This morning I ate my first pomelo (also known as a pummelo). It was absolutely delicious. I am now a pomelo convert. The pomelo’s latin taxonomy name is Citrus grandis – because it is huge. In fact, when we were shopping yesterday and first spotted the pomelo, I thought they were just gigantic grapefruits until I saw their unusual names. So I just had to buy one to try it.
My diagram below shows that the pomello is not a hybrid citrus but is one of the original citrus fruits from which the rest of our common citrus fruits were created.
Now having read on the citrus fruits, I have discovered that the grapefruit is actually a cross between the sweet orange and the pomelo. I have never been a fan of grapefruit, but the pomelo is pleasantly sweeter and less acidic than the grapefruit so I will add it to my favorite fruit list.
The pomelo has other descendants such as the sweet orange (pomelo + mandarin orange) and the tangelo (pomelo + tangerine). And speaking of citrus hybrids my other favorite is the mikan. I am not a big fan of oranges, but when I lived in Japan, I ate lots of mikans every year. In the USA mikans can be compared to clementine and tangerine — no, they are not all the same, but they are very close. Here is some info to differentiate the three:
- Tangerines (Citrus tangerina) : citrus originated in Southeastern Asia and Australia. It is a variety of the mandarin orange (Citrus reticulata). Tangerines have been cultivated for over 3,000 years in China and Japan.
description: small, thin-skinned, few seeds.
- Clementine: A Father Clement Rodier of Misserghin, Algeria is credited with its discovery in the early 1902. It is a hybrid between a mandarin orange and a sweet orange. It has displaced Mikans in US markets. Minimal seeds.
- Mikan (Citrus unshiu): AKA “satsuma” (the Japanese province from where these citrus were first exported to USA). Also related to the mandarin. Seedless
Wrestling with readings on Citrus classification this morning, I decided to make that diagram. Note however that classifications are slippery and controversial. For example, it is unclear if some of these are “cultivars” (natural variants of a species where were then separated and inbred) or “hybrids” (intentional crossing of species). But this chart is a good place to start. I hope it has helped you to understand citrus better. Any suggestions?