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Jan 28, 2013 09:05 PM

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

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. 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

      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

        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. Wilson Farm in Lexington had honeybells last week.

      1. 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. 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

            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

              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

                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

                  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

                    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

                      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

                        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

                        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.

                2. 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

                    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

                      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

                        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.