If you've ever been to the supermarket and seen a giant, soccerball sized citrus then you've probably come across a Pomelo.
Pomelos, or Citrus maxima, are native to Southeast Asia. They are the largest of the citrus fruits, and most closely related to grapefruits. They may look intimidatingly large but these oversized fruit are mostly all pith (much thicker pith than other citrus varieties) and once peeled are a much more managable size.
They have a textured rind ranging in colour from pale green to yellow when ripe with pulpy flesh that's creamy white, bright pink, or somewhere in between. They also have a very thick albedo (rind pith) which needs to be peeled away before eating. Like many of its relatives, pomelos can vary between being filled with seeds, to having very few or no seeds. It is a large citrus fruit, 15–25cm in diameter, usually weighing 1–2kg.
Pomelos are like a mild version of grapefruit (which is itself believed to be a hybrid of Citrus maxima and the orange) though a pomelo is much larger than the grapefruit. They're sweeter and don't carry that occasional harsh bitter tang. It has very little of the common grapefruit's bitterness, but the enveloping membranous material around the segments is bitter, considered inedible, and thus is usually discarded.
Next to the interesting flavour, what I like about eating Pomelos is that it feels like an adventure. It takes work to get to the sweet, pulpy flesh. Though once you do, the reward is deeply satisfying and worth every second of your efforts. After removing the thick rind and peeling the membrane from around the segments, pomelos can be eaten out of the hand, tossed into salads or salsa, made into jam, or juiced for a cocktail. You can candy the peel it, or use it to make marmalade. My favourite recipe for Pomelos was inspired by my travels to Cambodia a few years back. Here's the recipe:
1 small handful of Coriander or Thai Basil
1/2 Spring Onion or Shallot.
1 small Red Chilli.
50gm Fresh Coconut.
1 Lime, juiced.
2 TBS Fish Sauce.
1 TBS Soy Sauce.
1 tsp Palm Sugar.
1. Peel the Pomelo & remove each segment from its outer membrane. Set aside.
2. In a small bowl, combine the Fish sauce with the Lime juice & Sugar. Stir to dissolve the Sugar completely. Set aside.
3. Crush the Peanuts into little pieces.
4. Peel & discard the skin off the Carrots & Cucumber. Then make long strips with the peeler.
5. Using a Mandoline thinly slice the Capsicum, Fresh Coconut & Radishes. Thinly slice the Spring Onion. Finely dice the Chilli.
6. In a large bowl, toss ingredients with the dressing.
7. Arrange a mound on a plate. Garnish with the Coriander & Peanuts.
This recipe is from my book "Cook & Be Cool" its available as a free ebook here: www.blurb.com/ebooks/476025-cook-be-cool