Sunday, January 25, 2009

Grapefruits, or Pomelos?

During a visit this fall to Longwood Gardens in Pennsylvania, in one of their greenhouses, I admired giant pots of what I took to be a gargantuan variety of unripe grapefruit, Citrus × paradisi. I have since then concluded that they are pomelos, Citrus maxima, or C. grandis.

And indeed, maxima they are, and grandis, too.

Having made that discovery, I've started noticing that pomelos are now being sold at greengrocers around town. Displayed on the fruit stand next to our more familiar paradise, or forbidden, citrus - the grapefruit - the pomelo definitely projects a blowsier appearance, almost twice the size of the former. And indeed one finds that underneath the rind is almost an inch of fleshy white pulpy membrane. In taste, pomelos are a milder version of the grapefruit. If you're one of those who habitually sugar your grapefruit, you may wish to give the pomelo a trial.

And really, looking at the beauties from Longwood, I apologize for even daring to associate the word "blowsy" with them. I suspect that these are the Californian variety, and like many others from that neighborhood, they are spiffier than most. They are lovely. And they are in season now.

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