11:16 PM

        Cara Cara are terrific -- got some from Russo's down in the kitchen right now, in fact -- but they don't fit the OP's low-acid/high-sweetness criteria. They're pretty tart.

    2. b
      bear Jan 29, 2013 06:19 AM

      Wilson Farm in Lexington had honeybells last week.

      1. k
        kimfair1 Jan 29, 2013 11:56 AM

        My mother in law used to send us a case from Florida each January. Then she stopped sending them about 5 years ago. After one year without them, we started ordering a case ourselves 4 years ago. They are truly spectacular. We juice them primarily. 3 honeybells will fill an 8 oz glass of juice. Try them from Wilson Farm first, but I'm sure they are cheaper by the case mail ordered.

        1. l
          latertater Jan 29, 2013 12:35 PM

          They are a favorite of mine. They have a short season and are shipping now. I did find some at Market Basket; called Honey Bells but were Minneolas. Some places use these terms interchangably. A Minneola is a cross between a Dancy tangerine and a Duncan grapefruit; a true Honey Bell is a tangerine crossed with a pomelo. Both are juicy, easy to peel, and a great cross between tart and sweet.

          9 Replies
          1. re: latertater
            chompie Jan 29, 2013 06:20 PM

            the one i got was from MB, but it was a sunkist, i think from CA. Has anyone tried the Wilson Farm ones? before i go down there from the North Shore, would love to hear if they do taste like the real ones..which i think primarily from Cushmans which is what Harry and Davids carry.

            1. re: latertater
              catsmeow Jan 30, 2013 05:21 PM

              I went to Wilson's today after calling to see of they had Honeybells. When I got there, the sign said Honeybell Minneolas. I did get a few, but never having had Honeybells before, I don't know if they are the real deal. They are very good and juicy.

              1. re: catsmeow
                bear Jan 30, 2013 05:33 PM

                They also had them today at Wagon Wheel Farmstand on the Lexington/Waltham line. The signs for the regular minneolas and the honeybells were a little confusing, so it would be easy to mix them up. Honeybells tend to be a little homelier than the regulars, with skin that isn't quite as bright and smooth. They also cost a little more, but are definitely worth it.

                1. re: bear
                  fantundo Jan 30, 2013 07:25 PM

                  WIlson's had one kind of grapefruit and three kinds or oranges out for tasting yesterday. Each was better than the last.

                  1. re: bear
                    catsmeow Feb 3, 2013 08:29 AM

                    I'm really confused. Are Honeybells and Minneolas two different varieties because not only did the sign at Wison Farms say Honeybell Minneolas, last night I went to the Milton Marketplace and there it was again...the sign was written the same way...Honeybell Minneolas. There was just one big pile of oranges that looked like they were all the same type. One last question...what is the difference between Western Honeybells and Honeybells? I went to an online site and they were out of Honeybells but had Western Honeybells. Thanks.

                    1. re: catsmeow
                      bear Feb 3, 2013 11:47 AM

                      My understanding is that honeybells are a particular variety of minneola, but I could be wrong. They are similar to regular minneolas in structure and taste, but really have a unique flavor that I love.

                      I've never heard of Western Honeybells!

                      1. re: bear
                        chompie Feb 3, 2013 04:56 PM

                        i think so too, that Honeybells are a trademark name for a specific type of minneola from Fl. I think western must be a disguised way to say California. I had a sunkist minneola from CA and it was pale, not too juicy and acidic and flavorless so i am assumuing the Fl versions are sweeter, darker and juicier. I have also seen that honeybells are a type of tangelo so it does get confusing.

                      2. re: catsmeow
                        overproofed Feb 3, 2013 08:59 PM

                        It is confusing, and a big reason for the confusion is that people are not very precise about citrus names. Here's how I understand the situation:

                        Tangelo = a general name for any hybrid of a mandarin orange (i.e. the group of thin-skinned oranges, some of which we know by names such as Clementine, tangerine, and Satsuma, as well as "true" Mandarin) and a grapefruit or pomelo. For example, Ugli fruit is a type of tangelo.

                        Minneola = a specific type of tangelo. Some sources list it as a hybrid of Bowen grapefruit and Dancy tangerine. The USDA lists it as a cross between a Duncan grapefruit and Dancy tangerine (see Honeybell below).

                        Honeybell = a name that is used in more than one way. It is apparently sometimes used to refer to just about any Tangelo with the "bell shape" (the bump sticking out on top). However, Florida growers use Honeybell to refer to the Minneola cross of Duncan grapefruit and Dancy tangerine. The USDA also lists Honeybell as a less-common name for this Minneola cultivar. To add to the confusion, Honeybell is also apparently used to refer to a specific cross between a Thompson tangerine and a pomelo.

                        In other words, common and/or marketing names mean that you don't know exactly what you are getting. My guess is that stores around here probably mostly use Honeybell and Minneola as synonyms for the Duncan grapefruit and Dancy tangerine cross, but also possibly for other tangelos that resemble them.

                        The difference between Honeybells and Western Honeybells is probably just where they were grown: Florida vs. California.

                        1. re: overproofed
                          bear Feb 4, 2013 04:55 AM

                          Great post. Thanks!

                2. greygarious Jan 31, 2013 09:36 AM

                  The briefly seasonal heirloom navel oranges are at Trader Joe's, though the bag I got this year is not quite as sweet and mild as last time. They are smaller than supermarket navels, and less acidic. If you ever see the Tarocco variety of blood oranges (I have only seen them imported, as opposed to the domestically-grown Moro variety), leap on them. They are sublime.

                  3 Replies
                  1. re: greygarious
                    chompie Feb 9, 2013 11:11 PM

                    Thanks so much for the responses! I went to Wilson Farms (great place! I posted about it..) and finally had my Honeybell and Honey Tangerine. They were the best citrus I can remember having in years! Finally citrus that is sweet, less acidic, flavorful and less tough membranes... The honeybell looked like its probably not quite as colorful or thin skinned as the gourmet ones shipped by Cushmans, but it was really juicy and pretty sweet and delicious. The Honey Tangerine was actually even milder and sweeter and very juicy but it does have lots of seeds and thicker membranes if you are eating instead of juicing. I still havent tried the temple which the kid working there said was the sweetest and least acidic to him.. I felt like I was back living in FL with an orange tree in my backyard. What I found interesting too, was that I dont usually even like sitting next to someone when they peel and eat an orange or tangerine, The oils and scents are very strong to me.. but these had very little of that.. like they were so mild and pure i could almost just munch on the rind..

                    1. re: chompie
                      greygarious Feb 10, 2013 09:15 AM

                      Temples used to be as common as navels in northeastern US supermarkets. They were most often bought as juice oranges though I prefer their flavor to that of the navels. Temples do have seeds, sometimes lots of them.

                      1. re: greygarious
                        chompie Feb 10, 2013 12:05 PM

                        i actually just had the temple and didnt like it as much as the honeybell or honey tangerine. It was tarter and more acidic and more intense, but still juicy and not bad.

                  2. l
                    lastZZ Feb 10, 2013 12:03 AM

                    I am in Florida and honeybells are the ultimate citrus in my book. They are sweet with a slight acidic bite from grapefruit which they are partly bred from. Honey tangerines are Murcott tangerines, good in their own right but are not honeybells. Here we get the ugly honeybells @3 for a dollar this year. The better looking ones are sent north

                    2 Replies
                    1. re: lastZZ
                      chompie Feb 10, 2013 12:15 AM

                      Mine were kind of ugly too and not such big bumps on the end as the shipped out ones..There seems to be very few places to find them here..Ours were 1.99 per pound which came out to about 3 bucks for 2 since they are were so big and heavy ! Guess the looks dont affect the flavor. Is your honey bell juice bright orange or paler?Thick or very thin skinned? Do you have them all over the place, eg supermarkets or just the specialty places like cushmans? What do you think is the sweetest , least acidic of all the citrus fruits? I never explored all this when i lived in FL, just ate whatever grew in the backyard!

                      1. re: chompie
                        lastZZ Feb 19, 2013 04:03 PM

                        The honeybells are kind of all over in South Florida when they really come in. Some places will only have the nice looking ones and charge more. Those in the know, find the places with the uglier ones. Never made juice from it

                        "What do you think is the sweetest , least acidic of all the citrus fruits?"

                        Some oranges I have had. Depending on the year and how cold or almost frosty to frost it gets in the prime citrus growing regions of Florida...This cold will sweeten up all citrus to where you can get a pink grapefruit that is so sweet you forget the acid which becomes a minor under note.

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